Not that we should be surprised since religious zealots exist in every country and in every religion. In New Zealand, they are upset by the fact that the new speaker of the parliament has dropped references to Jesus in the prayers that open each session of parliament.
Since taking over the role in November last year, Labour’s Trevor Mallard has dropped any reference to Jesus in the prayer which opens the start of every session.
Mallard said he wanted to make the prayer more inclusive for all parliamentarians and the tweak was a “compromise”.
A reference to “almighty god” remains, but it is not a specific reference to a Christian god.
On Tuesday around 1,000 people protested on the steps of parliament house in Wellington, arguing that New Zealand was a Christian nation and Mallard had no authority to axe Jesus’s name.
The protesters want Jesus’s name reinstated, and held signs reading “Dishonourable Judas Mallard”.
“He needs a good kick in his pants, and he needs to actually be removed because this is a Christian nation,” protester Rieki Teutscher told Radio NZ. “We don’t share his atheism.”
It is not enough for these people that prayers are still being given and an ‘almighty god’ is being invoked. They have to have their particular variety of god explicitly mentioned. I also wonder why Christians so often ignore the Holy Spirit who is supposed to be co-equal with God the Father and Jesus the son. Why aren’t they asking for him/her to be mentioned too? S/He gets no respect.
I have no idea if Mallard is an atheist or not but he seems to have the right ideas about many things.
Since being unanimously elected as speaker Mallard has made headlines for a slew of progressive tweaks to parliament in a bid to make it a more inclusive and family-friendly environment, as well as making it more welcoming to every day New Zealanders.
Mallard kicked off his term by minding MPs’ babies in his speaker’s chair during parliamentary debates, allowing babies to be fed in the house, banning media from photographing the prime minister’s daughter Neve, and planning a children’s playground on one of parliament’s front lawns.
But for these people, these are unimportant because bowing down to Jesus is the main thing.