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Top delegation to US to get bible that ain’t as advertised

Front facade of PNG parliament before carvings removed (RNZ - Johnny Blades)PETER KRANZ

BIBLIOMANIA can be a symptom of obsessive–compulsive disorder which involves the collecting or even hoarding of books to the point where social relations or health are damaged.

Bibliomania is not to be confused with bibliophilia, which is a love of books and not considered a psychological disorder.

Other abnormal behaviour involving books include book-eating (bibliophagy), compulsive book-stealing (bibliokleptomania) and book-burying (bibliotaphy).

And now we learn that the Speaker of the Parliament of Papua New Guinea, Theo Zurenuoc, is to receive a 400-year old bible which is being donated to PNG.

PNG parliament facade after the removal of carved heads from front lintel (RNZ - Johnny Blades)Zurenuoc told local media that the bible– unlikely as it sounds - is the first to be translated from Latin into English.

Let’s just say it’s an early copy of the King James Bible, a gift from the religiously fundamental state of Indiana which recently passed a Religious Freedom Restoration Act which basically allows a pizza shop to refuse to serve a same-sex customer couple.

According to Radio New Zealand International, when Zurenuoc and a delegation return to PNG with the bible this week, it will be received by prime minister Peter O'Neill and a defence force guard of honour.

Zurenuoc is leading what he terms “a reformation, restoration and modernisation program” to re-assert PNG's parliament as a Christian symbol of national unity.

In 2013 he took the first step in this program by directing the removal of various cultural artefacts from parliament house.

These included carved heads representing PNG provinces that looked down from parliament’s front entrance.

It was an act that caused public outrage, the head of the National Museum calling it “cultural terrorism”.

Apart from Zurenuoc, the junket to the United States includes Assistant Speaker Anton Yangama, Mendi-Munhiu MP De Kewanu, Kundiawa MP Tobias Kulang, Lae MP Loujaya Kouza and Southern Highlands Governor William Powi.

There's something of a problem with Zurenuoc’s claim that the bible is one of the first three translated from Latin into English.

Wycliffe, Tyndale and the author of the Douay–Rheims Bible all got there a generation before King James. And the Great Bible, the Bishop's Bible and the Geneva Bible all predating James' authorised version.

Speaker Zurenuoc and his band of bibliophiles might do a better job of serving their country if they focused more on preserving Papua New Guinean traditions and artefacts and less on being seduced by evangelical propaganda.


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Jack Klomes

"Dry Coconut Syndrome" is a condition unique to Papua New Guineans who belong to PNG and most definitely look like a typical Papua New Guinean but whose way of thinking hence their actions reflect the opposite - thinking like a foreigner to this land!

Jael Campbell

How about bibliophobia? Fear of a book.

Also, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act is about people not being forced into and/or penalized by the government for not participating in a ceremony or ritual that goes against their religious beliefs -- small businesses in Indiana are not refusing to serve gays. They are however, standing on their right not to provide goods and services for certain ceremonies they do not agree with. They should not be forced to do so under the guise of 'tolerance' (oxymoron, if you ask me). Discrimination against sex (i.e. gender) has been twisted now to include sexual orientation/behaviour which is fluid, vague, and arbitrary.

In crusading to right the wrongs of the world as you see them, don't forget to criticize Muslims for their burning and stoning of gays.

When individuals are not allowed to believe as they wish and act on it (without physically harming another, as in accordance with Christian beliefs), society quickly deteriorates into totalitarianism, where everyone will be monitored by thought police. Forget religion, you won't even be able to speak out against anything the government taboos.

The freedom of religion is the basis and litmus test of true tolerance and civilization, because nothing is as irrational, divisive, and irritating as religion.

Michael Dom

Those elected asses going on a holiday paid by the public purse - shame on you!

There will be fools waiting to greet them with palm branches of course.

Maybe this plenty-cost will produce miracles - O'Neill confesses to his role in the NPF saga, the TFS is reinstated pending establishment of ICAC at next parliament, education subsidies are paid, local building material suppliers are favored in the national housing loan scheme, SABL's are all cancelled and... Maybe we expect too much.

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