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I will be asking your foreign God for a refund on the bible

God made weedMARTYN NAMORONG | Namorong Report

SO.... that 400 year old story book about a zombie has finally arrived in Papua New Guinea with a rousing welcome from part-time Christians and corrupt politicians.

I wonder what the man Jesus would think about spending thousands of kina on a junket trip to the United States whilst children beg for food on the streets of Port Moresby and Lae.

Yes there is theological basis for doing Him a favour once in while by pouring expensive perfume on His feet, but I think the man would consider the reverence shown towards a 400 year old foreign book a little bit over the top and nearly equivalent to idolatry.

Apparently, corruption in parliament has been caused by the traditional carvings that represent 40,000 years of sustainable development in PNG.

As such, Speaker Theo Zurenuoc decided to chuck them out in 2013 and has been scheming since to replace them with a symbol of national unity grounded on the bible.

I have heard so many Papua New Guineans argue that the arrival of the missionaries brought peace and unity to PNG. I pity such Papua New Guineans because they actually have bought into the racist narrative that our people were primitive prior to colonisation.

At face value, it seems like a true statement that the foreign missionaries and colonisers ‘civilized” our people.

But if you look at pre-missionary societies, they were independent self-sustaining nations. And just as modern states go to war over territorial disputes, the independent states that existed in New Guinea went to war to defend the integrity of their territories.

Each of these states had its language, culture, agricultural methods, weaponry and laws. These states and their individual identities were subdued by the waves of religious and secular colonisers from the west.

Now more than ever, Papua New Guineans have to deconstruct the narratives of history and development or else we end up uprooting ourselves and building upon flimsy foundations based on foreign narratives.

It is time that all those idiots out there, who have been brainwashed by the pulpit and the education system, decolonise their minds or else we will become the laughing stock of the global community.

The fact that the so-called educated Christian elite of this country continues to sell out PNG and its resources for less than peanuts indicates a lack of pride in our cultural identity. If we are not proud of who we are, how do we vigorously defend the national interest and cut the best deals for our people?

At least pre-colonial “primitive” societies had the dignity to defend their national interests. Yes, they may have been cannibalistic, stone-age societies but at least they didn’t bend over backwards to foreigners, foreign gods and foreign multinational corporations the way our so-called educated Christian leaders in politics and civil service have done since independence.

So yeah, I don’t expect the 400-year old foreign bible to somehow wipe out corruption and incompetence in the Haus Tambaran any time soon.

I will therefore be demanding that this foreign God refunds all the taxpayer funds related to its procurement and installation in Parliament. I am also going to ask the foreign God to apologise for the desecration of 40 000 years of cultural heritage in His name.


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T Waikasi

Wow! I'll have to meditate upon this article for a while and then I'll comment later on.

Luke Apa

Let's face it. Contemporary PNGians have a dual history: our ancestors' for 40,000 years and the adopted for 100 years.

We need to bring out the best from these two. What Zurenuoc did was pitting the latter against the former and history has it that such approach is doomed for failure.

We need to embrace the values both histories give us.

Justin Ale

Dear Martyn - I absolutely agree with you. Before colonization, the Melanesian people had their deity whom they believed and lived for centuries.

They derived their strengths to live a meaningful and prosperous life from observing daily the belief system rooted in faith vested upon their deity.

To be accurate, their faith and lived life attained its efficacy in the observance of cultural heritage and practices.

The inception of Christianity threw light onto the existing belief and ways of doing things. There wasn't any alteration to the faith but the approach was readjusted to give plain significance to the primitive practices and observance.

Indeed, some of the cultural practices were detrimental for the welfare of human beings and were discouraged by the christian denominations.

However, not all were evil provided they do attribute to the happiness of people within their cultural confines, by which christian principles attested brighter meanings and importance.

Therefore, the speaker was wrong at the first place to eradicate the significant cultural designs in the national house of assembly.

He then persuaded his political cronies, through wastage of public money, to bring in the same bible already existing in the country that was given less attention by them (politicians).

The years of existence does not matter much but its effectiveness is what matters most for the people whom it intended to direct and guide.

The parliamentarians should have analyzed appropriate strategies to revitalized the evangelical missions of christian churches existing in the country to guide the conduct of citizens to be responsible, reliable, and better people endowed with religious principles.

Besides, the citizens are in dare need of basic infrastructural developments, economic stability and a peaceful environment to live in.

Turning a blind eye on these facts, substantial amount of money and precious time have been wasted to bring in this 400 years old bible that has no impending impacts on the lives of the people of Papua New Guinea.

The word of God and basic instruction to a meaningful life is implanted in the minds and hearts of everyone. They are being dragged behind to fulfill those due to certain factors which are as well genuine components of a meaningful life.

Therefore, the government should endeavor to meet those essential demands of the citizens so that they can only turn to God to find fulfillment , security and strength.

Thus, changing the ways of the people need effective governance and fulfillment of dedicated duties. It does not need a "thing" like this 400 years old bible to transform the people overnight.

The words of the bible are in the minds and hearts of everyone including little Sunday school kids. We only need to empower people already engaged in this mission to transform the people to lessen corruptions seems inflaming in this christian country.

Bernard Singu Yegiora

Oh Martyn, you truly are a rare talent.

Make more noise we need more cynics like yourself.

Francis Nii

Good thinking Martyn and if the demand fails, suggest you take a legal suit like that somebody in the US some years ago.

Phil Fitzpatrick

I'm not planning on asking for anything Martyn but I have thought about taking a baseball bat with me.

Michael Dom

Peter - it could be a literal meaning that we read too much into, i.e., The Man was saying that people treated him with less welcome than they treated the poor.

In other words, and for today's purposes, treat the poor well because The-Word-of-God-who-became-flesh, i.e. the Son of Man, was living among them, and later on sent the Third Party to keep an eye on them.

Ron Kone

I wouldn't ask Him for a refund.

Peter Kranz

Dr Waine - where have you been? There are people in PNG who look to you as a prospective leader. Are you going to stand for election?

And the full quote from Mark 14:7 is "For ye have the poor with you always, and whensoever ye will ye may do them good: but me ye have not always." KJV

I don't pretend to understand that, but I think it means something along the lines of "Some problems will always face us, but you've only got one chance in accepting me."

Et tu?

Dr Clement Waine

"The poor you will always have..." said Jesus

Mathias Kin

The Speaker has gone overboard. The destruction of artefacts at the Haus Tambaran created so much animosity among PNGians. Now an old book from the US?

I ask the same question Martyn asks: Is the destruction of carvings and this old book going to solve problems of this country? Especially the deadly corrupt activities of the politicians and bureaucrats?

I say no it won't and the man from Finschhafen has just made a nuisance of himself, yet again, in the eyes of Papua New Guineans and the rest of the world.

Giorgio Licini

The PNG Christians Speaker Zurenuoc globally represents amount to 44% of the total population in the country according to the 2011 census. They will probbaly be 50% by the next census. The four pioneer Churches (Anglicans, Catholics, Lutherans, Methodists) included 78% of PNG citizens at Independence. All others together 22%. Therefore, Evangelical and Pentecostals have doubled in 36 years (1975-2011). Just expect Zurenuoc, Walters and the rest to make their numbers matter in the future. Can't really blame them! Just make sure democracy still works and mutual respect is assured!

Bomai D Witne

Namorong, PNGians live in a world of dual reality - the world of our ancestors that we inherited and the world of our missionaries and colonizers.

To make a neat blend between these two worlds has always been difficult and there is no easy way through.

You captured this well in your earlier article, in the midst of such confusion 'band aid solutions' to problems continue to become a norm.

Michael Dom

Marlene - agreed: poor emphasis.

Marlene Potoura

I don't think so.
All these has nothing to do with God.
Certain people are obviously playing cargo cult and the thousands of curious Papua New Guineans are being brain washed by corrupted leaders and 'skin' preachers.

Phil Fitzpatrick

I'd never thought of the risen Christ as a zombie before but I guess the analogy bears thinking about.

The two things that bother me about this whole sorry affair (the lintel and the bible) are (1) the breach of the democratic principle of the separation of church and state and (2) the ridicule that PNG is subjecting itself to on the international scene.

PNG can be a Christian country if it wants to be but its parliament and its government must be secular. Sure, let God bless the parliament but for heaven's sake don't meddle in its affairs.

Internationalists have always regarded PNG with raised eyebrows and a shake of the head but feeding them further ammunition isn't very bright.

I don't see that there is much difference between chauvinistic Christians and chauvinistic Muslims. In this sense the Speaker has gone too far and needs to be stopped.

Corney Korokan Alone


I suggest you lodge your refund claim from the "corporate pillagers", full-time agnostics, and the half-heart patriots who were schooled in mission established educational institutions in PNG who have run this country to the gutters.

Chris Overland

Well said Martyn.

The thinking behind the acquisition of this tatty old book is "cargo cult" thinking.

How on earth can any rational human being assert that having such an object will materially change how people think and behave?

PNG's long tradition of animistic beliefs has as much utility in this regard as any other belief system.

As for getting God to reimburse the cost involved, I think that the best you can expect will be a Promisory Note redeemable post mortem.

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