Catholic bishops pronounce on sport (& Sunday mornings)
That an old bible in parliament can transform PNG is a fraud

Speaker must not use his position to promote parochial interests


An entry in the Crocodile Prize
PNG Chamber of Mines & Petroleum
Award for Essays & Journalism

THE office of the Speaker of Parliament in democratic countries including Papua New Guinea is a public office.

The notion of public office in democracies requires the office holder, such as the Speaker, to serve the public interest with high levels of transparency and accountability.

However, the action of the current PNG Speaker, Theo Zurenuoc, and his parliamentary committee in removing our ancestral lintels from the national parliament in the name of christening parliament is a crazy idea that amounts to dishonesty and disloyalty to our cultural heritage.

The speaker may as well consider removing one of the national goals and directive principles that stresses the need to protect cultural heritage. Such a parochial decision represents lack of understanding and appreciation for indigenous cultural properties on the part of the Speaker and his parliamentary committee.

The Speaker has taken to the airwaves and placed full page advertisements in the daily newspapers to tell us that an old King James bible has been brought to Papua New Guinea from the United States.

Our prime minister received the bible when it arrived at the international airport to a 21-gun salute and a crowd of 20,000 people. The speaker and a cohort has travelled to the United States to get the bible.

Again, the speaker fell short of transparency and accountability in his office. The office of the speaker belongs to the people of PNG, thus, the funding of his office must be used to serve the public interest.

That the Speaker has used his position and funds to pursue his personal interest with the support of a few pastors amounts to an abuse of power and brings his office into disrepute.

The people of PNG should know that the God they worship is the same God that guided and protected our ancestors.

Our ancestors worshipped this God in culturally appropriate ways in different societies. The advent of Christianity and the bible in PNG reaffirmed the existence of God and promoted individual and communal worship.

It is wrong for our government to create an impression that the God of Israel and the oldest King James Bible will bring answers to the multi-dimensional problems facing PNG.

It is also wrong for the Speaker to use public funds to pursue his own religious interest and ideals. The parliament doesn’t need an expensive King James Bible. Any Christian church in PNG can easily donate a small bible to place in parliament’s chamber.

Churches can also donate pocket bibles to Members of Parliament, however most of them may not have time to read them.

Educated Papua New Guinean Christians should not be misled by such a parochial decision of the Speaker which lacks rationality and defeats the purpose of the public office. 


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Phil Fitzpatrick

The existence or otherwise of a supreme being aside I am continually amazed that any reasonably intelligent person cannot see Christianity and its bible for what it is, a human construct of relatively recent antiquity designed as a political ideology for a particular time now well past.

Here's a quote from one of our smarter commentators taken off the exkiap website (reacting to an erroneous and lamentable critique of the kiaps by the speaker):

"[The speaker is] cheerfully willing to trash his own nation's spiritual heritage for the sake of a religion dreamed up by disaffected Judeans living during the early period of the Roman Empire and introduced by the colonial oppressors he evidently holds in contempt.

Also, he has imported an artefact created at the behest of a Scottish King some 400 years ago to replace the symbols of a tradition stemming back to long before the enterprising Judeans ever cobbled together the mixture of Judaism, Platonic philosophy, Zoroastrianism and a few other bits of borrowed mythology that we now call Christianity.

Not much intellectual consistency on display here."

Believe in a god if you must but it thrusting down the throat of a whole nation beggars belief.

Michael Dom

Hey John Varey,

Here's what Theo says, with my responses in capitals.

May be you can expound on this alternative preamble which Theo espouses.

Preamble to Bibliocracy – The United Tribes of Paradisia
Hon. Theodore Zurenuoc MP, Speaker of Parliament

Culture evolves: According to the Speaker we are the product of those who were before us. We can never be permanently the people before us. In fact we are what today is defining us and a bit of what those before us defined. Culture is composite of yesterday and today in its most comprehensive sense, as the following should remind us:
 Cultures are created – they have evolved. WHY DO YOU WANT TO DESTROY OURS?
 Culture is never static – it is continuously evolving. DOES THAT GIVE YOU THE RIGHT TO DESTROY OUR CULTURAL ARTIFACTS?
 Carvings alone are not the entire culture – it is one part, and an expression of our culture and beliefs. YES, SO WHEN YOU DESTROY CARVINGS YOU TOUCH AN ENTIRE CULTURE.
 Language is evolving – Pidgin is the proof (it evolved from a time and as a result of circumstances). IT EXISTS WITHOUT YOUR HELP, LIKE EVERYTHING ELSE IN THIS COUNTRY, AND WILL BE WITH US LONG, LONG, LONG AFTER YOU ARE GONE.
 Language diversity – a product of the curse (nothing to be boastful of) IF YOU ARE NOT PROUD OF YOUR COUNTRY’S LANGUAGES THEN YOU ARE WELCOME TO LEAVE.
 Even the lifestyle we live today is not ours – we are the result of another influence. SPEAKER FOR YOUR OWN LIFESTYLE, NOT ALL OF US HAVE HELICOPTERS, HOTELS AND TINTED LANDCRUISERS TO ENJOY OURSELVES LIVING IT UP.
 Culturally PNG is a divided nation – you promote traditional culture, you promote disunity and disintegration. LIKE I SAID IF YOU ARE NOT PROUD OF THIS COUNTRY AND ITS CULTURE, THEN YOU ARE WELCOME TO LEAVE.
 Christian faith is our hope for a common national foundation – the common denominator. CHRISTIAN CHURCH HAS SO MANY DENOMINATIONS THAT NONE OF THEM IS COMMON, YOURS LEAST OF ALL.

Here’s a link to the original document:

Does anyone care to share an opinion?

“Hate was your reward for our love / Telling us of your God above”

John Varey

Bomai Witne, whilst you are entitled to your opinion you failed to understand the significance and motive of the Speaker's reform initiative. Let me shed some light.

There is no parochial interest as you claim. It has nothing to do with church nor it is an initiative for a faint hearted person can understand.

The reform initiatives which the "National Unity and Identity project" is part of it is bigger than parliament itself. It is an initiative toward shaping an ideological foundation for PNG. PNG has none. If there is, let me know.

The preamble to the constitution provides a split foundation and identity between "Noble traditions" and "Christian principles".

The reception of the 400 years old Bible as a gift contributes to enhancing the unity project initiatives because the Bible and its principles will be the foundation.Biblical principles has and will stand the test of time. Not cultures.

The unity and identity initiative is not enforcing ones religion nor destroying the cultures. Look at USA as an example.

As an individual, citizens are free to worship anything but as a nation they adopted "In God We Trust" and is inscribed into their currency and is protected by legislation. This is the secret of US rise to prominence and global dominance.Is there not something we can learn?

The rational for the Bible as the foundation is given the fact that the Bible is the only common denominator that stitches more than 860 traditions and cultures into one country. What else is the common denominator that unites PNG?

Traditional worships point to the God of the Bible. It enhances our understanding and should not be the object of worship or reverence.

Cultures are diverse and divisive. Cultures are dynamic and not static. Eg, we do not wear our traditional costumes any more.

We cannot offer our children a split identity. We do not want to be subjective in what we offer. Cultures are fast eroding and is challenged by different external forces.

What we should be concerned are noble values and principles of our cultures traditions which needs to be blended with modernity. Look at China as an example.

We need an ideological foundation to influence our systems and structures to build the nation. Even the Vision 2050 clearly clack an ideological foundation.The Speaker is clearly heading in a right direction even it may be radical.

Forty years is a sign of maturity and decisiveness. After 40 years of independence, where do we go from here? What should be our source of inspiration.

In an era of globalization and differing ideologies including capitalism, communism, evolution, humanism, empiricism, rationalism, secularism, materialism etc where do we stand as a nation?

PNG is a Christian Country - The majority are Bible Believing Christian and to have the Bible and its principles to be our foundation is in the interest of the majority. This does not mean that individual religious freedom are violate nor terrorizing our "noble traditions" or cultures.

Its about time we think outside the box and challenge the normal way of doing business.Lets offer a better alternative to chat the development path of our nation for the next 40 years and beyond.

At least we have a leader who is thinking big, thinking beyond the religious sectarian lines and thinking outside the box.

The Parliament House Committee, the Prime Minister and the current government is supporting the initiative.

It is an initiative which all thinking citizens need to contribute to the discussion, offer constructive criticism and be decisive rather than grandstanding.

Michael Dom

Here's a suggestion for what to do with government money on this 40th Independence.

(1) Make a list of how many schools there are in PNG

(2) The price of all five of the Crocodile Prize Anthologies are:
2011 - US$8.02, 2012 - US$12.62, 2013 US$10, 2014 US$15, and likely that 2015 will be US$15; cost of shipping will be different for each book due to the weights, but could handle this.

(3) That makes a total of US$60.64 or PGK163.231 (, PNG banking exchange rates may differ)

(4) If the Government ordered ordered 5000 copies, i.e. 1000 copies of each Anthology, the total cost of books would be PGK816,155

(5) Say shipping costs double that figure to PGK1,632,310.

That would be a lovely 40th Independence Day gift to the children of Papua New Guinea.

Corney Korokan Alone

The Speaker's dream was not a single mission to destroy the 50,000 year old
so-called cultural symbols.

His dream is about the destiny and the national direction of Papua New Guinea.It's a big dream.

It appears you're still eulogizing over the cultural objects without understanding what culture in entirety really means and represents in the wider scheme of things.

Bet you have read the Speaker's report - showing other developments that have taken place under his leadership and the others that are in the pipeline.

The Speaker's role is not confined to making laws only.
He and his colleagues are there to lead as architects of reforms in areas where changes are required.They also set national directions through engagement in business, socio-economic and societal changes .

In reply to your point number 4:
The Word of God that,is contained in the Bible created Papua New Guinea,
the seas, the world and the entire universe even before those carvings and carvers showed up on the face of the earth.So that, 50,000 year old object of mankind pales in comparison with the Word.

"In the beginning was the Word" (Genesis 1:1 & John 1:1)

In the beginning was not the carving, lintel or Papua New Guinea for that matter.

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
2 The same was in the beginning with God.
3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.

Bomai D Witne

Corney, I agree that change is inevitable in all spheres of life. Our national parliament is not exceptional, and the Open Parliament Project supported by European Union and Transparency International to make parliament become transparent, accountable and closer to the people through information sharing, public awareness on functions of parliament and other initiatives is welcome.

The speaker's welcome initiative with his vision, 'restore, reform and modernize parliament' is good. However, as a citizen, I am worried that his dream was to destroy the 50,000 year old cultural symbols and replace them with some foreign materials including the bible.

I am sharing my views with my children and will make the speaker accountable for it in heaven.

Casper, we seem to agree to many things but you still want to know where you thoughts differ with mine.

1. To me, God is not about any material thing that you see. God is more than that, God is universal. People of all cultures and race can only connect to God in their faith and worship rituals.

2. The role of parliamentarians including the speaker is to make laws and respect institutions and offices that are created by law and remain impartial to sectional interests.

The speaker would have fulfilled the requirement of his office if he had assisted in the church council's fund raising activities and allowed the church to import the bible and place wherever they wanted. I am a frustrated man now asking, where is the fuckin' money coming from to import an old bible in some ancient language that will be hard for PNGans to read and understand?

3. ‘Accept and apply the virtues or deny in ignorance is a free will choice' IS an inherent cultural value is embedded in our constitution that many PNGans have been exercising for many years.

4. It doesn’t matter if it’s an old foreign bible or relic, these foreign materials must not be used to displace our 50 000 years old cultural symbols.

Casper Kyoms

Bomai Witne has his right of opinion on matters concerning PNG but some statements lack clarity or facts to persuade readers .I'll highlight my piece on this line of Bomai's thought.

- Firstly your article portrays to me as a reader that this current speaker has no moral and ethical accountability to the office he holds. His actions by removing those carvings and now accepting an age old bible on behalf of local churches/PNG may to some seem controversial.

Everyone have their opinion, that is respected in a society we call democratic PNG. Is the current speaker not performing his duties transparently and accountability, is he underperforming and not to the standards achieved by his predecessor who was in office so many years. (I reckon the previous speaker was chaotic in his duties.)

Evidence is every clear how speaker Theo is transforming the office of the speaker, you can not ignore those facts.

- Other statement you make: Our ancestors worshipped this God in culturally appropriate ways in different societies.

The advent of Christianity and the bible in PNG reaffirmed the existence of God and promoted individual and communal worship. My thought to your statement.

May I also allude that gods worshipped by different societies around the globe is the same god has you mentioned here. You mean the stone god is same God missionaries introduced. That line of thought is a total flaw.

Your thought that Stone/Moon or crocodile or seasons etc Gods equates to the person of Christ is ambiguously flawed.

- Another statement you make:That the Speaker has used his position and funds to pursue his personal interest with the support of a few pastors amounts to an abuse of power and brings his office into disrepute.

My thought to this statement, thank God speaker has not siphoned off millions of kina to buy mansions in Cairns or elsewhere.

How is it his personal interest when he is the presentive of legislature arm of government and what he is doing is not to benefit himself. If the government and bulk of the pastors and PNG council of churches welcome the old bible to its new home - PNG. Give me a name of a church head who does not want this century old book. Your biased statement is contrary to many pastors.

- It is wrong for our government to create an impression that the God of Israel and the oldest King James Bible will bring answers to the multi-dimensional problems facing PNG. My reply - no way in the book the Speaker got says all multi dimensional problems facing png or humanity faces will disappear. This idea that God will eradicate all problems is at your disadvantage. The book tells humanity can live life above the problems by the virtues it presents. Accept and apply the virtues or deny in ignorance is a free will choice.

- It is also wrong for the Speaker to use public funds to pursue his own religious interest and ideals. The parliament doesn’t need an expensive King James Bible. Any Christian church in PNG can easily donate a small bible to place in parliament’s chamber.

My response - provide more clarity on, don't you ever want old century relic if you are presented one. or is the bible so you go up against.

Corney Alone

Phil, You have a nerve of steel to mention ISIL in the same breath without seeing a pint of blood in PNG in this regard.

That hypothetical parallel veers completely off tangent with this issue.

That fear is misplaced, I am sorry.

Phil Fitzpatrick

"Change is constant."


I suppose going rapidly backwards to the middle ages is change of sorts?

Reminds me of those images of the ISIL blokes smashing up ancient monuments with sledge hammers and angle grinders.

Michael Dom

I believe the current Speaker should resign on the basis that:

(a) He does not appreciate that in PNG's Parliamentary democracy an Opposition is essential.

How can he maintain balanced question and debate on the floor?

(b) He does not appreciate that the expression of an opposing opinion in society in general is a requirement for democracy, i.e. freedom of expression and etcetera.

Why does he believe that anyone who speaks against his actions and those of his followers has ulterior motives than saying what we believe is within our right to say.

(c) He does not comprehend the basic multicultural aspects of this Melanesian nation.

There are cohesive, uniting and unique cultural Melanesian concepts and those (as neatly expressed by David Ephraim) which are malignant, divisive and repressive of a people who truly do need to step out from under the shadow of archaic misconceptions and into the light of progressive thought and sectarian acceptance.

It is my opinion that ascribing to the positives of the above three concepts is critical to upholding the position as Speaker of Parliament.

Michael Dom

another edit:

"Yeah right. (A - B = B - C = A - C = 0)

Thanks for your patience Keith - these expressions have meaning.

Michael Dom

...fought in such manner...

Michael Dom

Some food for thought or fuel for the fire - whichever.

(1) The lintel carvings represent Papua New Guinea because they were carved by Papua New Guineans, at a unique time in our collective history.

The argument that the pillar carvings are “only from the Sepik” is completely irrelevant, since the Sepik is in PNG. (If A = B and B = C, then A = C and A + B = B + C = A + C, I know it gets confusing but it’s all the same really.)

Theo Zurenuoc destroyed an artifact that is beyond his comprehension (See above expression where A = B etcetera).

No amount of justification (good documents, speeches and all) about 'modernizing' Parliament can justify this crime. (That is, arguing that A = A + B + C + A + B + C + A + B + C… to infinity, is a waste of time and resources to get an answer which is just plain wrong.)

If some people have a particular brand of Christian faith and don't think Theo's actions were criminal, that doesn't make it right (A + Oh, never mind, you get the picture!).

The Holy Crusades were fought such a manner.

The thinking of the crusaders was, simply put, "we'll save them for their own good and they don't know it – we’ll convert them or kill them, and either way it's God's will". (A – B = A – C = B – C = 0.)

Yeah, right.

It's surprising that the earlier Roman conquest was also conducted upon a similar premise, where Rome was considered to be the 'light of the world'.

(2) I don't believe the action its outcome was an indication of PNG's "vibrant democracy".

I believe it was an indication of PNG’s rampant hypocrisy - or remove the lintel from your own eye.

No one was informed of this action until it was too late. No proper procedure was followed to canvass public opinion and obtain Parliamentary sanction, the mechanism of our democratic process.

No dignity and respect was afforded these iconic and National artifacts – they were simply hewn down and discarded like waste wood!

These are undeniable facts.

(3) I don't believe this action was done in the spirit of God’s grace, goodwill and communion, i.e. following the Christian ethos.

Is it by the grace of God and His will that we continue to treat with each other in that cruel, ancient spirit of the crusaders (see point 1 above)?

If it was goodwill then why do many disagree so emphatically that the action has put us at odds with each other?

There was no communion.

There was no unity in this action.

This action was divisive, which by Christian reckoning, is the very oldest of evils.

(4) Now Theo & Co. delivers a 400 year old Bible.

Which of our over 850 languages is this King James Version written?

Will I be allowed to read it – hold the pages and turn them myself?

What guarantee is there that the actions of our Members of Parliament will change in the presence of this old book?

If the next action is to organize a Pentecost for the near 120 MP’s then I’d like only one miracle please: That they all confess their crimes before God and man (and woman too – sorry Loujaya and Delilah), willingly go before the tribunals and walk into jail to serve their time without complaint.

This, I believe, was the example of Christ.

The mind boggles.

Corney Korokan Alone

Bomai, There's a Parliamentary Performance Report here

The Chamber of Mines & Petroleum in its newsletter has praised and acknowledged this report and the greater modernisation project,aided by the European Union that is taking shape in the National Parliament under the leadership of Hon.Theo Zurenuoc, MP.

Some of these changes has required and will require certain procedures, laws and objects to be reviewed and tossed. That is normal in any change processes.

Unfortunately, some cravings and the totem pole which represents the god of witchcraft on the left, the god of immorality on the right and the god of idolatry in the middle is one of those objects that is being tossed.

While the carvings are harmless and lifeless wood, they symbolically represent ancestral gods and spirits of idolatry, immorality and witchcraft. We don't need them any more as we progress as a nation.

That's why, it and the other carvings needed to be tossed and replaced with the Word of God, the Bible and a symbolic light that represents the wisdom and the direction of the country going forward.

You may want to read a masterpiece here ( ) that repudiates the notion of "culture" and puts it into proper perspective of what culture really is and not what we may have believed in all along.

I understand that we will disagree on some respects,but the process of change cannot and will not be stopped. Change is constant.

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