If you thought idol-smashing zombies were confined to ISIS-controlled Iraq and Syria, think again.
They're on Australia's doorstep:
"Today (26/8) is Repentance Day in Papua New Guinea, when highlights include the public burning of traditional carvings used in what the organisers call 'idol worship and witchcraft'. The day will also, bizarrely, feature a national collection of money as an 'Aliyah' offering - to promote the migration of Jewish people to Israel, which some American evangelical Christians view as a prerequisite for the second coming of Christ. The day is a public holiday, marked by 'prayer ceremonies' across the country.
"The president and vice-president of the PNG Council of Churches... warned that the cash collection aroused concern. They said the country's mainstream churches had not been consulted about the introduction, four years ago, of Repentance Day as a 'covenant' originally signed by then prime minister Michael Somare, nor about today's program... Parliamentary Speaker Theodore Zurenuoc* was accused of Taliban-style cultural terrorism when in 2013 he launched a 'cleansing exercise' to destroy the building's totem poles which he viewed as demonic, and which were ordered to be chopped up and burned." (PNG to torch its 'demonic' carvings, Rowan Callick, The Australian, 26/8/15)
[*"The Papua New Guinea Trade Union Congress, PNGTUC, has called on the police to arrest the Speaker of Parliament Theo Zurenuoc for destroying public property. The Post-Courier paper says the appeal comes on the back of more condemnation of the cleansing exercise which the Speaker began last week to remove ungodly images and idols from the House. A lintel containing 19 ancestral masks from the provinces was removed and chopped up in the first wave of the exercise. A four-tonne pole which contained carving traditions from around the country was next on the list until Prime Minister Peter O'Neill personally intervened... and stopped the work. PNGTUC general secretary, John Paska, praised the prime minister but said Mr Zurenuoc's actions were criminal in nature and he should be arrested. He also says the Community Development Minister Loujaya Kouza, who told the Post-Courier that an Israel-based Messianic group advised her to push for the removal of the intricate carvings, should be stripped of her portfolio." (PNG union want Zurenuoc arrested for destroying public property, radionz.co.nz, 17/12/13)]
Worth a read: Purging Parliament: A New Christian Politics in PNG? (ANU SSGM Discussion Paper 2014/1)
Here's an extract from an essay in that publication, The rise of Christian fundamentalism & the link to Israel (pp 8-9):
"At the core of Christian Zionism is the belief that the return of the Jews to their Holy Land and the creation of the State of Israel in 1948 fulfils biblical prophecies and foreshadows the second coming of Christ.The State of Israel has given official encouragement to Christian Zionism and Israeli religious leaders have fostered the sorts of linkages which took Loujaya Kouza and others to Israel in 2013. State-to-state linkages between Papua New Guinea and Israel have also been strengthened in recent years and in 2012 Papua New Guinea was one of 41 countries that abstained from the UN General Assembly vote on according Palestine non-member observer status in the United Nations (Solomon Islands, where Christian Zionism is also growing, was among the 138 voting in favour). Prime Minister O'Neill led a delegation to Israel in October 2013 where he visited religious sites, signed a joint Declaration of Co-operation (specific areas of prospective Israeli assistance include defence, security and intelligence capability, agriculture, and information technology and communications) and an agreement reciprocally waiving visa requirements, and proposed to establish a Papua New Guinea embassy in Israel. The O'Neill Government has since approved a joint venture partnership with an Israeli group to develop the agro-industry... Although there is not necessarily wrong with these ties to Israel, it may be that the spread of Christian Zionism has implications for Papua New Guinea's foreign policy."
One to watch.