Idaho senators who protested Hindu prayer would not be sanctioned

Idaho State Senate would not pursue sanctioning the senators Sheryl L. “Sherry” Nuxoll, Steve Vick and Lori Den Hartog; according to a report quoting President Pro Tempore Brent Hill published in “Scroll”, BYU-Idaho’s student media, on March 25.

These three senators reportedly refused to attend historic first Hindu invocation of Idaho Senate by distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed on March three and Nuxoll made a statement in a media interview: “Hindu is a false faith with false gods”.

Hill was further quoted in the “Scroll” report: If we are going to have respect for people’s religion and their right to pray at the State Senate, we also need to respect the right people have to object…We need to show respect for one another, religiously as well as politically…Civility is something that we need but sometimes lack in the halls of government buildings…Zed was practicing the freedom of religion granted in the Constitution when he offered his prayer to the Senate…There was a time when members of the LDS church were not allowed to participate in government in the state of Idaho, and I can’t let that kind of thing happen on my watch.

Meanwhile, Rabbi ElizaBeth Beyer, Jewish leader in California and Nevada, said she was disappointed that no investigative body of the Senate was convened to determine whether sanctions were appropriate for breach of decorum or for bringing the Senate into a negative light. Beyer commented that Senator Nuxoll’s statements coupled with walking out was likely a breach of decorum as well as conduct which brings the Idaho State Senate into a negative light because it denigrated Hindu people. “State Senators must represent people of all religions with integrity,” Beyer said.

Idaho Senate, upper house in the State Legislature, started its day with ancient Hindu mantras on March third in Boise, which is said to be a first since Idaho acquired statehood in 1890. It contained verses from Rig-Veda; the oldest existing scripture of mankind still in common use; besides Upanishads and Bhagavad-Gita, which are also ancient Hindu scriptures. Rajan Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, delivered this invocation in Sanskrit and English after sprinkling water drops from the river Ganga, which is considered holy by Hindus.