Sanity in New Zealand
While the US seems gripped by religious fanaticism the tiny country of New Zealand is certainly in contrast.
The new parliament there was sworn in today. Instead of trying to outdo each other with absurd oaths to mythological beings the Kiwi parliament was filled with individuals who did not make any religious affirmation.
About 40 percent of the MPs took an affirmation instead of a religious oath. But what is more important is who they were. Included in this batch of non-theological MPs included the Prime Minister and head of the Labour Party, Helen Clark. Don Brash, the leader of the Opposition and the conservative National Party also affirmed. Both Brash and Clark have said they not Christians or believers in a personal God.
Rodney Hide is the leader of the libertarian ACT Party and he also took an affirmation as did the leader of the Green Party, the leader of the Maori Party did the same.
Only three party leaders took a religious oath. They included Jim Anderton of the extreme left Progressive Party, Peter Dunne of the tiny religious United Future Party and Winston Peters, who leads an authoritarian/anti-immigrant party, New Zealand First. Between them they lead less than 10% of the parliament.