RENO (March 26, 2015) — The Idaho State Senate would not pursue sanctioning of senators Sheryl Nuxoll, Steve Vick and Lori Den Hartog for their refusing to attend a non-Christian invocation in the senate chamber, according to a report.
Published in “Scroll”, the BYU-Idaho student media on March 25, President Pro Tempore Brent Hill stated that to have respect for individual religious preference, and the right to pray at the State Senate, there is also a need to respect the right people to object. In this instance the three senators reportedly refused to attend the first Hindu invocation of the Idaho State Senate from Rajan Zed, president of the Reno-based Universal Society of Hinduism on March 3, 2015.
The decision drew criticism after Nuxoll had reportedly made a statement to a media that “Hindu is a false faith with false gods.”
The Hill report added that in order to show respect for one another, religiously as well as politically, civility is something that is needed, but sometimes lacking in the halls of government. “Zed was practicing the freedom of religion granted in the constitution when he offered his prayer to the senate,” Hill added in the report. “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 investigation was convened to determine whether sanctions were appropriate for breach of decorum and for bringing the senate into such a negative light. Beyer said Nuxoll’s statements and the actions of walking out was in effect a breach of decorum and conduct which brings the senate into a negative light because it denigrated Hindu people.
“State senators must represent people of all religions with integrity,” Beyer added.