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Idaho state senator not sorry about Hinduism comments

March 6, 2015

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Idaho state Sen. Sheryl Nuxoll is standing by her comments that Hinduism has false gods, despite a diverse group of religious leaders calling on her to apologize.

The call for an apology comes after three Republican lawmakers, including Nuxoll, boycotted a Hindu prayer in the Senate on Tuesday.

The Spokesman-Review newspaper in Spokane, Washington, reports ( http://bit.ly/1zWsfht ) most of the religious leaders asking Nuxoll to apologize are from Nevada, the home state of Reno cleric Rajan Zed, who opened Tuesday’s Senate session with a Hindu prayer.

The religious leaders calling for an apology include an Episcopal bishop, a Roman Catholic official, a Jewish rabbi, a United Church of Christ pastor and a Buddhist leader.

Rabbi ElizaBeth Beyer said Nuxoll “should be called upon to offer a public apology, and perhaps even be sanctioned by the Senate for her inappropriate, insensitive and insulting remarks.”

Nuxoll says she did not attend the prayer because she believes the United States is a Christian nation.

She originally called Hinduism a “false religion,” but says she didn’t mean to say that.

Nuxoll said that she thinks Zed can say a Hindu prayer anywhere in the state Capitol, but she cannot support a Hindu prayer during a floor session.

“It is a Christian nation based on Christian principles,” she said. “I would’ve been fine if we had also had a Christian prayer.”

David Alder, a constitutional law professor at Boise State University, says that Nuxoll’s view of the United States is incorrect.

“She has betrayed the very constitutional justification for legislative prayer — religious pluralism,” he said. Alder says that if all legislators agreed with Nuxoll, it would represent an establishment of religion and violate the First Amendment of the Constitution.

Nuxoll says she has gotten several negative emails on the issue, but also some positive.

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