Catholic MP cancels controversial religious event at Parliament

Catholic MP

Catholic MP Simon O’Connor (pictured) has cancelled a controversial religious event he was hosting at Parliament.

He said he was asked a couple of months ago by former MP Alfred Ngaro to host a prayer event.

“I was happy to book the room,” O’Connor said.

The ‘Jesus for NZ’ group was also happy. It posted on its Facebook page on Monday that the group was “feeling excited” about the event which should have been held yesterday – 27 February.

It promised ‘extravagant praise + powerful prayer + potent prophecy’.

The group’s Facebook page also included an image of former Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

It is captioned: “Our Parliament has indeed been desecrated and the foul stench of dismissive arrogance from those responsible has reached the highest heaven … Their days are numbered!”

The planned event drew criticism on social media.

Pulling the plug

O’Connor only became aware of the controversy around the event a week ago.

“Last night, I saw a poster for this event and a whole series of things I had never seen,” O’Connor said when announcing the event’s cancellation on Monday last week.

The poster used had the Parliamentary crest at the top, and announced “Hon. Simon O’Connor invites you to attend Winds of Change“.

As soon as he saw the poster O’Connor said he thought “it’s not me”, and pulled the plug.

“There was a difference between what I was asked to do and what was advertised.

“It wasn’t quite what I expected,” he said.

“I was a little bit miffed advertising had been put without my approval.

“Also for me, [there was] an element of belief not aligning,” the Catholic MP said.

He just didn’t feel comfortable hosting the event, he explained.

Asked how Jesus for NZ took the news, O’Connor said he thought the group understood.

Luxon’s view

When invited to comment about the event and its cancellation, National leader Christopher Luxon said MPs host “a whole range of groups in Parliament, I don’t know the details of this one.

“My personal view, I won’t be attending it.

“I believe strongly in the separation of church and state, that’s my personal view.”

Jesus for NZ hosted an event at Parliament in 2021. It was hosted by former National MP and former leader Simon Bridges and Ngaro.


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