Three Republican state senators in Idaho skipped the chamber's daily invocation yesterday because they objected to the guest chaplain's religion. The three didn't take their seats until after Hindu cleric Rajan Zed had finished his prayer, which focused on selflessness, the AP reports. "Hindu is a false faith with false gods," said Sen. Sheryl Nuxoll. "I think it's great that Hindu people can practice their religion, but since we're the Senate, we're setting an example of what we, Idaho, believe." Another of the three, Sen. Steve Vick, had tried to have the prayer stopped, warning that a non-Christian prayer could "send a message we're not happy with the way America is," reports the Spokesman-Review.
"They have a caste system. They worship cows," Vick complained, saying he had plenty of support from constituents who wanted the prayer stopped. Several other lawmakers missed the prayer, but they said it was because they were running late. After the prayer, Zed—who has delivered Hindu prayers for the US House, US Senate, and other state legislatures—said Hinduism is very inclusive and he didn't mind that some lawmakers had boycotted the prayer. "Most of them welcomed me," he told the Spokesman-Review. "They came out and shook my hand—some of them hugged me. It was good. There are multiple viewpoints. ... That is what makes the country great, you know? Different viewpoints."