Fiji Military Rejects Methodists' Call To Turn Country Into A 'Christian State'

Methodist Church calls for constitutional amendment

By Tevita Vuibau

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, April 27, 2017) – The Republic of Fiji Military Forces has voiced opposition to submissions by the Methodist Church to declare Fiji a Christian State, saying these showed conceit and domination and was not to serve the purpose of Christ.

The RFMF made the comments in response to a five-point submission from the Methodist Church in Fiji to the permanent secretary for the iTaukei Affairs Ministry, calling for Government to review the Constitution to make Fiji a Christian state.

The church also submitted that it did not want Fiji to become a part of the category of the demised indigenous populations of the world and called for Government to present an extended timeline to review the proposed village bylaws.

"We call upon Government to present an extended timeline to review the proposed village bylaws and review the 2013 Constitution to reflect the common will of the people and to contain within it, the unqualified guarantee that indigenous rights of native Fijians will be an entrenched provision in the 2013 Constitution," the church submitted.

The RFMF said these statements had the potential to provoke the re-emergence of racial issues that caused ethnic tension and instability within the country in the past.

"The RFMF, given its constitutional role to ensure the safety, security and wellbeing of Fiji and all Fijians, is concerned that a prominent religious organisation such as the Methodist Church of Fiji is vocalising the supposed marginalisation and agitation of the iTaukei in its five-point submission.

"These, we strongly feel, have the potential to influence and breed suspicion, distrust, heightening ethnic tensions and potentially lead to conflict. Declaring Fiji a Christian state does show conceit and domination, not to serve the purpose of Christ, but the purpose of those who seek to wield political influence through the medium of religion. The RFMF believes that all religions must work for inclusiveness and recognise the equality of all in the one family of God.

"As such, the RFMF is of the strong view that the insistence of declaring Fiji a Christian state through the Constitution will not make Fiji Christian. It is through the exemplary lives of committed Christians and other denominations in Fiji that will have that lasting effect for good."

The RFMF also said that all Christian churches in Fiji should avail itself to strengthening the moral fabric of society by teaching Christ-like values of love, sacrifice and integrity,

Fiji Times Online.
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