FIJI NEWS

‘Christian State divides’

By MAIKELI SERU Calls to make Fiji a Christian State will not be good for the country. In his Fiji Day celebration speech yesterday, President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau said making
11 Oct 2012 10:42

President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau inspecting the Fiji Day parade at Suva’s Albert Park yesterday. Photo: RONALD KUMAR

By MAIKELI SERU

Calls to make Fiji a Christian State will not be good for the country.
In his Fiji Day celebration speech yesterday, President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau said making Fiji a Christian State would not unite the people.
“We now hear of renewed calls to make Fiji a Christian State. This would effectively further divide our people based on religious beliefs. I humbly advise that we tread with the uttermost caution on this issue for I am a firm believer in the age-old adage of ‘the separation of the church and the state,” Ratu Epeli said.
He said the call for a Christian State, was among negative experiences Fiji had gone through in her 42 years since Independence.
“Fiji has had to endure many unfortunate events. We have experienced traumatising situations where our social fabric was tested to the limits. Our economy became unstable and less predictable. Politically, it was chaotic.
“On closer examination, our socio-economic challenges were caused largely by our political instability. In the democratic environment we were introduced to, our electoral system encouraged voting along racial lines. This remains one of the key contributors to our political instability.
“At some stage in our development, we opted to further divide our people through affirmative action policies which only brought about preferential treatment for certain groups of people, many of whom, very unfortunately, continue to demand that special treatment. Corruption set in and became systemic and we began to see the huge disparity between the rich and the less fortunate.”
Ratu Epeli had raised this important issue in light of calls resurfacing following a submission by the Soqosoqo Duavata Ni Lewenivanua (SDL) Party that was ousted from power in 2006. Ratu Epeli also urged the people to celebrate as a united people despite the positive and negative experiences we’ve gone through as a nation since Independence.
The 42nd Fiji Independence Day celebrations in Suva yesterday started with a march through Suva City to Albert Park where a military parade was held and a 21 gun salute observed to mark the occasion.




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