FIJI NEWS

Calls for Fiji to be civil religious state

By FONUA TALEI Reverend James Bhagwan wants Fiji to be what he calls a civil religious state. This was part of his submission made by his wife, Mrs Maelin Pickering
15 Oct 2012 08:42

By FONUA TALEI

Reverend James Bhagwan wants Fiji to be what he calls a civil religious state.
This was part of his submission made by his wife, Mrs Maelin Pickering Bhagwan, to the Constitution Committee yesterday.
Mrs Bhagwan, who was making the submission because Rev  Bhagwan is studying in Korea, said  “The 1997 Constitution, in its section on State and religion, holds that although religion and the State are separate, the people of the Fiji Islands acknowledge that worship and reverence for God are the source of good governance and leadership. We submit that this should be retained in the new constitution.
“We believe that while a secular state may guarantee freedom of religious belief, there is also a possibility that, in the future, it may limit the manner in which the people of this country may wish to express and observe their faith. With most of the schools in the country funded by the state, there is no guarantee that schools which teach important values and traditions through their religious education curriculum and ethos will be able to continue to do so,” Mrs Bhagwan said.
The same can be said for religious social welfare organisations that work with the state or participate in state-programmes.
“We believe that majority of the people of Fiji not only have a respect for the divine, but also for the sacred and that there are many non-traditional belief systems which are a source of positivity and goodness among our people.”
She said they advocate for the state recognition of civil religion.




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