NEWS

Methodist Church On Its Own

Churches interviewed yesterday, say they are politically neutral, but allow their members to exercise their democratic rights and vote according to their conscience. They distanced themselves from the political controversy
28 Apr 2017 10:53
Methodist Church On Its Own
Catholic Church in Fiji, Archbishop Peter Loy Chong

Churches interviewed yesterday, say they are politically neutral, but allow their members to exercise their democratic rights and vote according to their conscience.

They distanced themselves from the political controversy that the Methodist Church is embroiled and declined to comment on it.

Head of the Catholic Church in Fiji, Archbishop Peter Loy Chong, emphasised that the institution and its clergy were not allowed to enter into politics or support political parties.

“If a member wishes to enter, the Church will encourage them to make the right decision as they have their freedom to enter, but not the institution or the ministers.

Archbishop Loy Chong said they were not in a position to make any comments on the Christian state.

Seventh-day Adventist spokesperson Pastor Joe Talemaitoga said they, as a church, were supportive of the Government of the day.

“We believe that through the will of the people and through God’s leadership, he places people in positions of leadership including the Government,” he said.

“We therefore, continue to support any Government that respects our right of worship and religion and giving us the opportunity to worship on our Seventh Day service.

“We have nothing to say to what the Methodist Church of Fiji has stated.

“That is their own church thing and the SDA is apolitical.

“We are not into politics and we are not aligned with any political party or comment on any political matter.

“We just respect the stand of each denomination or church and whatever they say in regards to politics is their own personal church stand,” Pastor Talemaitoga said.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Area 70 for Fiji, Adolf Johansson, said the LDS Church “is neutral when it comes to party politics.

“Members are encouraged to participate in the election process, back the candidates of their choice, and vote according to their conscience,” Mr Johansson said.

On the Methodist Church’s submission about a Christian state, Mr Johansson said: “We are neutral and do not wish to make any comments in relations to that.”

Fiji Muslim League national president, Hafizud Khan, said the organisation itself did not get involved in politics or political parties, but the members had their own freedom to do so.

“We, as an organisation, do not get involved but our members have their freedom to enter into politics or political parties as an individual,” he said.

Then India Sanmarga Ikya (TISI) Sangam national president Sadasivan Naicker said they were a multi-religious organisation, but did not get involved into politics.

“Our members are Christians, Muslims and Hindus, but as an organisation we do not get involved.

“But we have given the freedom to our members if they wish to enter a political party as an individual,” Mr Naicker said.

Mr Naicker said he did not wish to comment on the Christian state.

“TISI Sangam is a multi-racial organisation and we respect all religions.

“We do not want to be involved into politics,” Mr Naicker said.

The Methodist Church is expected to issue a statement today.

Social Democratic Liberal Party leader, Sitiveni Rabuka said in a statement that the Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama, was out of line in suggesting that the church was SODELPA’s campaign representative.

Mr Rabuka said: “While there are similarities between the church and the party, such as the proposal to reinstate the Great Council of Chiefs, the two are independent of each other and work accordingly.

“It is not a true statement; SODELPA has never asked the Methodist Church to be our mouthpiece.”

He said there might be similarities with some of the church’s proposals, but that was as far as he and his party’s reach went.

“I don’t have any influence. I have input, my input goes as far as the leaders’ meeting in my own church, whether the leaders in the church take that up, I go and attend the divisional meeting,” Mr Rabuka said.

Edited by Jonathan Bryce

Feedback:  ashna.kumar@fijisun.com.fj

Fijisun E-edition
Advertise with fijisun
Subscribe-to-Newspaper
Fiji Sun Instagram
Fiji Plus
Subscribe-to-Newspaper
error: