Christian State? Bad Idea

Recognise and commend the Methodist Church for dissociating itself from a submission, that calls for Fiji to become a Christian state. The proponents believe that this idea will make Fijians
01 May 2017 11:00
Christian State? Bad Idea
Methodist Church In Fiji

Recognise and commend the Methodist Church for dissociating itself from a submission, that calls for Fiji to become a Christian state.

The proponents believe that this idea will make Fijians and Fiji better.

Their belief comes from a dangerous form of idealism that if you regulate religion and dictate how one should worship God that life would become better.

This is the kind of idea that leads to religious extremism, fanaticism and even bigotry.

In a multi-religious country like Fiji, the reality is that it will not work. Instead, it will cause religious and ethnic conflicts and could lead to civil unrest and even anarchy.

Our demographics show that a Secular Sate suits us well.The Secular State ensuresthat no religion takes precedence over others.

That we are all equal and free to worship the God we believe in provided we do not impose it on other people.

The political turmoil of 1987 clearly demonstrated that when religion and politics mix they produce an explosive cocktail.

The rest is history but we need to be reminded that many people were exploited and hurt during those turbulent events that benefitted a small elite group.

Even the Methodist Church suffered internally because of the reckless action of a group of radical talatalas who supported Sitiveni Rabuka’s military coup and took over the church’s leadership to align the church with the failed and warped political objectives of the coups.

The infamous Sunday ban which stopped public transport hurt the ordinary people more than the privileged elite group.

Sunday churchgoers had to walk to church in the hot sun and in the rain because they had no cars. Buses and taxis ceased to operate. The draconian law came from the Ten Commandments, often referred to as the Law of Moses given to him by God on Mount Sinai as recorded in the Old Testament of the Holy Bible.

Today many Christians around the world observe the Sabbath on Sunday except for Seventh Day Adventists who observe it on Saturday.

Its origin is based on the account of the creation of the earth.

The Bible records that God created the earth in six days. He rested on the seventh day.

In ancient times, people were commanded to keep the Sabbath Day holy. Those who broke the law were stoned to death.

When Jesus Christ came he gave the Sabbath a new meaning. When he was in the fields with his disciples, they became hungry, plucked the corns and ate.

The Pharisees quickly pointed a finger at them saying they had broken the law. Jesus then uttered those famous words: “… The Sabbath was made for man and not man for the Sabbath.

“Therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the Sabbath.” Mark: 2: 23-28.

When he healed a man with a withered hand on the Sabbath in the synagogue they accused him.

Jesus told his accusers: “Is it lawful to do good on the Sabbath days or to do evil? To save life, or to kill? Mark 3: 1-4. They were silent.

The spirit of the law is the common theme here.

We need to examine the spirit or the purpose behind a law. What good will it bring to us.

A Christian state will not necessarily make us a better people and Fiji a better place.

When a person is what Christians call born again or has repented of his or her sins and wants to start a new life, it comes from within.

It is spiritual in nature. When that change happens, it is sure. It comes from God.

We are all his spiritual children, irrespective of our differences and varied backgrounds.When his spirit touches our spirit that’s when genuine change happens.

If Christians want others to convert to their faith, it will never happen through a Christian state, but through living the principles that Jesus taught.

They have to live by example. Jesus advocated freedom to choose not force, coercion or compulsion.

He taught peace, love,long-suffering, patience, forgiveness, repentance, compassion, charity, service and hard work.

He even taught love your enemies and do good to those that despise you and wilfully use you.

There is so much that Christians can offer to our beloved country and our people.

I am sure other faiths practise the same principles too. Let’s start with the communities we live in and teach them the correct principles to empower them to be productive and law abiding citizens.

An increasing number of our people are falling on the wayside, on the wrong side of the law.

Our courts are full of cases of dishonesty, drug offences, domestic violence and serious sexual offences like rape, indecent assault and incest.

We should all be concerned. These social problems call for urgent action. And many people look to our faith groups to lead the charge.

Edited by Naisa Koroi


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