FIJI is to be a sovereign democratic Christian state.
Former ambassador to China Sir James Ah Koy in his submission to the Constitution Commission proposed that if Fiji was to be constitutionally named, it be named a Christian state rather than a "new-fangled secular state".
"If the choice is to be between secular and Christian, then by virtue of our heritage and practise, a Christian state is the proper appellation for our great nation," Sir James said.
He said this was a state where biblical, Christ-like and God-like principles were valued "and this is what we have evolved to, by history and by conviction".
"To be sure, a Christian state does not mean a Methodist state, does not mean a Catholic state, does not mean an Adventist state, does not mean a Mormon state, nor any other denominational state.
"It means a state where biblical and Christ-like principles are followed and practised, and where other religions and any other form of belief and worship are also free to practise.
"This is no less than what pertains today and is where conscience predominates. There should be no confusion about this," he said.
He said in the 1970 Constitution, Fiji was given the status of being a sovereign democratic State.
"â€¦And the preamble twice acknowledged our 'reverence to God' in the context of 'unshakeable human rights and freedoms' for all.
"In our second 1990 Constitution, we were accorded the status of being a 'sovereign democratic republic' and Christianity was accorded affirmation and 'respect' as the historic and dominant religion of the iTaukei Fijian people along with guarantees for freedom of religion, freedom of conscience, and freedom of expression to all ethnicities, philosophies and religions in Fiji."
"These clauses were explicitly provisioned in the rights contained in that document," Sir James said.