Fiji Time: 11:59 PM on Tuesday 21 February

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Church for equality

Siteri Sauvakacolo
Monday, August 11, 2014

THE Methodist Church in Fiji and Rotuma says Christianity should be part and parcel of the principles that guide Fiji's policies and Constitution.

Church general secretary Reverend Tevita Nawadra made the comment in response to claims by Social Democratic Liberal Party supporter Laisenia Qarase that Christianity brought civilisation to Fiji and that Fiji should be declared a Christian state.

Qarase told party supporters at Davuilevu Housing he believed God had given Fiji to the iTaukei.

He claims God gave the land to the forefathers of the iTaukei people.

The former prime minister said in the party campaign meeting he wanted Fiji to be a Christian state.

Rev Nawadra said Mr Qarase was entitled to his own opinion.

"It was through the Methodist Church that Christianity came to Fiji and it was through the church that the move towards education was initially initiated," Mr Nawadra said.

"That continues to be the main thing and all along the way the church has been involved in how Fiji should be moved forward and that all parties are of equal status.

"Throughout our history we have been part and parcel with our Indian group from the very beginning and we have had two Rotuman and a Fijian of Indian descent as presidents of the church. Christianity introduced multi culturalism."

Mr Nawadra said Christianity's contribution to the country was enormous and this was the reason some individuals pushed for a Christian state.

He added that Fiji should be guided by religious principles because it was a multi religious.

"Christianity has proven itself to the life of Fiji and its principles are good for Fiji as a whole."

Sanatan Dharam Pratinidhi Sabha's Deewan Chand Maharaj said he could not understand the statement by Mr Qarase, a man who had led Fiji in the past.

Mr Maharaj said no religion should take precedence over another.

Meanwhile, National Federation Party leader Professor Biman Prasad said Mr Qarase was fanning the flames of racial and religious hatred.

"This is racial bigotry. He thinks that those following Christianity people can never be equal to others," Prof Prasad said.

"He is therefore saying that those following or practicing other religious beliefs are subservient. This is preposterous and an insult to each and every citizen of our beloved nation.

"As a party born out of the struggle for dignity and justice of our ordinary people, we will not tolerate any racist remark or attack on any community in our nation."








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