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'Not the way of Christ'

Shalveen Chand
Thursday, September 04, 2014

PRIME Minister Rear Admiral (Ret) Voreqe Bainimarama has called on Fijians to reject the politics of division and not give in to lies, especially those about a secular state being a threat to Christianity.

He made the comment while opening the PRB flats in Raiwai on Monday saying the Constitution guaranteed religious freedom for all Fijians and that the issue was being exploited by political parties to acquire votes.

"Again, they treat the people like fools by saying 'this is a threat to Jesus', 'this is a threat to Christianity'," he said.

"These claims are completely false. The secular state protects Jesus, protects Christianity.

"It guarantees your freedom to follow him, to worship him in public and in private, just as you have always done.

"The only difference is that the State - the government - remains neutral when it comes to religious issues.

"The State doesn't say because you're a Christian you should get the best jobs in the civil service or because you're a Pentecostal civil servant you should only serve members of your church first.

"Every single citizen is treated the same whatever they believe in. That is the way it is in Australia, New Zealand, the United States, France and most of the other great democracies.

"And that is the way it should be in Fiji where our people have different beliefs but there is now a guarantee that whatever they believe in, the State treats them the same.

"And that is the logic some parties are using when they now argue for Fiji to be declared a Christian state. That because there are more Christians in Fiji than anyone else, their religious beliefs should take precedence, their religious beliefs should come first.

"This is not the way of Christ, who said 'Render to Caesar what is Caesar's and to God what is God's'. In other words, the State and religion are separate and our obligations to both are different," Rear Admiral (Ret) Bainimarama said.

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