14 Jan 2005

Former Methodist leader in Fiji blames church for crime jump

11:15 am on 14 January 2005

Fiji's powerful Methodist Church is being blamed for the dramatic rise in violent crime in the country, which is committed predominantly by followers of the faith.

The Fiji Sun reports that the criticism has come from a former president of the Methodist Church, the Reverend Josateki Koroi.

The Reverend Koroi says the Methodist Church has no clue about Jesus Christ, lacks compassion and continues to burden the poor congregation to fatten what he calls overfed, well-dressed and pompous religious dignitaries.

He has accused the Methodist church of fleecing its congregation, even though the majority of them are poor and struggle to make ends meet.

He says the church's culture of inaction is evident in its lack of support for the fundraising drive for victims of the South East Asia tsunami and is tantamount to ethnic and religious bias.

The Rev Koroi's comments come as more than 500 South Pacific Methodist church leaders meet in Suva this week.

He says the money spent on the delegates could well have been spent on the tsunami disaster appeal and to upgrade the lives of the poor in Fiji.