16 Mar 2005

NGO claims move to declare Fiji a Christian state is a threat to the nation

8:33 am on 16 March 2005

A church-sponsored social justice NGO in Fiji has called on people to stand firm against proposals to turn the country into a Christian State.

The Fiji Times reports that the director of the Ecumenical Centre for Research, Education and Advocacy (ECREA), Aisake Casimira, has made the call at a National Consultation for the Prevention of Armed Conflict under way in Suva.

Mr Casimira says the greatest threat to the people of Fiji is the politicising of religion because the greatest tragedies of the 20th century occurred when religion was transferred into politics.

Mr Casimira says the greatest threat to Fiji is the Christian State proposal and people musty take a firm stand against it.

He says it is through a life lived with compassion and concern for others, regardless of race and religion, that Christian values are appreciated and valued, and not forced on the adherents of other religions.

Mr Casimira says the 2001 Fiji election and last year's United States election were classic examples of the Christian right having an influential role in determining electoral outcomes.

Earlier, the vice president, Ratu Joni Madraiwiwi, told the seminar that religion had increasingly featured as a source of division in Fiji.