Re: E.F.K.S. Church elders decision questioned.
It has been a while now since we last heard about tax issues between EFKS and the government. After reading Letaa Taniuelu Maiava personal opinion on Samoa Observer 3rd September 2018, I feel that I must also express my own view as a genuine member of the EFKS church in contrary to his.
He said many members of the wider EFKS church do not support their elder’s decision to stop their faifeaus from registering as tax payers.
When we use the word “many” as a representative of an entire population, we must absorb the statistical testing methods to verify that such claim is true or not, so the lay preacher said many members, the question is how many? or shall we say, what percentage of the entire EFKS population is he referring to, that do not support the elders decision?
I am very surprised that one of the EFKS acting member and lay preacher is not aware of the different levels of authority within the Church, the elders hands are tight and hardly can do anything to amend the decision by the General Assembly even if they want to.
With reference to the EFKS Constitution the General Assembly is the Supreme Council of the Church and because of that its decision are conclusive and binding on the whole Church and only the General Assembly has the authority to change any of its own decision through approved constitutional procedures. So if anyone wants to question the decision then they must question the General Assembly not the elders.
The story of Jacob and Esau reminds an important message, Jacob disguised as Esau to trick his father Isaac so he can receive his father’s blessing, remember what Isaac said before he blessed Jacob, he said “Your voice sounds like Jacob but your hands are like Esau”. Sometimes people clothed as devoted church members but their voices and their perspectives are just as good as committed politicians.
I really respect Letaa’s opinion which he is entitled with, but telling the Church leaders and elders to leave their parishes and go into parliament where they can voice their political views, is no different than a political advocate clothed as a genuine and a faithful church member.
I once mentioned this in one of my previous letters to the editor, any reasonable person would give an advice on any government related matter but it doesn’t mean they are politicians or even want to become one.
I don’t agree with what Letaa mentioned, that the elders encourage the faifeau or telling the faifeau not to pay taxes, the correct statement should be, the elders reminded the faifeau to uphold the General Assembly decision because that is their constitutional duties, to implement within their delegated authorities any decision made by the General Assembly and I am sure Letaa is well aware of that, as he was used to take part several times in the past Fonotele Sessions. Besides church minister title is a property of the church and that includes Lay Preacher.
Without a doubt, reading from his opinion appears to be a law abiding citizen, and never wants to break any part of it, I hope he was free without any influence to judge the faifeau by saying that what they are doing is morally and ethically wrong yet they preach integrity and honesty. No wonder why the head of the Church, Jesus Christ reminds us not to judge others or we too will be judge.
I am an average person who works to earn a living, I pay my taxes and what’s left I use a portion of it for church donations including alofa for the faifeau.
The government received their cut from my income as direct taxation; I pay for vagst as well, so why on earth would I agree for the government to claim three times more from the same money I earn given to the faifeau? Perhaps that is exactly what Letaa is saying a crime of stealing, and passing law to take extra money even though they already received their statutory portion is nothing more than a plain thief.
Besides that same alofa given to faifeau is circulating in the economy but Im sure he knows better, hes a qualified accountant.
If the governments still insist that their law is rightful, constitutional and morally justified in the sight of God, they have every right to challenge the matter in the court of law, but never forget we all answer to the Just God who is watching us with His True Judgment through Christ Jesus, because He is forever the God of both Church and all Governments.
Blessed week Samoa…