The answer for the question about taxing of Church Ministers’ earnings is already provided by H.R.P.P. regarding the new tax law.
The new tax law is good news for H.R.P.P. in terms of financial support for our government and our country. But that’s not all. There is more good news for H.R.P.P. It is very important for H.R.P.P. to recognize and take notices of some serious problems already faced by Church Ministers and church members of E.F.K.S (C.C.C.S.), Methodist and other Protestant (Presbyterian) denominations because of the tax law.
The first problem is that the tax law is against the truth in the Bible and the Constitution of Samoa. The second problem is the way that has been used to establish and to implement the tax law.
The Prime Minister and the Minister of Revenue; they took the tax law into their own hands in a way that is unlawful, disrespectful and counter-religion. Everything that has been done since the beginning until the end in relation to the tax law is inappropriate.
The tax bill before it became as tax law, was passed without recognition and approval of/from other churches in the National Council of Churches (N.C.C). The bill was implemented by force and without a proper agreement between the government and other churches in the N.C.C such as E.F.K.S. and Methodist.
As a result, the tax bill was forced into law and became as an unnecessary law of our country. The disturbing situation shows us that the Prime Minister and the Minister of Revenue are performing religion politics in our government. They respect other religions and disrespect others which means, the religions they are paying respect for, are the only valid religions in our country.
By the way, in other countries, Church Ministers are obligated by their government to pay taxes because it is not new. It is a tradition of pagan government that can be traced all the way back in times of pagan Rome and the Roman Empire.
When pagan Rome converted into Christianity, Christianity was completely affected by the authority of government as well as government politics because of the demand of money. Church leaders were influenced by political powers that gave birth to the power of the Pope that put people under darkness.
Everything about Christianity was dictated to by the political power of the Pope. Even the Bible, people were forbidden to read or to have the Bible. Apostleship and discipleship were also affected. If people don’t follow the authority of the Pope, they face crucifixion or become food of beasts and fire.
There were thousands and thousands of people in Rome and all around the Roman Empire who suffered persecutions because they stood up for the Word of God and stood up against the power of politics. Despite of the stress, pressure and pain of persecution, they were willing to lay down their lives for God and His truth. Without those people’s faith in God, we won’t be able to have the light of our Lord Jesus Christ in which we get our democracy and freedom we enjoy in these days in our country.
So the imposing of tax on Church Ministers earnings is not a feature of Christianity. It is paganism; it is a tradition of pagan government and a tradition of man. Therefore the error of taxing Church Ministers earnings is not the Church’s fault.
My suggestion about what the Prime Minister and the Minister of Revenue should have done if they are allergic to the Bible because they are forbidden to have the Bible; they should have waited until the proposals from all churches are combined and presented and then draw a solution from every side.
We called that way as Christianity or democracy. It is fair, balance and more productive than the other prejudice way that pleases only the Prime Minister and the Minister of Revenue.
The other problem is the consultation timeframe. The consultation timeframe for the tax bill was restricted according to the H.R.P.P’s timing and it is not okay according to the background and the severity of the matter of taxing Church Ministers earnings. When consultations are taken for Biblical and Spiritual matters between Government and Church, the timeframe for consultations should leave open until a proper solution is secured. Therefore, the H.R.P.P. should never restrict the timeframe into some certain timing and possibilities that they choose.
Another problem is the intent of the consultation plan. The intent of the consultation plan of the tax bill in my own view is evil. It is the reflection of the government officials who put the plan together. According to the process for consultations were already taken, I realized, they have developed a strategy of dealing directly with Church Ministers through the back door in order to avoid Heads of each denomination particularly the Protestant (Presbyterian) churches in the N.C.C. It is not the right way to get information the government needed according to structures and systems we run our churches with.
The right way the government should approach Church Ministers is through the front door. That is, the government must deal directly with Heads of each Church in the N.C.C. through the communication network between government and the N.C.C. The government is already aware of the important situation that all churches are running like how the government runs its operations. They are operating on structures and systems or plans and procedures. That is the process the H.R.P.P. and the government should follow and respected.
The last problem is that the tax law is a threat to the work of God in Protestant (Presbyterian) religions. It poses a threat of imprisonment for Church Ministers if they don’t follow any aspects of the tax law.
Even church members can also be affected by the tax law. So the tax law has two aims but not one. To tax Church Ministers earnings and to send Church Ministers and church members to the prison. Those are good news for H.R.P.P.
But, there is bad news for H.R.P.P. The meaning of what the government had been doing to the truth, to our religions, to Church Ministers and church members is digging of their own graves. H.R.P.P. will never be free from what they had been doing in regards to the tax law because it is inappropriate.
They left out our religions be forgotten as they have treated our Protestant (Presbyterian) religions as their enemy.
But that’s not all; there is more bad news for H.R.P.P.
The correct answer for the question about taxing of Church Ministers earnings, is not found in a political opinion or in the authority of the government. It is very important for everyone to understand, that the question about taxing of Church Ministers earnings is a Biblical and a Spiritual matter. Not only that the question about taxing of Church Ministers earnings is a Biblical and a Spiritual matter but also, it is a Constitutional matter.
Therefore the correct answer or the right answer for the question about taxing of Church Ministers earnings is found only in the Bible the ‘Word of God’. Samoa is founded on God, the God of the Bible; God the Father, the Son and Holy Spirit.
That is the first and the highest law of Samoa, its Foundation or its Constitution. Not so long ago, Christianity has been declared in our country’s Constitution as the Official Religion of Samoa. Those are evidences and sources of informations the H.R.P.P. and government should seek to find the truth but they didn’t do it as they have decided otherwise on purpose.
So, to justify the right and wrong answer to the question about taxing of Church Ministers earnings, let us turn our attention to the Bible and Samoa’s Constitution but not political opinions and government authority.
Let the Bible declare the truth and let the Constitution show what and where it stands for. Also, let all Christian Religions present their purposes, their positions and their convictions and match them up with the truth in the Bible in order to find out the religions that served the truth. And the truth according to the Bible the ‘Word of God’ is that the taxing of priests or Church Ministers earnings is against God’s will. Therefore, the H.R.P.P’s current tax law for taxing Church Ministers earnings is a crime.
The Prime Minister, the Minister of Revenue and members of the H.R.P.P. have completely nullified the truth by turning to their own political opinions and justification. Their turning to their own political opinions and justification instead of God is the acknowledgment of the H.R.P.P’s untouchable political power over everyone including God. It is a symbol to tell us about one of H.R.P.P’s main goals they wish to prove to Samoa that even the churches and God are all under the H.R.P.P’s political power.
The real meaning of what they did is disrespecting of our belief; our faith in God. They abuse our democracy and the authority of our Government. They substitute our belief; our faith in God the truth with their political power and opinions. They replace our rights with their self-interests and violate the Constitution of Samoa with their unchristian tax law.
Remember the leaders of Israel (the people of God and the chosen nation of God) when they confront Jesus regarding the tax law of Rome as describe in (Matthew 22:17-21). They place the tax law of Rome over the law of God. They place Caesar over God. They kept the law of God in their inward parts and in their hearts according to the new covenant (Jeremiah 31:31-33) (Hebrews 8:10) “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts”, however, they abandoned the law of their king and turned to the tax law of Rome to trap their king because they claimed that the king of Israel is not God but Caesar as confirmed in (John 19:15) “We have no king but Caesar”. Jesus responded to the leaders of Israel with a counter question after the leaders of Israel showed Jesus the penny – “Whose image and inscription is this?” They answered Jesus – “Caesars”. Jesus then responded again to the leaders of Israel by saying “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesars, and to God the things that are God’s”.
While leaders of Israel turned to the tax law of Caesar and Rome to trap Jesus, Jesus turned to God’s law to save leaders of Israel. They turned to the penny, to the image and inscription of Caesar on the penny in order to catch Jesus and put Jesus in the hands of Rome’s government for the killing of Jesus, but Jesus turned to the image of God and the law of God that is written in their hearts in order to save them from hands of Caesar because they do not belong to Caesar and Rome, they belong to God.
Israelites are people of God. They were created by God in God’s image with God’s law already written in their hearts.
As leaders of our country in government, they should never establish any law against God’s law and also, they should always serve the country with respect. They should not be controlled by money. They should not be representations of money and sources of money.
They should always be representations of God and servants of the truth like our great leaders before them as well as our fore-fathers who inscribed the foundation of Samoa (Samoa is founded on God) on the Constitution of Samoa. O le tulaga lea e lagona ai le agaga fafafetai, i le Susuga ia Olo Fiti Vaai ma lona tula’i mai ma le le maasiasi ma le le fefe, e tu mo le finagalo o le Atua, o lo o faavae ai Samoa.
Our country is not founded on the government and politics. Our country is not founded on money and taxes. Our Government is not the truth. Money is not the truth. Tax is not the truth. Jesus is the truth, the one and the only truth. That is the Constitution of Samoa.
The meaning of our Constitution is that Samoa does not have a king like kings that other countries have because the king of Samoa is our Lord Jesus Christ. We are under the control of our king, the King of all kings, the law Maker, the law Giver and the Creator of the universe. King Jesus has arrived in Samoa in 1830. That is, the King has arrived many, many, many years before the arrival of pagan governments in our country.
When pagan governments took over our country with their political powers and with their ammunitions in the power of money, our leaders took back our country in the ways of our King Lord Jesus Christ that were written in minds and hearts of our leaders. They used the power of God. They just did their presentations verbally and through ink, pen and papers and that was all. They didn’t want Samoa to be under an authority of a pagan government or under the control of money because Samoa was already in the hands of God, Samoa belonged to God, we are the image of God, and we are under the control of God.
Prior to the departure of pagan governments, Samoa formulated its own government and constituted on God. It is a dedication for our King and it is also a reminder for Samoa’s future generation especially the leaders of the future about Samoa’s victory from God.
E pei ona loa ona silafia e lau Susuga i le Fa’atonu, e le sese lava le mea moni, le Afioga Paia a le Atua. (Roma 8:31) “O lenei, se a sa tatou upu i nei mea? Afai ua au ma i tatou le Atua, o ai se fa’asaga tau mai ia i tatou? Our King, our Lord Jesus Christ should be a priority, the authority of our government is secondary and the power of money is last.
As the government organizes a new plan to bring back Criminal Libel law in hunt for ‘Ghost writers’, the government must also organize a plan to bring back the Bible in hunt for the ‘Truth’ about taxing of priests’ earnings, then abolish the tax law for taxing of priests’ earnings and refund all priests’ monies.
Also, because the government has already asked the Attorney General’s Office to look into reintroducing of the Criminal Libel law, which was abolished by the government in 2013 therefore, the government must ask the Attorney General’s Office to look into reintroducing God’s law and the Bible, which was abolished by H.R.P.P. in 2017.
It is not about Church Ministers or defending of Church Ministers. It is about the truth and for salvation of the H.R.P.P. and our country. The only way that the government can have church monies and Church Ministers’ monies is either borrow or through donations when church and Church Ministers donate monies as gift or on voluntary contribution.
If H.R.P.P. still refuses to turn around their tax law, then it is still fine with us and our invalid religions. We will wait for the time of our fake God.
For the time being Mr. Editor, the only thing I can do as a small help to ease up the pain of the tax law, is a small advice for Heads of Protestant (Presbyterian) religions through this presentation; this letter. Don’t take this situation in a way that they would see or treat our government and the Prime Minister as their enemy.
Despite of the situation we have already faced which is against our belief according to the truth in the Word of God, our government and our Prime Minister still deserve thanks, congratulations, prayers and support.
The new tax law has broken the bond of trust and the love connection of our government and church. Once that bond/connection is broken, it is so hard to regain and to reconnect. The only way to regain the bond of trust and to reconnect the love connection is through forgiveness and good communication. It should be starting from our Church leaders. Let go of the tax law situation by leaving it to God and restore good communication if it is already lost. Share disagreements with respect but don’t use disagreements to oppose each other. Without forgiveness and good communication, things will be so much harder for our country. Our country needs solidarity and stability for government and Church as much as the Prime Minister needs solidarity and stability for H.R.P.P. So that relationship is very, very important for the country.
The main reason why that relationship is so important for the country is because we have to be prepared for the unexpected. Expect the unexpected. What ever happens from the unexpected we need to stand together. We need not to point a finger and avoid blaming each other. Put the blame on all of us together, it is everyone’s fault. When it comes (or may be it is already around), we should accept the situations as they are and work together for great solutions.
We are well aware of the situation about our country’s development. Our country’s development is ahead of its ages since it became independent in 1962 which is great and very important. Despite of the disadvantage about our country’s location in terms of International Trade and Tourism and despite of the disadvantage about our country’s land capacity in terms of availability of natural resources and raw materials for our demand and supply, but our country has been able to overcome the disadvantages through our leaders.
Unfortunately, advancing in development comes with the unexpected. It comes with a cost and a burden to carry which is another huge point to be discussed next time. Jesus has a solution in the Bible for that situation.
The most important thing for now Mr. Editor is the relationship of our government and church. Moving forward with a great start from where we are right now, our leaders should be reunited if they are not.
The solutions of all different problems and issues in our country are in the hands of our leaders in both government and church. Quality solutions and our future’s success can only be decided and determined through unity under the guidance of our King, our Lord Jesus Christ.
Nanai Malonuu Lealaiauloto Nofoaiga