The Chairman of the National Council of Churches (N.C.C.), Deacon Kasiano Leaupepe, has bemoaned the loss of family values and the erosion of what he termed “tough love” for the “moral decay” in Samoa.
“As a country, I look on with sadness because we have lost our core values based on the fa’asamoa,” he told the Samoa Observer yesterday.
“We have lost the respect that the brother has for the sister, the children to the parents and the young ones to their elders. These values have eroded and we need to revive and restore those values to solve a lot of these problems.”
Deacon Leaupepe made the comment in response to questions from the Samoa Observer about the growing social problems involving young people including fights, theft, murder, rape and others.
According to the Deacon, suicide is another issue that has not been given enough attention, saying that it affects more people than we think.
Asked what he thinks is the root of the problem, Deacon Leaupepe pointed to the loss of core family values.
“Back in the days, the brother protects the sister, she is the pupil of his eye. Nowadays that respect has gone,” he said.
“Why? Because we decided to bring in the palagi ways rather than continuing with our culture and the fa’asamoa. We have ignored our vatapuia and the ava fatafata.”
Deacon Leaupepe also attacked the push for human rights, especially among young people.
“I’m telling you this is one of the main causes of these problems,” he said.
“This ideology has allowed our children to think that they can do whatever they want. What’s happening is that when we as parents spank them, they (our children) go and call the police.
“This has made everything so complicated. But our country doesn’t need this because it was through the “sasa” (light smack) by our parents that we are who we are today.
“Nobody was pronounced dead back in my days from being sasa by their parents. As a matter of fact we became better people because of our parents “sasa.”
Asked if it is not necessary for Samoa to embrace human rights for all, Deacon Leaupepe said there is a need for balance.
“Personally, we don’t need this human rights idea,” he said, adding that Samoa has always had its ways of addressing social issues.
The Chairman went on to say that the other problem is poor parenting.
“The parents are being careless in looking after their children,” he said.
“Hence this is why such bad behaviours are spreading like like a wildfire. Parents are not doing their job, they are too proud of their children and that has blinded them with what they are suppose to do. They should teach them, educate them about proper values and morals.
“The foundation of the upbringing of a child is breaking apart and so parents need to rekindle and revive our traditions and culture.”
But where is the church in all this? What is it doing?
Deacon Leaupepe said the church is still playing its role, which is preaching and reminding people about what God wants.
“Some people they blame the ministers and the churches but we are doing our part that God has called us to do,” he said.
“We are here to preach the word of God. We are here to advice and look after the church that is all.
“We can give advice and advice but if the people are too stubborn to listen then there is nothing the church can do about it.
“All we can do is pray for the people and make sure that they are walking according to God’s will that is all we can do. But at the end of the day it is up to the people if they want to listen or not. Again it comes back to this human rights thing where people can decided whatever they want to do.”