Battle between the government and the church

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Dear Editor,

I write regarding the church that had defiantly rejected the law of the land, and I would like to follow along the article piece with comments made by Mr. Vavatau.

If the C.C.C.S. is standing firm in its resistance to make a tax contribution for the development of humankind issues, then the Congregational Christian Church must understand the people of Samoa would want the lackey to collect tax and for the officers of the Court to stand its ground and implement one law for all, no matter the religion.

The brute decision by the so-called Fonotele or a fonola’ititi or half a fono for that matter “to remain the same as was in 2017 to reject the law requiring Church Ministers to pay taxes” Mr. Editor and all, no one would ever sway the taxing of all income earners particularly those faife’au trying to protect the monopoly they have enjoyed for far too long. And to whom, are the highest income earners in the country.

But for anyone who’s earning may have fallen below the threshold, has nothing to fear as the government, with the best money brains available in Samoa has allowed a scale to measure. If your income don’t reach that high, you will not be taxed.

Bare in mind everyone, that the: “Keeping in mind that in the C.C.C.S., there is no such thing as one’s discretion” hence I say, is a very very very weak assumption by those who supposedly to have serveed God Lord Almighty but are now more apparent to expose their serving the god and goddesses of wealth.

So, what the spokesperson had said is why he had the pride in his church because they practiced the true meaning of democracy.

True meaning of democracy? Ostensibly, democracy is one law for all. Apparently so, this had exposed your true sense of pride that you have swallowed your egos and lost your senses distancing yourself to categorise which one is which.

Please Mr. Vavatau, you ought to know that your church is operating in the country called Samoa. That country has a government for all to follow and obey her laws.

And if your church wants to defy the law of the land, that so is the problem within you and your church to sort out.

The Court will make sure all citizens of Samoa including me and including you Mr. Spokesperson will stand before and the Court to answer when we are charged individually.

So you said Mr. Spokesperson your church is a democratic and your decision was not decided by one person, rather the entire church.

That very same principle is with our law Mr. Vavata; that very principle s more complex than a decision reached by a small group.

 However, the law of Samoa, were passed by members of the Methodist church, Mormon, Catholic, Protestant, The Church of England, Assembly of God, Bahai, Jews, Islam, to whom are representing us in the Samoa Parliament.

And of course, for your information Mr. Vavatau, some of your church members who are proud to do the utmost best for Samoa in parliament, had voted and passed the tax law you are now resist to obey.

So then Rev. Vavatau, that about 90 per cent of the church leaders who had rejected our law is nowhere that is representing the government who assiduously working towards the betterment of life in Samoa.

Apparently Reverend Vavatau, for the issue being put to a vote during the General Assembly is so so irrelevant. Even if you had put it to the Sunday schools that so is still completely out of order.

Even if it was not a decision made in prism by the Elders or the Youth of the Church, that so does make no sense whatsoever. The law is now passed and any lawbreakers will no doubt face the full brunt of the law.

So the your-way-forward Rev. Vavatau is to seek a face-to-face meeting with the Honourable Prime Minister of Samoa?

Please note he alone cannot rescind any law that had been passed by the peoples’ government voted in by the 99.99 per cent of Samoa.

Your church decision by a mere 90 per cent of just a church hierarchy; or for that matter by whether by the Russian oligarchy has no merit to apply in the law of Samoa.

Mr. Spokesperson had said, his Fonotele had agreed for the representatives of your Church to meet the Government because the correspondence had been going back and forth; well, the general secretary had blinded and is drowned by his egos and failed top hire a lawyer to provide the church with a valid up to date knowledge of how laws work.

And in what objective would it achieve by the Fonotele decision to seek an opportunity to meet up with the honourable Prime Minister of Samoa; besides to officially informing him with decision by the Church?

As the matter is now becoming a well known public fact after the spokesperson has already preempted the issue through the media, it is my deepest regret for the honourable prime minister of Samoa being treated a joke and second fiddle.

So he said: “The decision by the Fonotele is a decision by the Church members who are attending on behalf of their respective parishes, not the Church Ministers.”

And I would say: The law passed by the government that is made up of those Members of Parliament who is representing the 99.99 per cent of Samoa who voted the HRPP in the general elections being held in 2016.

And the General Secretary maintained that church members want to understand the rationale behind the law.

Then of course, any law passed is when a majority decision is upheld to endorse what ever bill that goes into the chamber. That simple! PERIOD!

According to the church spokesperson: “The reason has to link to church beliefs. There is no teaching by Jesus that points to the taxing of Church Ministers.”

That is no doubt his own version of interpretation but the majority of the Bible is teaching the morality in life. 

And the general secretary is preaching what to suit his argument while ducking and weaving at the same time exposed his emptiness in the gospel.

According to Reverend Vavatau, “Jesus teachings is clear, what belongs to God, give it to him.

Common Mr. Spokesperson; finish the quote. How about give what is for Caesar and unto God for His?

“And the common belief among church members of their alofa to the Faifeau, is that they give freely with the notion this is their way expressing of their love for God.

Call it whatever you may wish Mister but in the purpose of commerce in which the church operates under (as collecting funds), that so is pure income earned; FULL STOP!!!!

In the love of any employer would reward his or her employees with remunerations and a component of that is a cut, to pay taxes for the development of the country’s infrastructure that is executed by the government.

So he says: “That is why they(parishioners) give and more reasons why they(parishioners) do not want the Church Ministers to pay taxes.”

But I say Mr. Vavatau, it is not your parishioners to decide who pays and who does not pay taxes. That call alone is made by the democratically elected government of Samoa.

I can only help to remind you Mr. Secretary General of the CCCS, when we discuss matters pertaining to the law being passed by parliament, there would be no more individual to have any right to the contrary. The law is now passed.

However, time for public discussions as always during submissions in a Bill process that your parishioners Mr. Vavatau should have gone there to express their objections. It is not now. The law is passed for all to obey and follow.

From hereon, it is time for the honourable Judges, Court officials, and counsels to deal with the matters should there be any law breakers.

Rev. Vavatau said it is the right decision.

But I say Mr. Vavatau: Not quite Mr. General Secretary; your church is starting to commit treacherous like it or not.

And that again is a different charge. Your church is heading towards becoming rebellious against the State and that so is a very very very serious crime allow me to remind all.

Then he said: “For me personally, I am very proud of my church, they stand by their faith and I am very proud of that,” said Reverend Vavatau, while fighting back tears.

Wow! Did he really cry Mr. Editor? He is no strong leader but so weak to crumble under a just mere gentle breeze if ever he had cried.

Or what they had said; crocodile tears.

When President Barack Obama cried after a shooting and I saw him wiping away tears, that surely had told me Obama is the weakest link of the US Presidents ever.

Worst preciament happened and faced by the Kennedy’s but never a tear fall. Any leader that had shed tears can only expose their lack of leadership quality. “I am proud of my Church,” he reiterated.

He reminded the teachings of the Bible not to compromise the Gospel.

“We can’t compromise the Gospel to satisfy human necessities.”

I’m baffled here. In what way are you and your church would compromise the gospel Mr. Vavatau?

The government passed the law in order for your high income earners church ministers to pay tax and you are now in narcissist mentioning the holy Bible in vain.

Paying taxes to the people of Samoa is nothing to do with the gospel.

Please stop misrepresenting the Bible it is the holiest of all books. It is not for you and your church to interpret the Bible to suit your need. That so is the abused of fact. You guys have been hiding behind “the God tag” and had exploited it to your advantage.

Reverend Vavatau had given an example of overseas countries that had accepted gay marriage.

Then he asked: are we going to compromise the Gospel to satisfy human nature?

“With my belief in my God, I can’t compromise my gospel, over laws that were not thoroughly thought out.”

Excuse me Mr. Vavatau; excuse me please!

What is overseas gay law got to do with your church ministers to paying taxes in Samoa?

And who are you to mention how others may live their lives?

I can only earnestly urge you please and your church ministers to live a normal life as taxpayers of Samoa?

You are starting to make yourself become that German philosopher Faustian who had made himself a pact with the devil.

 

 Reverend Vavatau had made it clear the decision by the Fonotele to reject the law in question is not the decision by the elders, the committees nor the Church Ministers.

“It is the decision made by the Fonotele, the Church and that is because the foundation of the C.C.C.S. is based on the fact that we are a democratic denomination.

“Just to be clear in case the blame is laid upon the Elders when in reality the decision was made by the Fonotele.

But may I reiterate Mr. Vavatau: It does no matter who made the decision; it does not irrespective of who had made your church decision.

Whether by the Elders, the Youth, the Sunday school Teachers, or the Wives Fellowship; that so is irrelevant.

So he said: “We requested the Government for postponement, as I have said earlier this Church does not operate on one person’s views and that is why we have to stand by the decision made by the Fonotele.”

But I humbly say Mr. Vavatau, no one tells the government of the people what to do. The government already had been very fair to have given a 6 months reprieve to delay the implementing of the law.

Or, how in unison then, for you and your church members for six months to pause your daily movements and stop using our hospitals, roads, airports, shippings, educations, etc. etc. until you and all are ready to pay taxes to help the infrastructure development of Samoa?

He also commented on the notice by the Ministry of Revenue that will be fully enforced by 30 June 2018 that should Church Ministers insist on not paying their taxes, the Government will use the power of the law to hold them accountable. That includes the threat of fines and further charges.

Reverend Vavatau expressed grave concerns about the so called implementation.

This is what happens after 30th June 2018; a default tax notice will be sent. And with penalty rates starting to apply from that date, the toll is on starting to rise.

“Now this is where we have to be very careful, because we don’t want the affairs of the State to mingle with the affairs of the Church.”

 

Indeed Mr. Vavatau; same here. I don’t want the church to mingle with the affairs of the State; just pay the tax please. It is that simple.

He said the irony is quite significant.

And I could not agree more Mr. Vavatau; the irony is so so significant. But the solution is very insignificant if the fair share of the tax is paid by the 30th June 2018.

Please Mr. Vavatau, it is that simple and insignificant; unless you wish to make it significantly bold.

“So tell me, who are the employers for the Church Ministers to pay taxes, should the employers attain a business license to operate?” He asked.

I can help answer that very trivia question: The village congregation is the employer. The village Congregation Treasurer should speak to the Tax Office where he/she will get all the assistance required for this matter.

“This is what I mean; only employees are to be pay taxes. And I have asked this question during the consultation and I want to make another thing clear is that the Church never once endorsed the taxing of Church Ministers.”

Now Mr. Vavatau, Samoa as a country would want all income earners to pay taxes. That very clear thing is getting more gloomier when you keep on repeating yourself like a scratchy LP record.

Reverend Vavatau said during Tofilau’s Administration, “he vehemently rejected the suggestion to tax Church Ministers.

“I don’t know what is the motive behind the move of the current Administration to level such taxes.

“I know the Government needs money, but I don’t agree with the way they are trying to get money from the church, this will hinder the Church’s future plans.”

Gosh!

Tofilau was the past of so many years ago. The world since has moved in full axis. And I’ll help you with the motive; for near 60 years of not paying taxes never was a right but was just a privilege by your country granted unto you.

This is the present. We as a country would want all income earners to pay taxes after near 60 years of being under a “Least Develop Country” UN tag that had helped us much with the aid dollars.

Samoa now is almost self sufficient and the development of our country is now at the mercy of our own hands. That is the motive for the CCCS to understand. That is the motive we as people of Samoa understand.

And, the law is not aiming to the church but to the individual church ministers. It would only hinder if the church is the target but that so is a separate issue we’ll deal with that when we cross bridges.

Mr. Vavatau had said the honourable Prime Minister of Samoa has made numerous public complaints against the Church, but the Church carries on without countering the complaints.

The issue now for Mr. Vavatau is nothing to do with the honourable prime minister of Samoa complaint against the church for what ever was in the past. The very issue now is for all citizens to obey and fulfil the tax law.

Reverend Vavatau put it out that he’s ready to face the consequences of the law pertaining to only some Church Minsters who refuse to pay taxes. 

“For the Church, I hope they are ready, but for me personally, I am ready to face the consequences.

“I cannot speak for the Church Ministers but considering the response of the Fonotele, they are ready to face the consequences,” said Reverend Vavatau.

That is definitely treason Mr. Vavatau. It is a crime against the State and a very very very serious crime.

Please Mr. Vavatau understand when ever the time may have come, then the church ministers will be dealt with individually by the one law for all of Samoa. I am sorry but that is democracy.

The church democracy you mentioned is when you and your church discipline your church ministers. That is nothing to do with the law of Samoa.

Then Reverend Vavatau had declined to comment on the move by some law abiding C.C.C.S. Church Ministers who have already registered with the M.O.R. and have agreed to pay taxes despite the decision.

“I cannot comment on that issue because there is a Committee that deals with Church Ministers.”

After Mr. Vavatau had gone to the media to disseminate the church decision, and when asked about the dissenting views within the church with those law abiding church ministers who have already registered, he then had gone mum with a no comment response.

And so they said: Those who live by the sword will die by the sword.

That so Mr. Editor is proof the CCCS is divided. The decision by the church is weak and I can see clearly now the CCCS plough is going to splash eggs on some faces. With my utmost respect,

 

Tofaeono Misãtauveve Iosefo Joseph Hollywood 

Palisi

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