Govt. move to change Constitution change unnecessary – Chairman

By Lanuola Tupufia – Ah Tong 30 December 2016, 12:00AM

The Chairman of the National Council of Churches, Reverend Kasiano Leaupepe, says the government’s decision to amend the Constitution to emphasise that Samoa is a Christian state is unnecessary.

Rev. Leaupepe is referring to the Constitution Amendment Bill (No. 2) tabled in Parliament last week.

According to the Chairman, the Constitution of Samoa already speaks about Samoa being founded on God based on Christian principles, Samoan customs and tradition. 

The declaration he pointed out is highlighted in the Preamble of the Constitution. 

“I don’t know what other Christianity they want to be inserted in there its already there,” Rev. Leaupepe told the Samoa Observer.

In May this year when Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi revealed the government’s intention, he said Samoa must be cautious about embracing religions that promote violence and murderous rage as a form of worship. 

Christianity, he said, does not do this. 

“The government will make the amendment to the Constitution to put it boldly in the Constitution’s body that the official religion of Samoa is Christianity,” said Tuilaepa. 

But the Chairman disagrees.

“What makes a person is their head going down to their feet,” argued Rev. Leaupepe. 

“I don’t know how the preamble could be different from the body and the conclusion…there are different philosophies.”

 Rev. Leaupepe said the National Council of Churches opens up the door for other religions to be part of the group. 

He explained that people should put aside their religious differences and come together before God and be united. 

“No matter the colour of their skin and religion, everyone is equal before the eyes of God,” he said.  “The Council of Churches is doing its work in urging other religion to join forces and work together and once that is done the body of Christ is complete.”

Looking back at the past, Rev. Leaupepe said the Constitution of Christian church is based on the holy trinity, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. 

He added since new churches emerged some church only accept the father and the son or only the Father and the Holy Spirit.  

“Those churches were not known as Christians,” he said. 

“So when a church accepts the Constitution (of Christian church) then we inform the government to register them as Christian church and if they didn’t they were told to go back where they came from.  

 “But nowadays there is no longer that relationship between the Council of Churches and the government where the government does whatever it pleases with its changes. So it’s being opened to any church to enter and the reason why there are so many other small churches emerging.”

By Lanuola Tupufia – Ah Tong 30 December 2016, 12:00AM

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