P.M. condemns Church leader for inciting violence

Prime Minister, Tuliaepa Dr. Sa'ilele Malielegaoi, has condemned the Worldwide Leader of the Samoan Independent Seventh Day Adventist Church (S.I.S.D.A.C.), Pastor Willie Papu, accusing him of inciting violence and causing unrest among churches in the country. 

Tuilaepa made the point in Parliament when he was talking about the “Faafofoga ae sei Fetalai le Tusi Paia” religious programme led by Pastor Papu and aired on TV1.

The Prime Minister advised the church leader to preach a sermon which provides for the nation's spiritual needs instead of messages that create division and defame other religious denomination. 

“Churches are supposed to preach the word of peace,” Tuilaepa said.

“A church that follows God should lead the way in peace making. The National Council of Churches should discuss these matters concerning the differences between the churches. The preaching from the church leader has not been done once or twice, it has happened many times on national TV.” 

Tuilaepa also turned to the TV1 Management for allowing the programme to be aired without screening its content. 

 “The TV should be doing their job to screen these [programmes],” he said. 

“These conflicts had long passed Samoa but to see it during this time reflects the kind of leadership from the church and its flock.”

Tuilaepa said there are many teachings in the Bible that the church leader should preach about rather than inciting hate. 

The S.I.S.D.A.C. office in Apia was contacted for a comment from Pastor Papu.

An official who identified herself as "Amanda" said queries will be referred to S.I.S.D.A.C's Executive Secretary, Pastor Papalii Iafeta Masipau, for a comment.

She said Pastor Papu resides in New Zealand and she did not have a telephone number for him.

In one of his sermons, Pastor Papu claimed that the Pope is the “beast” from the Book of Revelation in the Bible.  He also made reference to the papl tiara which he says are the signs of the beast. 

General Manager of Samoa Broadcasting Corporation Limited (S.B.C.L.), Galumalemana Faiesea Matafeo, said S.I.S.D.A.C. is entitled to broadcasting services, like all other denominations.

"Yes we are broadcasting S.I.S.D.A.C's sermons," Galumalemana said in an email.

"S.I.S.D.A.C. is entitled to the broadcastintg services as all other different churches.  We have raised concern with the Church leaders. It is a matter of personal interpretation."

Meanwhile, Tuilaepa warned against the war between churches in the 700 to 900 and in 1500 due to conflicts between the different religions. 

In 700 there was clash between Christians and Muslims and in 1500 there was a religion war on the reformation of the Protestant.

Tuilaepa pointed out the ongoing war in Israel was also caused by conflicts over religious beliefs. 

“We don’t want to see that happen here in a country that is founded on God,” said Tuilaepa. 

“If this church is founded on God, then follow principles and guidelines that will bring peace.” 

The issue concerning the preaching of Pastor Papu was initially raised by Vaimauga East M.P. Sulamanaia Tauiliili Tuivasa in Parliament. 

The M.P. urged the Minister of Communications and Information Technology, Afamasaga Rico Tupa'i, to look into the programme being aired on TV1. He claimed that it is disrespectful, especially against the Catholic faith.

Afamasaga did not touch on the issue when he spoke to respond to matters raised by M.Ps during the budget debate. 

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