Mon, September 03, 2012
World

Catholic Church in Fiji supports principle of secular state

2012-09-03 01:37:05 GMT2012-09-03 09:37:05(Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

Suva, Sept. 3 (Xinhua) -- The Catholic Church in Fiji on Monday expressed its support to the government's non-negotiable principle of secular state, stressing that everyone in the island nation should have the freedom of choice with their religion.

Father Beni Kaloudau, the Vicar General of the Catholic Church of Fiji, said the Catholic denomination in Fiji welcomes the principle of equal rights to worship.

Kaloudau said that citizens made up different faith groups in the country which needs to be respected based on the different ethnicities and faiths of citizens as well as visitors to the Fijian shores considering the country's dependence on tourism.

The church father made the statement as some Fijians have called for Fiji to be declared a Christian state in their submission to the Constitution Commission.

Meanwhile, Fijian Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama has clearly urged people to read the non-negotiable principles of the new constitution before making submissions to the commission, warning that people should stop making submissions against the non- negotiable principles in the constitution because his government would not change those aspects.

The principle states that "Fiji will be a secular state, the elimination of ethnic voting and Fijian to be the common national identity".

Bainimarama has made it clear that no church or religion will be given the upper hand. "It's not going to be a Hindu state. It's not going to be a Muslim State. It's not going to be a Christian state. It's going to recognize all religions and churches in Fiji. "

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