Why Samoa Wants to Make Clear, It's a Christian State
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The Samoan government wants to add a clause to the Constitution that officially defines Samoa as a Christian nation.
The Samoan constitution already references Christianity in the cover and preamble, but Samoan leaders want to reference their faith in the body of the constitution.
"Every time we say that Samoa is founded on God because it is in within our Constitution, God must've had a good laugh and thought that we have been fooling him," said Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa'ilele Malielegaoi. "And it has been more than 50 years since we have been fooling God, because this is not in the body of our Constitution.
Even more Tuilaepa said "The phrase "Samoa is founded on God" will no longer be used. Instead, under the Constitution, it will be, 'Samoa is a Christian nation founded of God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.'"
The Samoan parliament has shown widespread support for these amendments.
Many are wondering why this tiny nation suddenly wants to makes such a bold statement.
Tuilaepa says it is a way to fend off religious wars that have stormed other countries, primarily in the Middle East and Africa. He wants to make it clear that this is a Christian country and their faith will be integral to their law.
Some are concerned declaring Samoa as a Christian country will undermine the religions and beliefs of other faiths. However, Fonotoe Pierre Lauofo, Member for Anoamaa Wes, said the change will do no such thing.
"The proposed bill will not restrict other denominations from their religious practices, nor restrict them from entering the country," he said.
Others argue the bill won't do enough to stop terrorism or religious fanaticism from entering the country.
"I believe the proposed amendment is insufficient as it apparently lacks real power to limit the spread of potentially fanatical denominations within the country," said Parliament member Ali'imalemanu Alofa Tuuau.
The parliament members also said declaring Samoa as a Christian nation means it will not be influenced by other nations that may pressure it to adopt more "progressive" ideas like gay rights.
"If we make laws and bills, we need to make decisions that will reflect that we are a Christian country," one MP said. "So if other countries push us to make laws such as to allow same sex marriage, then we have to say no because that will not show that we are a Christian country. That will never happen in Samoa."
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