29 Mar 2005

Methodist Church in Fiji says other religions should be grateful they are tolerated

4:46 pm on 29 March 2005

Fiji's influential Methodist church says Christians can only accept other religions in the country if their right of worship isn't enshrined in the constitution.

The Fiji Times says the most powerful of all Christian denominations in the country was reacting to statements by the Vice President, Ratu Joni Madraiwiwi, in which he publicly identified the causes of religious intolerance in Fiji.

Among other things, Ratu Joni said crimes against the Hindu religion in Fiji began after the Methodists Church's endorsement of Fiji becoming a Christian state after the May 1987 coup.

But a senior Methodist church spokesman, the Reverend Ame Tagaue, is quoted as saying that "if God gets angry with the heathens, Christians will be punished because they allowed the worship of idols and other lesser gods in Fiji."

Reverend Ame Tagaue says they could not allow God's wrath to fall on Fiji because of a few.

He says other religions should be grateful that they are tolerated in Fiji, but their right to worship should never be made into law.