September 07, 2012

Separation of church and State guaranteed

Maciu Malo
Thursday, September 06, 2012

THE new constitution will ensure a separation of church and State as outlined in the guiding principles set by Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama.

This was a statement by Constitution Commission chairman Professor Yash Ghai to The Fiji Times earlier this week at Namarai in Ra.

"This doesn't mean that the State is anti-religion but just a feeling that the function and responsibility of religion of beliefs within societies should be separated from the functions and policies of the institution of the State," he explained.

"We will have to look at the views we have received on this, some have been in support of separation but most have been made by Christians who want a Christian State.

"I didn't get the impression that people who asked for a Christian State fully understood what is generally meant by a secular State or separation of religion and State.

"And I think many of the objectives they have in mind can be met in a system that separates State and religion. Indeed until now there has been no Christian State and yet Christians in this country have done well and they have large membership and are very influential in their communities and in public life."

Professor Ghai said there was a need for his team to start explaining to the people what is meant by separation of State and religion.

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