Parliament has been urged to stand by Israel in the face of growing hostility against God’s people from other countries in the world.
The call comes from the Member of Parliament for Anoama’a East, Alaiasa Sepulona Moananu. He was speaking in Parliament during the Constitutional Amendment Bill (No.2) 2016 tabled by Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi.
The bill aims to insert in the Constitution that Samoa is a Christian nation to declare the dominance of Christianity in Samoa. Alaiasa supports the amendment.
“The God we believe in is the God of the Bible, the God of Israel,” he said.
“I strongly urge our government that whatever happens to Israel, we should always support that government. We have to.
“The God upon whom Samoa is founded is the God of the Bible. If we go back to theology, He is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and from them come Jesus Christ whom we believe.”
Alaiasa congratulated Prime Minister Tuilaepa for the amendment, saying it might be brief but is "very meaty."
“This is the first step. The other issues that members of the house are concerned about, we can build on those later.”
He reminded about the book of Deuteronomy 28 where God’s blessings for the nation that trusts him are highlighted.
“There are a lot of wonderful blessings,” he said. “It says you are the head not the tail, you are blessed when you enter and when you leave, your wallet will be blessed.
“But there is the other side of the coin if you neglect God. You are cursed in the city and the country… that’s what happens to a country who turns its back on God.
“This is why this amendment is very important to me. This is our declaration that there is one God upon whom Samoa is founded.”
But the Member of Parliament also cautioned Parliament over what he described as a curse.
“There is only one curse I can see and that is also in Deuteronomy,” he said.
“It says you will live with a foreigner but in the end you will borrow from a foreigner.
“The foreigner comes and rules over you. Please consider this, I can see this coming. Foreigners are trying to rule our nation. We are borrowing from them. But I believe that when our ship is redirected to God (through this amendment), the blessings will flow to us again.”
During the second reading on the bill in Parliament, Tuilaepa said the Constitution’s reference to Christianity as it stands is only in the Preamble.
“The discussion of this bill is not new as it was introduced in our last Parliament sitting. And from that discussion, we saw how inadequate the Constitution was at the time. Inadequate in terms of how Samoa as a Christian State is not included in the body of the Constitution.
“Instead it is in the cover and the preamble of the Constitution, not within the body of the Constitution.
“This shows that it is not part of the Constitution. This does not stand in Court as it is not included in the body of the Constitution.”
Tuilaepa said he understood the main reason it wasn’t included in the body of the Constitution then was because there were no religious wars in Samoa when the Constitution was initially written.
But times have changed.
The bill was widely supported.
But the M.P. for Falealili East, Fuimaono Teo, cautioned Parliament against restricting religious freedom.
“If we are to restrict religions, it means we are limiting a person’s human right as guaranteed in the Constitution to be free to worship whatever he/she chooses to believe,” Fuimaono said.
“I’ve heard different opinions being expressed about the issue. My concern is that not everyone shares the same beliefs in relation to the trinity.
“There are people who believe only in Jesus Christ, and yet it is in the amendment it talks about God and his son.
“There are people who also don’t believe in the trinity, of God the father, the son and holy spirit but they believe in God, as Jesus Christ. As you know, Jehovah’s Witnesses only believe in Jesus Christ, Bahai believe in the glory of God.
“So if we begin to limit the freedom for these different beliefs, their rights will be violated and yet they all believe in the same thing.”
Fuimaono pointed out that there are no frictions in Samoa because of religions.
“There are no wars in Samoa because of religions,” he said.
For the M.P., the most important rule in the Bible is about love.
“If there is love in Parliament, that is the most important thing,” he said.
The bill has been referred to the Standing Orders, Electoral, Petitions and Constitutional Offices Committee.