Fiji - Christian persecution against Gays
Tuesday, Oct 03, 2006. Fiji. The Association of Christian Churches Fiji (ACCF) representing over 20 major Christian denominations has formally asked Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase to amend Section 38 of the Constitution which protects the rights of its citizens with regards to sexual orientation. Claiming that it would give rise to same sex marriages and ordination of gay priests which it claims is immoral, with devastating consequences to Fiji as a nation. Section 38 of the Constitution was paramount in the successful appeal on Aug 26, 2005 against the conviction for homosexuality by Thomas McCosker and Dhirendra Nadan who had been sentenced two years' jail after beng guilty of a same sex act in a Fiji Hotel. High Court Judge Gerald Winter said privacy provisions of the Fijian constitution for consenting adults having same sex acts in private is not illegal as the constitution requires that "the law acknowledges difference, affirms dignity and allows equal respect to every citizen as they are". Fifty-two percent of Fiji's 880,000 people are Christians, with the majority Methodists. Tourism is the key earner of foreign exchange and the recent intention to build Gay Resorts in Fiji is causing further tension. PM Qarase is known as a champion of the interests of indigenous Fijians with protection for their special privelages.
As a nation despite being more than 50% Christians, the countries economy is devastated not by privacy provisions to protect gays but on the contrary, internal strive between races. In year 2000, the Indian minority made significant gains in the General Election. Hints that the new Chaudhry government might institute some form of land reform generated considerable resentment among the indigenous Fijian population, despite Constitutional guarantees that ethnic Fijian ownership of 83 percent of the land. In response, George Speight started a rebellion and captured the then Prime Minister Mahendra Chaudry and his cabinet and held them hostage for 56 days. The elected government was deposed and the ethnic Fijians took over power till this very day. Many of the leaders of the ethnic Fijians are "born Again" Christians pleging to obey God and to live by the bible whilst the Indian minority are Hindus. There has been an explosive Christian revival in Fiji epitomized by an open-air evangelistic crusade in September 2003, where more than 120,000 persons came to hear the gospel as proclaimed by evangelist Reinhard Bonnke. There is a great hunger for God but in spite such religious fervor, the great injustice against the minority Hindu Indian population has not been addressed. Can there be open heavens where injustice abounds? Futhermore, in demanding that protection against Gays be removed, Fiji may bring themselves into further devastation.
The anti-gay support is strong within the Fijian Government with the President of Fiji, Ratu Josefa Iloilo having been a lay-preacher and was Vice-President of the Methodist Church of Fiji and Rotuma in 1997 and 1998. At the opening address at Fiji's National Day of Prayer on 15 May 2005, President Iloilo called on Fijian citizens to seek God's wisdom to find the way forward for the nation. Reminding Christians of the Jewish Year of Jubilee, a year for cancelling all debts owed by one's fellow-man, Iloilo called on the people to pursue both personal and national reconciliation and forgiveness, saying that they would reap what they sowed. "Whatever you sow you shall reap. If you sow the seeds of harmony, peace and goodwill you will reap the fruits thereof. If you sow the seeds of discord, hatred and injustice you cannot expect to reap good results," Iloilo said. The cancelling of debts at the Jubilee is of grace with the receipients not deserving. It is because of grace that Fiji is not reaping fully the discord and injustice it has sowed. But by continuing to persecute Gays, Fiji is making cheap the grace and mercy of God.
Officially, the Fijian Government has stated that 34.4% of the population lived under the poverty line. However, the Fiji Islands Council of Trade Unions claims the figure should be closer to 50% based on a Governmnet survey conducted two years ago. Regardless, this compares badly to the povery rate of 12.7% in USA, and 15.5% in Malaysia. The Fiji Economy was once vibrant prior to the racial riots and coups but as injustice and discrimination reigns, it brought devastation to the country and an exodus of investment and talent. Blaming Gays as the cause of Fiji's national ills by the Association of Christian Associations ironically will cause further devastation as God is not obliged to bless greatly whilst there is a great miscarriage of justice perpetuated in His name by His people. More than half of the population is living under poverty, despite being a Christian Nation so fervent for God and in prayer and so eager to do God' will!. Where is God's blessings in all this?
Isaiah whose name aptly describes Yahweh as our savior prophesized that the reason for their unanswered prayers lie not in God not answering but that their indifference and injustice to the poor and outcast in their midst was a hindrance to receiving from God. But God did ultimately answered by sending His son Jesus Christ for which Isaiah prophesized the coming of the messiah. Indeed, it was an anti-climax when Jesus came 700 years later, for He did not bring salvation from the foreign occupiers (which were then the Romans), but He brought equality at the cross at Calvary . Whether one is rich or poor, rejected or accepted, if one believed in Jesus, he become a child of God. There is only one class in the kingdom of God, not whether rich or poor, but whether in Christ or without Christ. Isaiah was not only addressing our indifference to the poor and the outcasts for which the affirmative action to help these groups would clearly demonstrate Christ compassion and love through us. Isaiah was addressing the issue of justice. The religious leaders were supposed to be champions of the oppressed (Isa 58:6), and to be their helping hand (Isa 58:10) and their ‘light’ of hope. But no one did (Isa 59:4). Not only were the religious majority indifferent, they became the instigators and perpetrators of injustice and speaking lies and creating schemes of oppression. In Isa 59:2, it was these sins that stopped God’s move in their community.
The Church of Fiji has been very quick to judge and condem Gays using its tongue of fire in condemning Homosexuality as sin and the cause of the nations ills. They have forgotten that the Church is about Jesus Christ. It is about, the Good News, the Gospel. The Jews as a nation strayed from worshipping the true God and devastation came as a result. Whilst it is so easy to blame 5% of the population (the Gays) for causing similar catastrophy, the church has deliberately ignored that if they have applied the Jewish Laws consistently, then obiously the cause of the lack of God's blessings would be the remaining 50% of the population who are non Christian hence do not worship the "true" God. Fijians are mainly Christian, whilst the Indians are Hindus. The Church of Fiji has no moral right to come against Gays whilst not making similar demands against the Hindu and Muslim population for their idol worship. Therefore, the statement by the Association of Christian Churches is most hyprocritical and will eventually impact God's amazing blessings and revival in this nation. This slip of the tongue if not reverted can change the course of the nation for God will defend the defenceless. There is a need for repentence that forgiveness and grace may abound again.
Is the Christian Church in Fiji really authentic? The Gays issue gets them very quickly angered and raged about how 'sinful' the gays are. forgetting meekness as defined as in James 1:19 of listening rather then speaking, of being humble rather than boastful of their moraility before God because they are straight, but in contrary quick to response forgetting that this will result in Judgement and wickednes rather that demonstrating forth the work of the Spirit that of meekness, of which the Gospel of Salavation is based upon. Hypocritically, the Fijian Christians have completely forgotten their role in the injustice and discrimination against the minority Indian Hindu population which has resulted in a national disaster while eager to condemn homosexuality. Naturally, they dare not condemn the Indian population of their Hindu beliefs and worshipping of man made idols which is repeatedly condemned unequivocally as sin in the bible. God is a defender of the poor and a Father to the fatherless. Gays have no more than the right to exist at the moment with hardly any rights enjoyed by the rest. But because of the strong treat from the Christian Churches surely God will bring to quick fruition what the churches had greatly feared - Gay marriages and Gay Clergy.
This is the time and the season for the Christian Leaders in Fiji to ask for forgiveness from the Gay population whom they have oppressed and from the Hindu Indian minority whom they as a people have greatly wronged, discriminated, and deprived of the land rights. Without repentance, there can be no tangible salvation for the nation of Fiji to usher in God's blessings of wealth and prosperity so desperately required for a nation with the majority under the poverty line. As the Call to amend the Constitution to discriminate Gays has been declared, it cannot but bring further disasters unless God's mercy and Grace abounds and that the leaders descend from their self righteous throne to seek God's righteousness through Jesus and realised that they have all erred greatly and fallen short of the glory of God in this matter. Nevertheless, the actions by the ACCF will backfire and will result in an expedited process to usher in Gay marriages and Gay Clergy. What the church has attempted to take away, God will return a hundred fold to the Gay Community in Fiji. Let the goodness of God be known to the Fiji Gay Christians that God is good and that He is with them.
Father God, thankyou for the revival in Fiji. Let your will be done in this nation. Blessed it with wealth and prosperity and great abundance. Pour down your healing rain upon this land that they may be cleansed and renewed from their homophobia against gays that the latter rain of revival may be released upon this Island nation that will engulved beyond the Fijian Indiginous population to the Indian and Muslim population.