Opinion: a call for a tolerant, understanding and caring Vanuatu

A call for a tolerant, understanding and caring Vanuatu

By Michael Taurakoto

MP Andrew Napuat’s recent statement on the supremacy of Christian principles in Vanuatu society raises important issues that leaders throughout Vanuatu should deliberate and consider carefully.

It is true that the founding fathers and mothers of this country were primarily Christian. This is a testament to the important role Christian churches played in educating and training the leaders that would take the then colony of New Hebrides to independence in 1980.

It is understandable then that our national motto and the preamble to our Constitution make specific reference to God as the inspiration behind the struggle for political independence and freedom.

What is also true is that these same founding fathers and mothers crafted and enacted a Constitution which guarantees fundamental individual rights and freedom from discrimination on the basis of, among other things, religious beliefs.

Today, Vanuatu is a diverse country. While Christianity is still the dominant religion, making up 82.4% of the population (2009 Census), we have to acknowledge that the rest of the population, totalling over 40,000 citizens, do not necessarily share the same Christian beliefs as the majority of us. Read the rest of this entry »

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