Declaration should not infringe on rights: Students

National

ST Charles Lwanga Secondary School grade 12 student Sandy Levi says the declaration of Papua New Guinea as a Christian country seems fitting, but it has to ensure that it did not infringe the rights of others as set in the Constitution. “Such a declaration creates more room for our Christian faith,” she said. “However, if introducing a State church is a requirement, then it will breach and undermine certain sections in the Constitution that will lead to religious conflicts and chaos, and even bar foreign investors from entering the country because of the ban on their religion.” Levi disagreed with the proposition for a State-church and said it would only cause more harm than good. “Having a State-church will mean a dominant church that will impose its own beliefs onto others and this will cause a detrimental division and conflict between the already established denominations,” she said. Levi was one of her three schoolmates who appeared on the Chat Room radio programme on Wednesday in discussing the proposed declaration. According to a statement from the Catholic Bishops Conference, their discussions focused on the definition of a Christian, changing laws to achieve Christianity, the need to practice good deeds and living the faith, reality being endured by the country and its people, contradicting sections of the Constitution, imposition of a State-church, advantages and the adverse effects of such on existing laws and current practices and beliefs. Another student, Margaret Stanley, said it simply required putting into practice the principles and values that Christ. “Becoming a Christian cannot be attained by amending existing or introducing new laws,” she said.  “It is up to every person’s own personal conviction and their faith and belief.”

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