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PNG Set To Be ‘A Christian Nation’

by | Tue, Feb 20 2024

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Papua New Guinea is set to be officially declared a Christian nation that believes and follows Christian values later this year. A proposed bill to make that happen was overwhelmingly passed by the country’s Parliament last week. According to the 2011 Census 96% of Papua New Guineans align themselves to the Christian faith.

In 2020, the cabinet known as the National Executive Council (NEC) directed the Constitution and Law Reform Commission and the Department for Community Development and Religion to conduct a 12-month national consultation. It made six key recommendations. The Post-Courier reports that included acknowledging and declaring God the Father, Jesus Christ the Son and the Holy Spirit as our Creator and the Sustainer of the entire universe and the source of our Powers and Authorities, delegated to the people.

National goals would be amended to include Christian values and principles. The National Identity Act would be amended to reflect Christian identity. A national policy on religion would be developed to make allowance for other religions to be practised in peace and harmony. The bill has been adjourned for two months as required by the Constitution.

Prime Minister James Marape said PNG had more than 20 different Christian churches. He previously told the Post-Courier “Many who claim to be Christian integrate their Christian faith with some indigenous beliefs and practices. The influence of the church has over the years transformed many societies across the country to the extent of replacing some of their cultural beliefs, while some have merged culture with religion.”

The PM noted that churches provided 60% to 80% of social and welfare services in the country, explaining that: “Church networks are trusted by most people.”

Asia-Pacific current affairs magazine The Diplomat writes: “Christianity is already pervasive in PNG daily life. Prayers are offered throughout the week, devotions are conducted in workplaces and usually before major decisions are made, and church leaders are regularly consulted. As is common elsewhere in the Pacific, communities tithe heavily to their churches. While most children attend government schools, churches play a key role in administering and supporting PNG’s education systems. The constitutional recognition of Christianity is not expected to bring about drastic change to daily life.”

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