Prime Minister Hon. James Marape, MP, has launched a constitutional inquiry on declaration of Papua New Guinea as a Christian country at the Gateway Hotel in Port Moresby today.
He said as the people were aware, the National Government in its decision No. 23 of 2020, approved the proposal to declare PNG as a Christian country.
PM Marape said 75 per cent of Papua New Guineans identified themselves as Christians, and although PNG was known as a Christian country, it was not declared in the National Constitution.
“There is a need to redefine and give absolute prominence to our Christian beliefs, " he said.
" There is no better way to do that than to declare and entrench our Christian faith in the most-prominent document, the National Constitution.
“In our nation of a thousand tribes, I believe Christianity can bind us together as one nation.
“This is the national identity or character that we want to declare to ourselves, so that the rest of the world recognises us with that identity.
“The National Government will put K2 million to help make the consultation process possible and another K3 million to put up a Unity Pillar monument at the Peace Park.”
PM Marape said entrenching the identity of PNG as a Christian country in the National Constitution did not take away the rights of a person(s) as stated in Section 45 of the Constitution, rather it reflects the reality of religion in the country and that is that the majority of the people in the country practise Christianity.
“It will not make it illegal to practise other religions or have a different world view, " he said.
“The consultations in this inquiry will continue to respect other religions and beliefs, and but at the same time declare our values and principles as a Christian nation.”
PM Marape said PNG may not be the last nation in the world to declare itself as a Christian country.
In the consultation process, four questions will be asked;
1. Do you want Papua New Guinea to be announced or declared as a Christian Country in our Constitution?
2.Do you want Papua New Guinea to adopt Christian values and principles as one of its national goals or national aspirations through the National Constitution?
3. Do you want Christian values and principles to be upheld and violations to be enforced by the courts?
4. Do you agree?
Due to the pandemic, the agencies who will be involved in the consultations will use various means to conduct the consultations nationwide.
Consultations maybe done virtually or through the utilisation of provincial and district government networks.
Outcomes of the consultations will be put in a report and delivered to the National Executive Council for deliberation and endorsement before being presented to Parliament next year.
Government agencies who will be involved in the consultations are Constitutional Law Reform Commission, Department of Prime Minister and National Executive Council, Department of Justice and Attorney General and Department of Community Development Religion Women and Youth.