|Google had only four religious themes (of 388 other themes) on Christmas.|
I hesitated before deciding to publish this article written by Ranjit Singh in the aftermath of the Speight Coup in 2000. I think he is far too sweeping in his condemnation of the Methodist Church and the Great Council of Chiefs, and I know some readers will be upset with what he wrote, but there is sufficient truth in the accusations to warrant their publication, and perhaps we all need to be upset about how far away from the Christmas message our words and actions have sometimes taken us.
Postings will be sporadic until after the New Year. Meanwhile, I wish all readers, whatever their political or religious beliefs, a Happy Christmas and New Year.
EDITORIAL –Fiji Daily Post – 24th December, 2000
A Christmas message from the past: Baby in the manger and homeless people
Below is the Editorial that I wrote for Fiji’s Daily Post newspaper when I was its Publisher in 2000 after the George Speight coup and the atrocities on Indo-Fijian displaced cane farmers that were encouraged by the hatred preached by the Methodist Church in Fiji from their pulpits. The Church in Fiji in 2000 had been a source of shame on Christianity, as it involved itself in politics and spread politics of hatred and religious superiority.
|Three wise men|
Tomorrow (25 December) we will celebrate what Christians regard as the birth of the Saviour, Lord Jesus Christ.
Apart from praising the Lord and singing in His honour, Christmas is also a time for reflection.
Joseph and Mary were virtually homeless in Bethlehem, as all the inns were full. They had to seek refuge in a manger with animals. Just as Jesus did not become an animal or a horse by being delivered in a manger, similarly those Christians in Fiji who are born to Christian parents or in Christian homes do not simply become Christians. Christianity is more than an accident of birth and baptism. It is a way of life.
|Baby Jesus in the manger with three wise men|
Fiji has gone through a lot in the last seven months. Tomorrow, or from midnight tonight as Churches throughout the country fill up with those who proclaim to be Christians to praise the lord, we wish to remind many of them about their behaviour and conduct during the crisis facing the country.
How many of them can honestly emulate the goodwill, compassion, forgiveness and neighbourly love that Lord Jesus has been preaching as a simple person born in a manger to a carpenter father? Christianity is not about shouting at the top of your voices in loud speakers without trying to understand Christ and his teachings. Neither is it about causing misery to other people six days of the week only to come to Church on Sundays to ask for Lord’s forgiveness.
Our reports in the papers give tear jerking situation of displaced farmers and other tenants who have nowhere to go or call a home. This Christmas they will be as homeless and in as hostile atmosphere as Mary and Joseph were on the day the Lord was born.
|A displaced Indo-Fijian cane farmer wiping his tears in front of his burnt house during racially-inspired 2000 coup [Photo Courtesy of Rajendra Prasad, Author TEARS IN PARADISE-Suffering and Struggles of Indians in Fiji 1879-2004]|
This Christmas as those who call themselves Christians pray to the lord, please reflect on the misery that you may have knowingly or inadvertently inflicted on others in the name of one cause or the other. Please also reflect whether your conduct has been a pride to the religion that was founded around a very simple person with no worldly possession whose biggest virtue was love for His fellow beings.
When one reflects on the recent events springing up from 1987 and repeated since May  this year, one of the biggest casualties of those events have been Christianity and Churches which have not entirely been used as the medium to spread the Lord’s message. There has been immense loss of goodwill from people of other beliefs when the teachings and deeds and actions of their followers went in complete opposite directions.
|Another Indo Fijian victim of racially-inspired coup of 2000 supported by Christians, Methodist Church and Great Council of Chiefs.[Photo Courtesy of Rajendra Prasad, Author TEARS IN PARADISE-Suffering and Struggles of Indians in Fiji 1879-2004]|
The custodians and guardians of the Churches need to reflect on the actions of their flock and indulge in damage control to redeem the Churches and the religion from any wrongdoing.
Christianity is about behaving like Christians. Tomorrow when the Churches fill up, please spare a moment for the victims of hatred, envy and racism that have taken root in this country. Please pray to Lord to spare all of us from the evils that we have in us.
|Hope love and respect preached by Christianity and Christmas theme is shared amongst us.|
Only when the teachings of Lord Jesus Christ becomes a way of life for all those who call themselves Christians can we say that we are honestly in a position to merrily celebrate His birth and praise His glory.