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Religion and Politics in Papua New Guinea│Seing it from Jesus's Perception

Updated on October 4, 2012
Papua New Guinea, flag flying high
Papua New Guinea, flag flying high

Election in Papua New Guinea brings lot of sweet and bitter memories. Especially in the Highlands region of Papua New Guinea, tribal fighting and election related deaths are very common. Not more often of such a behavior is observed in the coastal areas but a shift in mindset over the years due to Highlands influence has seen to cause some hiccups during election this year.

Lives are lost, properties are destroyed and court battles are fought. Why? You don’t need a degree to understand this situation. We have leadership problem at the highest governmental level, the National Government. PNG’s political, economic and social development over the years is strongly shaped by its cultural background. Now with the recently introduced religion, the Christianity, which many Papua New Guineans proudly unashamedly claim to be one, there is a huge yawning gap in the way we leaders understand how politics and religion merge or diverge.


The chaotic result being the hypocritical use of religions means to gain power and abuse of core principle of religion. So we ask politics and religion, where do they merge and where do they diverge? This is my take on the question. You may have your opinion, which I respect. Please comment on the comment section below and we shall discuss more.

I want to discuss this issue using Jesus Christ's perception. Because we Papua New Guineans claim to be Christians, meaning we are followers of Jesus. So lets see how Jesus dealth with the issue of religion and politics.

2012 election in Papua New Guinea (PNG) came and went. The high number of Christian leaders like pastors and priests that contested in this year’s election leaves one wondering if it is allowable or proper in religion context. The bible describes several events in the ministry of Jesus when he was brought to face some political situations. How he handle those political situations with his words and deed lives much for the Christians to learn from. Jesus, the great philosopher knew too well that such a question will arise in certain circumstances well after his death. So he drew a fine and distinguishable line between religion and politics.


So is it proper for pastors and priests to enter politics?

Some case scenerios

Let’s briefly see how Jesus viewed politics. The most famous political encounter Jesus had just before his death is recorded by gospel writer John (John 6: 10-15). Impressed by his excellent leadership qualities, many of Jesus’s contemporaries were desperate for a ruler to who could solve their economic and political problems. Is this situation not different from Christians in Papua New Guinea? Did he put up his hand and become the elected member of his province, putting up his poster filled with fancy policies saying “Putting God first, free education and health blah blah blah….? “Jesus, knowing that they were about to seize him and make him king (political post) withdrew again and went into the mountains alone.

Before that, Jesus was asked by some political activist if Jews should pay taxes to Roman. This is a political question. What did he say? Payback Caesars’s things to Caesar and God’s things to God. Once again, he refused to be involved in politics. If he went ahead and made a decision, it could well have been a political decision.


Jesus was unmoved as a religious leader-How?

Problems such as poverty, corruption and injustice did not leaved Jesus unmoved. Yes he was touched deeply by the pitiful state of the world around him (Mark 6:33, 34). The pastors and priest use the poverty, corruption and injustice as their excuses to break into politics. Jesus however, refused to join politics so why should our pastors and priests do? I am tempted to assume that our pastors and priest enter politics under the banner of religion for selfish monetary gains.

Jesus did not lead a campaign, as a pastors or priest or a church member with religions solid background seeking to bring free education, free health services and infrastructure development to his people.

Lets conclude

You can now conclude that pastors and priest that contested 2012 election are in actual fact no followers of Jesus at all. Because if Jesus refuse to get into politics, who else are these pastors and priest following by entering politics? I am afraid it is the intention of devil himself, if it is not that of Jesus Christ.



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    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 4 years ago from Southern Illinois

      I agree. Religion and politics should be separate. We have a few ministers here who have quit heading the church to become political and TV personalities. Great topic. Thank you..

    • Alexander Brenner profile image

      Alexander Brenner 4 years ago from Laguna Hills, California

      It is nice to have your interest peaked by an article to the point by a subject you previously did not think about i.e. Religion and Politics in Papua New Guinea. We written, thanks

    • Ian Dabasori Hetr profile image
      Author

      Ian D Hetri 4 years ago from Papua New Guinea

      always exploring. Appreciate your comment, Thanks,

      Alexander Brenner. I cant find any documented article by you or your organization in my mind and in my country. Its a pity, you proudly say that without actually not knowing anything about PNG and how PNG politics and religions works.

    • Alexander Brenner profile image

      Alexander Brenner 4 years ago from Laguna Hills, California

      I meant it is refreshing to read an article like yours that gets me interested in a subject I know nothing about. "Religion and Politics in Papua New Guinea" is the title of your article I thought, I have no organization or article about PNG and never claimed to. The "We written, thanks" comment is a typo it was supposed to read "Well written, thanks". Sorry for any confusion

    • christopheranton profile image

      Christopher Antony Meade 4 years ago from Gillingham Kent. United Kingdom

      I agree here. Church and state rarely mix well.

    • Ian Dabasori Hetr profile image
      Author

      Ian D Hetri 4 years ago from Papua New Guinea

      Alexander Brenner,

      "We written, thanks" Vs. "Well written, thanks"

      This is it. Thanks for pointing out the cause of confusion. Just a simple omission can set the whole world apart and that's what happened here. I have to admit its the "typo" that totally shaped the way I interpreted your comment and saw the angle you were coming from.

      Thanks again and please have it from me that you are a talented writer and consider me a fan right now..Cheers

      Ian

    • Ian Dabasori Hetr profile image
      Author

      Ian D Hetri 4 years ago from Papua New Guinea

      Alexander Brenner,

      "We written, thanks" Vs. "Well written, thanks"

      This is it. Thanks for pointing out the cause of confusion. Just a simple omission can set the whole world apart and that's what happened here. I have to admit its the "typo" that totally shaped the way I interpreted your comment and saw the angle you were coming from.

      Thanks again and please have it from me that you are a talented writer and consider me a fan right now..Cheers

      Ian

    • Ian Dabasori Hetr profile image
      Author

      Ian D Hetri 4 years ago from Papua New Guinea

      Hi Chris,

      You are a real champion. What else can a young writer do then to learn from a veteran. You are a blessing to HubPage community.

      Thanks Chris. Hey Chris. You know what?

      Its a BIG WARM GREETINGS from the Papua New Guinea to you.

    • Ian Dabasori Hetr profile image
      Author

      Ian D Hetri 4 years ago from Papua New Guinea

      always exploring

      Hey hey. Thanks much. Appreciate your comment. Happy hubbing

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