Informal Session: Slouching towards Christian Theocracy in Western Polynesia
Organizers: Michael Horowitz, PhD and C.F. Velt
From 1962-2017 the Independent State of Samoa was effectively a secular nation. In June 2017, however, its Parliament voted 43-6 to transform it into a Christian state. One member of Parliament explained the change would enable Samoa to justify denial of gay rights.
The constitution of the Kingdom of Tonga, on the other hand – influenced as it was by the progressive Kingdom of Hawai’i – remains committed to religious pluralism. Yet even in the Friendly Islands, secularism is weakening.
In 2017 the leader of Tonga’s theocratic God Party, Tevita Palu, garnered nearly 30% of the vote in one of the capital’s parliamentary districts. And this past October the Tongan Parliament voted 18-0 to direct the judiciary to root its judgments in Tongan “custom”, a dog whistle for Christian tradition.
Among other questions, this panel is open to addressing the following:
For more information, please contact Michael Horowitz, PhD, Atenisi Institute <firstname.lastname@example.org> and C.F. Velt <email@example.com>