Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi is adamant the nation of Israel will not experience true peace until the penalty for their decision to crucify Jesus Christ is paid.
That was his response when his government was queried in Parliament about why it did not vote during a controversial United Nations resolution demanding the United States to drop its recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
The issue was raised by Gagaifomauga No. 3 Member of Parliament, La’aulialemalietoa Leuatea Schmidt, when Parliament reconvened for the first time in 2018, today.
“About Israel, I noticed that we were neutral during the vote,” La’auli said.
“I besiege you to remember our governance with God. I also wish to remind our representatives overseas (at the U.N.) that our Parliament has just amended the Constitution to make Samoa a Christian state.”
The M.P. said Samoa should be at the forefront of efforts to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s official capital.
That’s when Prime Minister Tuilaepa took the floor.
He said “vision” and “wisdom” must be exercised in such decisions.
“Yes we all know Israel is God’s country,” he said. “We all read the Bible.”
But Tuilaepa said there is a reason for war and strife in the area.
“Israel is still paying the price for their decision to crucify Jesus Christ, that’s why there is war night and day,” he said. “Remember what the Jews said when they decided to crucify Jesus, they yelled ‘let this decision be on our heads and our children’s heads.’ Well that’s what’s happened and until the penalty for that decision is fully paid, then there will be peace.”
The Prime Minister, who is a staunch Catholic, did not say when the penalty would be fully paid.
Still, La’auli insisted. He said his point is a humble reminder for Parliament about Samoa’s governance with God and the constitutional amendment where Samoa is now an official Christian state.
CHURCH OPPOSES TAX
In another church-related matter, La’auli raised the objection by Congregational Christian Church of Samoa to the government’s decision to tax the Head of State and Church Ministers.
La’auli, who is a senior Deacon of the C.C.C.S. Alamagoto, said their parish has received a letter from the “Malua Fono Tele” asking that nothing is done about the government demand for pastors to pay taxes until the C.C.C.S makes an official decision during their annual conference later this year.
Prime Minister Tuilaepa wouldn’t budge.
He said the government’s new tax laws do not target church bodies; rather it is focusing on individual Church Ministers who have an obligation to pay their taxes. It is up to them to obey or disobey the law.
The Prime Minister maintained that Parliament has already discussed the matter and their decision is final.
When La’auli persisted with the matter, Tuilaepa raised a question.
“Can I ask the member if he is in Parliament as a representative of his church or a representative of his constituency?”
Later Tuilaepa told him off.
“Don’t bring your church stuff in here,” he said. “We all go to church and we all know what the Bible says about taxes and the law and giving Caesar what belongs to him. Leave your church stuff out there. Parliament has made a decision and that is it.”