Qarase backs man of God
If American evangelist Benny Hinn has a dubious background, then it is up to the Ministry of Home Affairs to decide on whether or not to investigate him, says Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase.
But as far as he was concerned, he would support any Christian event or visit, including Mr Hinn’s, because of his faith.
“I am a Christian but my faith is between my God and I. But as a Christian, obviously, I will support any Christian events,” he said, as the controversy increased over the rejection of self-proclaimed messiah Dr Sun Kyung Moon‘s visa to enter the country.
“The result of their investigation led to that incident and the ministry had the power to do so,” Mr Qarase said referring to the rejection.
The BBC reported that in April this year, during a crusade to Nigeria, Mr Hinn blurted out his disappointment on the lack of attendance.
He allegedly said it was a waste of his $4million.
According to the report, Mr Hinn was assured by the local organising committee that at least six million people would attend the crusade but only one million people turned out in total.
The BBC also said that Mr Hinn had complained about charges imposed on pastors who attended his seminars and journalists who sought to cover the crusade.
It reported that while Mr Hinn’s ministry earned millions of dollars through these crusades, it did not pay any taxes.
Under US tax laws, religious organisations are exempt from paying tax.
In Fiji, government is providing VIP security for Mr Hinn and his entourage during the three-day crusade at the National Stadium.
Mr Qarase said his government agreed to provide the VIP services, as it was the normal procedure for important international people visiting the country.
“We are providing police security because there will be a huge crowd and Mr Hinn, like any other international figure, needs security services,” he said.
But the Methodist Church has called on the Government to reconsider its security plans, saying that Mr Hinn is a man of God and already has greater protection from above.
“We don’t feel that security for Mr Hinn is a need because if God is for him, then who can harm him or be against him? Nobody,” said church president Reverend Laisiasa Ratabacaca.
He said it was up to church members to attend the crusade if they wanted to as attendance was not compulsory.
The Citizens Constitutional Forum had accused the Government of double standards in treating the two visitors differently.
CCF executive director Reverend Akuila Yabaki said the Government’s decision to allocate money for Mr Hinn’s security was not fair.
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