Prime Minister says his faith is getting him through COVID pandemic

Note: Not Scott Morrison

In an official statement, the leader of a nation in the South Pacific declared that he relies “on God’s strength” when dealing with the coronavirus response for his country.

As reported by The Fiji Times, Fiji’s Prime Minister Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama (widely known as ‘Frank’) clearly acknowledged the source of his own perseverance and decision making.

“As a person of faith, I rely less on my ability but more on God’s strength to carry me through,” Bainimarama said before, according to The Fiji Times, quoting accounts from the Bible about God saving his people.

“I can recall some famous stories from the Bible that continue to be my beacon of hope,” he said. “The hope that I want to share with you …”

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This prominent linking of Bainimarama’s personal beliefs with his professional role are in stark contrast to the reaction in Australia when Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s Christian faith intersects with his job.

Just over one month ago, Morrison was being mocked by news reports and social media for saying at an Australian Christian Churches conference that God called him to his role. There have been other occasions when Morrison’s Christianity has “attracted almost frenzied attention in the media.”

Seeking to encourage people in Fiji – an archipelago of more than 330 islands, with about 65 per cent of the population identifying as Christian – Bainimarama hoped the well-known story of the Israelites in the wilderness after Egyptian slavery would prompt the seeking of heavenly guidance.

“Moses told them not to fear, but to stand firm and see the salvation of the Lord,” said Bainimarama who did not attempt to link himself with Moses or any other biblical figure.

Let us live out the lessons of Christ’s life and strive to meet his holy example through the love we show those around us.” – Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama

In Banimarama’s official Easter message this year, he called on his nation to walk in the ways of Jesus, no matter the situation faced.

“While he walked among us, Jesus was a champion of those most vulnerable. At the close of a harsh cyclone season, with a global pandemic and economic crisis on our backs, we have a new and painful grasp of what vulnerability means.”

“Let us live out the lessons of Christ’s life and strive to meet his holy example through the love we show those around us. Let that spirit of compassion and charity guide us through whatever awaits, whether it be adversity or joy.”

Like many of its Pacific neighbours, Fiji had been free of COVID-19 for a year. But infections began to spread at the end of April when the Indian variant was not contained by quarantine.

In mid May, Morrison committed to provide one million vaccine doses to Fiji, as well as ongoing financial support to a country heavily reliant on tourism from Australia and New Zealand.

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