A report released by the PNG National Research Institute (PNG NRI) today stated that although PNG is dominated by Christians it is not a Christian State because the Constitution does not recognise Christianity as PNG’s religion and that the country does not have a State-owned Church.
The author of “Is Papua New Guinea a Christian State? Evidence from the Constitution”, Associate Professor Eugene Ezebilo, PNG NRI Deputy Director for Research, stated that PNG can become a Christian State if section 45 of the Constitution is amended and a State-owned Church established.
For a country to be officially recognised as a Christian State, the country must recognise Christianity as its official religion and must have a State-owned Church.
Reference is made to “Christian principles” and “guiding hand of God” in the Preamble of PNG’s Constitution. However, section 45 does not reflect this.
“There is no explicit declaration that PNG is a Christian country in the Constitution”, Prof Ezebilo stated.
There are several Church denominations in PNG. Some collaborate with the Government of PNG (GoPNG) in the provision of social infrastructures and services such as those in health and education, especially in rural areas where the infrastructures and services are often lacking.
“GoPNG collaborates with various Church denominations but it does not have a State-owned Church”, Prof Ezebilo stated.
“Although PNG is dominated by Christians, GoPNG collaborates with various Church denominations and a reference is made to “Christian principles” and “guiding hand of God” in the Preamble of the Constitution, these are not sufficient conditions to make the country an officially recognised Christian nation”, Prof Ezebilo stated.
If the intention of GoPNG is to make PNG an officially recognised Christian nation, it should consider amending section 45 of the Constitution to explicitly state that Christianity is the official religion. GoPNG should also consider establishing a State-owned Church.
The report can be accessed on the PNG NRI website:https://www.pngnri.org/ and social media pages: