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Religion in Samoa

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Affiliation 2001 census 2006 census 2011 census 2016 census[1]
Congregational Christian Church in Samoa 35.0% 33.8% 31.8% 29.0%
Roman Catholic 19.7% 19.6% 19.4% 18.8%
Latter-day Saints 12.5% 13.3% 15.1% 16.9%
Methodist 15.0% 14.3% 13.7% 12.4%
Assemblies of God 6.6% 6.9% 8.0% 6.8%
Seventh-day Adventist 3.5% 3.5% 3.9% 4.4%
Others 7.7% 8.6% 8.1% 11.7%

Religion in Samoa encompasses a range of groups, but 98% of the population of Samoa is Christian. The following is a distribution of Christian groups as of 2011 (the most recent census available): Congregational Christian (32 percent), Roman Catholic (19 percent), LDS (15 percent), Methodist (14 percent), Assemblies of God (8 percent) and Seventh-day Adventist (4 percent). Groups together constituting less than 5 percent of the population include Baha'i, Jehovah's Witnesses, Congregational Church of Jesus, Nazarene, nondenominational Protestant, Baptist, Worship Centre, Peace Chapel, Samoa Evangelism, Elim Church, and Anglican. (A comparison of the 2006 and 2011 censuses shows a slight decline in the membership of major denominations and an increase in participation in nontraditional and evangelical groups. Although there is no official estimate, there are reportedly small numbers of Hindus, Buddhists, and Jews, primarily in Apia. The country has one of the world's eight Bahá'í Houses of Worship. There is a small Muslim community and one mosque.[2][3]

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From the Library of Congress in Washington DC. >> ERIC ELDRITCH: Good afternoon, everyone. As we settle in and begin our program, it's important to know that we are here in large part due to the interest and energy of an intern at our office, Micaela Viluu. Come on up. Come on up. Her personal interest in research and skill has lead us to today's program. I ask that you help me to acknowledge in advance the combined efforts of Michaela, Humanity Social Sciences Division, the Library of Congress Asian- American Association, and my office EEO and Diversity Programs. [Applause] Today's program draws on the experience that enriches, that illustrates the principles of inclusion that enrich our understanding of the world. And now we have two members of the Pacific Edge Dance Troop to bring two dances as a Samoan greeting to open our program. [Applause] ♫ MUSIC ♫ [Applause] ♫ MUSIC ♫ [Applause] >> JANE SANCHEZ: Good afternoon. That was a lovely opening to our program this afternoon. Thank you so much. We appreciate that so many of you could attend today's program. My name is Jane Sanchez. And I'm Chief of the Humanities and Social Sciences Division which we call HSS. HSS serves as the physical and intellectual gateway to the general collections of the Library of Congress. >> [Interruption by operator] Waiting to connect. >> JANE SANCHEZ: Hello. [Chuckles] Something's talking to me up here. Thank you. Division activities reflect our multi-role charge to support reference and research, develop the collection, serves as a professional liaison to many other libraries and librarians. We provide instruction, mentoring, and we work on special projects to enhance access to our collections. HSS also has custodial responsibility for a microform and machine readable collection in the microform and machine readable collection's reading room. And we also have extensive reference collections for both the main reading room and also local history and genealogy reading room. We are honored to collaborate this afternoon with LC's Asian-American Association and EEO and Diversity Programs on today's event. This marks the Library's opening event for Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month that is celebrated annually across the nation in May. The Heritage Month provides us an opportunity to acknowledge and honor the incredibly rich heritage and diverse contribution of the Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders to our great nation. Our Library website has literally thousands of pages with information about Asian and Pacific Islanders. Today's program, along with other Asian and Pacific Islanders information, can be found on a single portal that is coordinated by the Library. We hope that all of you will visit it at some point. It's And please look at it at your convenience. Without further adieu, I hereto introduce our featured speaker, is acting Librarian of Congress, David Mao. David. [Applause] >> DAVID MAO: Thank you so much, Jane, and good afternoon to all of you. And I want to echo what Jane had to say about that introduction that we had from the two of you. That was just simply, that was really beautiful. It was just amazing. I also want to congratulate all of the entities here at the Library of Congress for this terrific event that we're having. The LC Asian-American Association, the Humanities and Social Science Division, HSS, and the Office of Equal Employment Opportunity and Diversity, it's terrific when various entities across the Library can come together and jointly sponsor events. It shows, again, the diversity that we have here at the Library and also the commonalities that we have in the Library in working together to put on wonderful programs. And it's my pleasure, of course, today to be here, not as the feature speaker as Jane said, but to introduce our featured speaker. I'm very, very honored that I'm able to do so, Congresswoman Aumua Amata Coleman Radewagen, who is the third member to be elected from American Samoa and first woman to be elected from American Samoa, and we're very, very delighted that she's able to be able to join us. Just to tell you a little bit about her, she holds the order title of Aumua from the village of Pago Pago in American Samoa where she's been actively involved in fostering community health, sports, and business initiatives. Here as a member of Congress she sits on the Small Business Veterans Affairs and National Resources Committees. She might be new to this position here on Capitol Hill, but she's no stranger to Capitol Hill and also the issues that are very important to American Samoa and our community. For example you'll see in your program that in 2001, President George W. Bush appointed her to be on the President's Commission on Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders which helped advise the President on issues important to that community. And at that time they issued a landmark report on the health care needs of America's Asian- American Pacific Islander communities. She's also a very active in the International Republican Institute and the International Federation for Electoral Systems. She's made numerous presentations around the world talking about these important issues and helping to train and build democratic institutions. Now you heard a little bit our collections here from Jane at the Library of Congress. We're very proud that we do have an Asian-American and Pacific Islander collection here. The materials here at the Library help preserve that very great and varied legacy in that community including American Samoa, and so certainly with the Congresswoman's presence today, she helps to continue to highlight the importance of that culture, that history, and that collection here at the Library of Congress. So please join me in welcoming her to the stage. Thank you very much. [Applause] >> AUMUA AMATA COLEMAN RADEWAGEN: Thank you very much, David, for that kind introduction. I appreciate the warm words, and I'm sure that everybody here knows David. But David Mao does serve as the Librarian of Congress, a very distinguished appointment, and I'm proud to know that it's held by a fellow Asian-Pacific American. So thank you again, David, for that introduction. Before we proceed today, as is the culture of our people, whenever there -- and the culture, the Samoan culture, if you were to find one word to describe it, it is built around the crux of respect. And whenever Samoans gather it is always appropriate to say one or two words of respect and recognition to those who are present. So before I proceed, with your permission, I'm going to do that. [Speaking words of respect in foreign language] As you may already know in 1992 Congress passed a resolution officially declaring the entire month of May as Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month. So it is my pleasure and I'm very blessed and honored to be here with you all today to help celebrate and recognize the many contributions and achievements that Asian-Pacific Americans have made to our great nation. Throughout the history of the United States the flow of immigrants into the nation has continuously rejuvenated the country both economically and socially. Thanks to our history books we are all aware of the great influx of immigrants from Europe in the early 1900's, undoubtedly a crucial piece of the nation's rich history and a driver of the industrial revolution. We also learn of the great influx of African-Americans during one of the most shameful periods of our nation's history; however, today the contributions of the African-American culture and people are rightfully abundant, well respected, and highly recognized. When it comes to Asian-Pacific American contributions, probably our society doesn't know as much as they could or should. If you were to ask your average citizen walking down the street to name some contributions to American society from Asian-Pacific Americans, I'm willing to bet that the most common answer would be the construction of the railroads in the 1800's. A great contribution indeed, but we have done so much more. And it is one of my goals as the member of Congress from American Samoa to ensure that those many contributions are neither forgotten more dismissed. The term Asian-Pacific American encompasses a multitude of different cultures, values, and traditions. And while on the outside that may seem to pose an obstacle to real unification, it's actually a very powerful tool that has the ability to reach much further and have more influence than if we were to all try to achieve our separate goals together. Together we are 19.4 million strong, and we're going to keep growing. Now this year's theme, "Walk Together, Embrace Differences, Build Legacies," which I believe is the perfect theme to help solidify the message we bring as Asian-Pacific Americans. Walk together, as I stated early, our group is a vast one comprised of many different cultures. We must put aside any conflicting interest for the greater good of all Asian-Pacific Americans. Embrace differences, well, instead of pointing out what makes us different and biased, let us instead highlight a positive way that makes each of our cultures unique and recognize what that may do for the greater good. Build legacies, those who came before us have really done the hardest work. They were the ones who had to fight racial discrimination and a real lack of resources and an opportunity which, yes, certainly still exists today, but nowhere near the level at which those who preceded us had to deal with. Let us continue to build upon what they started with their blood, sweat, and tears, and if we could all come together as one while bringing our own unique and rich cultures to the table, we can reach levels that not even those who paved the way could ever have imagined. You know, a few years back I was asked to conduct seminars in the Central Asian country of Kazakhstan, part of the former Soviet Union. Its capital, Almaty, is almost as far from Moscow as Pago Pago is from Washington. And so while I was there many of the Kazakh leaders would ask me what my nationality was, and I would always reply, "I'm an American Samoan," which would always in turn elicit the follow-up question of, "How can that be? How can you be so far away from the United States and yet feel so American?" I said, "Well, it's something we understand intuitively, but it's difficult to put into words for other people." How can I be a Pacific Islander and a loyal American? Well, this comfortable duality exist side-by-side within us. And you know President Ronald Reagan once said, "You cannot move to France and become French. You cannot move to Germany and become German. But you can move to the United States and become American." And that is what makes our country so different and so remarkable. Beyond the many private and cultural contributions we've made, Asian- Americans, Asian-Pacific Americans also lead the way in public service. One thing I make sure to remind my colleagues in Congress about whenever the opportunity presents itself is the rate of enlistment into our nation's armed forces by Americans who reside in the Pacific Region. American Samoans this happens to be higher than any other geographical region in the country. So for the military people who are here today thank you so much for your service to our nation. Our young men and women put their lives on the line every day at a rate 10 times those of here in the states. The dedication to this great nation from our many cultures cannot be underestimated. And I'm proud to come from a family with a strong military tradition and a long line of service men and service women who sacrificed much in the name of our country. At a time when the threat of terrorism is so constant, those of us who live in small, remote Pacific Islands can thank God for guiding us to a place that is peaceful and gives us a great sense of security. And I thank God that he made me a member of a wonderful race of people who would leave that peace and tranquility and go forth into the world to protect their fellow man so that we can all enjoy our freedom and way of life. So I want to encourage all of you here today to go out, spread the word on the contributions to the United States that our people have made. Do not do so boastfully but rather humbly and informatively as is our nature. It's not our way to thump our chests like Tarzan or shout from the rooftops. We simply put our noses to the grindstone and work harder than the guy next to us. That is how we will continue to build upon the legacy we have begun. I want to thank the Library of Congress for allowing me to be here today to speak to all of you. And please know that my office is open to each and every one of you should you ever need assistance or simply want to come by and say talofa or hello. God bless the Pacific. God bless the United States of America. Thank you. [Applause] >> TRAVIS PAINTER: Hello, I'm Travis Painter, the Interpreting Services Program Manager here at the Library. I want to thank you so much Congresswoman for coming and supporting this. This year we started an internship program within the Interpreting Services Program, first year. And I get to introduce Micaela Viluu who put all of this together. And she's also the first intern that we have had. So we're very excited to have you here. One of the parts of her internship was to use library resources and materials to come up with one presentation. In Micaela fashion she came back and said I have four that I would like to do. [Chuckles] And being a supportive mentor I said, "Absolutely not." [Chuckles] She did all four. This is the fourth that she has done. And this one meant so much to her because it is her heritage and her culture. When she came with all of these presentations, we had Eric Eldritch in our office, who is the program specialist, and so he really, really helped Micaela with the other ones. So, Micaela, I'll have you up now. And in addition to her coming up and turning it over to her, I do have a certificate that I wanted to present to her for her time here at the Library. She's been here since January volunteering her service working with our deaf and hard of hearing staff. And being an interpreting intern they always say that being a mentor you get to look from your mentee just as much as they do you, and that's really been the case. I have enjoyed her very much. And because of the support of our Chief of Staff Robert Newlen and Acting Librarian David Mao we were able to implement this internship. And I do feel bad for the rest of the interns that come after her. They have quite, quite a bar. So, Micaela, this is for you, just a certificate. [Applause] >> MICAELA VILUU: Thank you. >> TRAVIS PAINTER: Thank you so much. [Applause] Over a little bit more. [Chuckles] Right there. And the podium is yours. I'll take it for you. I'll take it. Thank you. >> MICAELA VILUU: Many people might think that "the podium is yours" would be encouraging, but I'm a little nervous and I'm happy I made it up the stairs. And I know this is a little ill-fashioned, but before I begin I would like to say, "Hi, Dad." And also hello to my "Tina" and "Tima" who could not be here today, unfortunately they couldn't make the travels, but although they are 81 and 85 they sat down this past week and wrote down our entire family heritage and sent it to me. So if you would like to see that, that is yours for the viewing. I guess without further adieu I will formally begin my presentation. So David Mao, Congresswoman, thank you for joining us today, honored guests, community members, and family as well. Today is a very important day for me to be able to speak about the journey that I got to just go through while here at the Library. The Library is actually the nation's first cultural institution, if you were not aware, so I could not think of a more appropriate place to hold an event such like this. Fa'asamoa, the Samoan way are words that I didn't quite understand when I arrived. They are words that as a child were impressed on my heart. Fa'asamoa are the words also imprinted on the sacred tattoos of my family members, on the arm of my father, the iconic art representations found on the skin of my brothers and sisters, deep meaning portrayed on the legs of my cousins, the identifying marks resting on my shoulder blade, still the meaning escaped until coming to the Library of Congress just four months ago. As an Eastern Kentucky University Student in the American Sign Language Training Program, I was elated to be the first Interpreting Services Program intern here at the Library of Congress. I Micaela Viluu was the chosen student to start this pilot off with. They took a chance on me, and I hope that they're proud of that. And so it truly is an honor. Thank you, Travis, for the certificate which was a surprise. Prior to arriving I had an idea of the task that I would be doing when I was here. I was going to be observing qualified interpreters. I would team with qualified interpreters and build relationships with professionals in the community and language mentors. Within the deaf community that community actually has some parallels with the Samoan community within the last 60 years as well. Considering that my internship was going to be focused on sign language, the culture that I was looking to immerse myself in was within the deaf community. I could have never predicted that my time here would also lead to an understanding of myself and finding pieces of myself that I never knew to be missing. During the last four months, I have researched with a goal of understanding an identity and culture that I never truly studied nor understood. And though all of my work, through all of my work I am happy to say that my journey of understanding is just beginning and will be an ongoing and lifetime journey. When you work here at the Library of Congress, you might be taking for granted the immense collections that are housed here. There are more than a 162 million items, more than 38 million cataloged and printed materials, those span over 470 different languages -- more than 70 million manuscripts, and 838 miles of bookshelves. And those are housed both here in the building. They are also in the Jefferson. And there's some in two locations that are not here as well as online. So if you find anything interesting in the collections, you will be able to find those as well. My research took me through lives and laws of Samoa, Western Samoa, and American Samoans. I met with librarians and curators, experts, community members. I saw myself portrayed in the pictures of my ancestors. I saw explanations of the iconic images portrayed on the skins of my family members. I saw more ancestors and architecture. Fa'asamoa, what does it mean? The materials that I found here at the Library and some of you will be able to view at the end of today's program, have given me an insight to Samoan culture, community, and heritage the Samoan way. Upon further research it seemed that many of the materials were written about Samoa were not actually written by Samoans or even come from Samoa itself. In fact most of them were written by outsiders of the Samoan community and culture. My work in deaf studies teaches me a similar lesson in that there can be words of difference between materials about a people in comparison with the voice of authenticity of material written by the people, and so it is with fa'asamoa. In the brief time that I have let me walk you through my research journey beginning with manuscripts and general collections. When first researching through the Library resources I saw many materials from the 1800's or earlier on. Those consisted of German and European languages. These materials seemed to have more of a descriptive nature than a commentary on our culture and heritage. Within the manuscript division there is an unprecedented collection of Margaret Mead material. Her famous research, "Coming to Age in America Samoa," stands as an anthropological case study on Samoans through the eyes and experiences of Dr. Mead and her ethnography of Samoans in the 1920's. However, also in the collections of her work is described by others to be too ambitious an undertaking even if respectfully so. Upon finding this book I was instinctively excited. Margaret Mead is an anthropologist who is widely respected. So of course in my excitement I called my dad and realized that he had a severe lack of excitement which brought me to some curiosity. So with the encouragement of Eric Eldritch I was on the hunt to see why my father would react in such a way. And I found this, "Margaret Mead's Coming to Age in America Samoa, a Dissenting View." In his dissension Goodman addresses the shortcomings and assumptions made in Mead's conclusions and final writings after spending six months with a group of Samoan girls. Reading this article brought me some perspective on my father's reaction to my excitement when finding Mead's original work. Nevertheless as a researcher I encourage you to read both pieces and for yourself develop your own thoughts and opinions. And yet even though he has a dissenting view, some of his words still do not portray or represent the people I love or the culture that I have come to value. A legal scholar defined fa'asamoa as what you see on the screen which would have been acceptable had it not also been followed up with the idea of western enlightenment. Within his writing his emphasizes the importance of western enlightenment on the Samoan culture. And instead of just defining what our ways were, he defined what our ways could be and what they may, should be. So does this maybe present a problem for the American Samoan or just the Samoan culture? Who is speaking on our behalf and how will we share fa'asamoa with the next generation if we are not speaking for ourselves? Through everything that I have learned, through all that I have read, all of the materials that I have been able to bless my hands with, none could truly compare, could not truly convey what fa'asamoa really means. So why might you ask was I not able to find one single material that would tell me where my family is from or one part of me that was missing? Why was I in not one material able to change a self-label into a personal identity? The reason is our culture could not be found in just one book or one map. It isn't found in a picture dating hundreds of years back. My culture was in everything that I touched, that I read, and that I discussed over, everything that I was exposed to. I have always been a very straightforward person. My character not appreciating ambiguity or answers to an abstract equation. I am a person who has a question and seeks the answer. Little did I know that my research for what is fa'asamoa would not give me an answer but instead set me on a journey that I will continue to the end of my days. This journey consisted of challenging what I already knew about my Samoan identity, finding dissensions to research that many had believed to be fact, understanding the exploration, colonization, and in some ways the dissemination of our culture and searching for how later I can work to preserve and cultivate what was left. If you look to the screens, Veteran History Project and StoryCorps are two programs that the Library of Congress has that are actually useful in preserving our culture. StoryCorps is a way that we can tell our own stories in that my Tima can sit down and talk for hours and hours and hours, and that's okay, and people want to listen. Considering we're gathered here at a Library, I would like to end with a quote from the Fiddler on the Roof: How do we keep our balance? That I can tell you in one word, "tradition." Because of our traditions, we have kept our balance for many, many years. Because of our tradition, every one of us knows who he is and what God expects him to do. Without our traditions, our lives would be as shaky as a fiddler on the roof. In conclusion I want to encourage you to use as many resources here at the Library of Congress as I was exposed to, but also remember the words from Tina and Tima, listen closely to the language that you have been given, treasure the pieces of home that you keep in your hearts despite your distance, but most of all, in all that you do, make sure to do it in a way of your heritage, the way of your culture, the Samoan way, fa'asamoa. Thank you. [Applause] >> And thank you, Micaela, for your research in these collections. As part of this program we are highlighting the collections of the Library of Congress. Micaela has worked with a number of areas in the Library, specifically the American Folklife Center, Geography and Map Division, our Law Library, the Prints and Photographs Division, and also the general collections of the Library. What you see and we invite you to, again, peruse following this event, is a sampling of these collections. There is much more. And in fact as resources to help you find more information, we've prepared for this event Samoan culture and history resources for research here at the Library of Congress and also another handout that you'll find at the table, researches on the Samoan community. So please avail you of these, but also as you pursue your research here at the Library, to consult the reference staff, both onsite and online, through "Ask a librarian," so that we may help you make the connection between the rich resources here at the Library and your research needs. Thank you. [Applause] >> YASMIN HUN: We're coming to the end of the program. And I'm Yasmin Hun, the President of the Library of Congress, American Association, which is one of the co- sponsors of this program. We'd really like to thank you Congresswoman Aumua Amata. It was truly an honor to have you here today and to hear about your work, advocacy work for Samoans, Asian-Pacific Islander, Americans and Asians in general. I think we look forward to hearing more about that in the future. Thank you, David Mao for being here today and Micaela for all her hard work. She masterminded this program to end her internship with a great bang, so to speak. I look forward to your graduation and hope to see what you do in the future. I'm sure it's going to be something fantastic. Thank you to the Samoan community for coming here today and to the Library of Congress, Asian- American Association members and everybody else who is here today. On behalf of the Library of Congress, Asian-American Association, we're very happy to have worked with the Office of Equal Employment Opportunity and Diversity, HSS, to prepare this program as it gives us a chance to consider our Asian-American community how we consider ourselves at the present, reflect on our past, and prepare for the future. This is an annual opportunity to demonstrate the diversity of Asian and Asian-Pacific Americans as a whole and in this Library community. This year we are very happy to have highlighted and reflected on the many ways Asian-Pacific island heritage, culture, and achievements have enriched this nation and continue to so. To end, I'd just like to bring our program chair Angel Vu to talk about future events that we're going to have this month which I hope you will all attend. Thank you. [Applause] >> ANGEL VU: Again thank you everyone for your support and for making this event a success. Continuing with our observance of Asian-American, Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month we have a couple more exciting events coming up. The first event co-sponsored by the Library of Congress Asian-American Association and the Science Technology and Business Division is titled, "World Energy Transformation Asian and Beyond." Dr. G.P. Yeh will be speaking. Dr. Yeh is a high energy physicist at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory and the US Atomic Energy Commission. His numerous works and contributions include the discovery of the Top Quark large scale computing using Linux and new Hadron Particle Therapy Centers in Illinois, Taiwan and worldwide. The second event co-sponsored by the American Folklife Center and the Library of Congress Asian-American Association is titled, "Soumya Chakraverty and Devapriya Nayak, Traditional Hindustani Music from Virginia." The concert is part of the homegrown concerts from the Library of Congress series and Chakraverty and Nayak will perform traditional Hindustani music featuring the Sarod and Tabla. We hope to see you there. So in conclusion please join us and view the tabletop display of the Library of Congress of Samoan materials from the Library of Congress collections. And we also have takeaway literature as well. Thank you so much. [Applause]


Status of government respect for religious freedom

Lotopa Assembly of God Church, SAOG in Apia
Lotopa Assembly of God Church, SAOG in Apia
Mulivai Cathedral, Apia (Catholic), Samoa. The earthquake-damaged Cathedral has now been demolished.
Mulivai Cathedral, Apia (Catholic), Samoa. The earthquake-damaged Cathedral has now been demolished.
Historic Methodist Chapel at Piula Theological College on Upolu island
Historic Methodist Chapel at Piula Theological College on Upolu island

The constitution and other laws and policies protect religious freedom. The constitution provides for the right to choose, practice, and change the religion of one's choice. Legal protections cover discrimination or persecution by private as well as government actors.[3]

The constitution provides freedom from unwanted religious education in schools and gives each religious group the right to establish its own schools. Nevertheless, a 2009 education policy, enforced since 2010, makes Christian instruction compulsory in public primary schools and optional in public secondary schools. The government institutes the policy inconsistently in government schools across the country, with little if any public concern or opposition. Church-run pastoral schools in most villages traditionally provide religious instruction after school hours.[3]

The government observes the following religious holidays as national holidays: Good Friday, Easter Monday, White Monday (Children's Day), Feast of the Ascension and Christmas.[3]

The government does not require religious groups to register.[3]

A government-established commission charged with recommending possible constitutional amendments concerning religious freedom completed its collection of public submissions at the end of 2010. By the end of 2012, the government had not publicly released the report or tabled it in parliament.[3]

In June 2017, the Samoan Parliament passed a bill to increase support for Christianity in the country's constitution, including a reference to the Trinity. According to The Diplomat, "What Samoa has done is shift references to Christianity into the body of the constitution, giving the text far more potential to be used in legal processes."[4] The preamble to the constitution already described the country as "an independent State based on Christian principles and Samoan custom and traditions."[3]

Status of Societal Respect for Religious Freedom

As of 2012, there were occasional reports of societal discrimination based on religious affiliation, belief, or practice. In addition prominent societal leaders repeatedly publicly emphasized that the country was Christian. Public discussion of religious issues often included negative references to non-Christian religions.[3]

Traditionally, villages tended to have one primary Christian church. Village chiefs often chose the religious denomination of their extended families. Many larger villages had multiple churches serving different denominations and coexisting peacefully. However, new religious groups sometimes faced resistance when attempting to establish themselves in some villages.[3]

There remained minor tensions between Fa'a Samoa (the Samoan way) and individual religious rights. One of the elements of Fa'a Samoa was the traditional, tightly-knit village community. Often, village elders and the community at large were not receptive toward those who attempted to introduce another denomination or religion into the community. While under-reported, observers stated that, in many villages throughout the country, leaders forbade individuals to belong to churches outside of the village or to exercise their right not to worship. Villagers in violation of such rules faced fines or banishment from the village.[3]

There was a high level of religious observance and strong societal pressure at village and local levels to participate in church services and other activities, and to support church leaders and projects financially. In some denominations, financial contributions often totaled more than 30 percent of family income. This issue has gained media attention as some members of parliament have spoken out about pressure on families to give disproportionate amounts of their incomes to churches.[3]

See also


  1. ^ Final 2016 Census Brief No 1 Version2
  2. ^ "The World Factbook; U.S. Central Intelligence Agency; last updated 27 March 2014."
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "International Religious Freedom Report 2012: Samoa; United States Department of State, Human Rights and Labor" (Retrieved 19 June 2017). This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  4. ^ Wyeth, Grant (16 June 2017). "Samoa Officially Becomes a Christian State". The Diplomat. Retrieved 19 June 2017.
This page was last edited on 25 December 2019, at 11:28
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