Respect Pacific cultures, broadcasters urged

There is a story told frequently throughout the Pacific islands. When Christian missionaries arrived from Europe in the last century, they found local inhabitants wearing little clothing. Shocked by what they saw, the Europeans set about teaching modesty.

So successful were the missionaries that, even today, it is not uncommon to see island men garbed in woolen jackets and neckties despite the tropical heat, or families swimming in the sea while fully clothed. Nowadays, it is devout locals who are scandalized when their beautiful beaches are filled with bikini-clad tourists from overseas.

Cultural sensitivity and recognition of local conditions may not have been big issues for the first missionaries, but they are central themes as today’s evangelists begin to use radio broadcasting to further their reach into remote areas.

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