The constitution provides for the right to choose, practice, and change one’s religion. In June parliament amended the constitution to define the country as a Christian nation. Previously Christianity was mentioned only once in the preamble of the constitution. Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi stated the amendment does not affect the freedom of religion guaranteed by the constitution. The media reported the amendment received largely positive reviews from the populace but negative reactions from the Muslim League of Samoa and an association of academics at the National University of Samoa.
There were continued reports that village leaders resisted attempts by new religious groups to establish themselves in village communities, forbade individuals to belong to churches outside their village, and did not permit individuals to abstain from participating in worship services. There was reportedly strong societal pressure at the village and local levels to participate in church services and other activities, and in some cases to give large proportions of household income to support church leaders and projects. Letters to the editor in the Samoa Observer objected to groups collecting large amounts of money for churches.
The U.S. embassy discussed religious freedom with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and maintained contact with various religious groups.