Distinguished fellow Liberia, permit me this time to add my voice to the many voices on the issue of Liberia been a Christian state or secular state.
Firstly let me give the definition of a secular state and a Christian state.
According to the Merriam Webster dictionary it defined secular state as a state with a concept of secularism, whereby a state is purports to be officially in neutral in matters of religion, supporting neither religion nor irreligion while a Christian state is a country that recognizes a form of Christianity as its official religion.
The revised constitution of 1985 makes it clear by declaring Liberia a secular state. The constitution of Liberia according to the fourteen Article make it clear that all persons shall be entitled to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion.
So it is the right for all citizens of Liberia to have their freedom of worship and not for certain religion denomination to just wake up one morning from their beds and be claiming that Liberia should be a Christian state just because they think they have the highest population.
According to Patrick Johnston and Jason Mandrigk research statistic on Liberia in its 21st century edition of operation world, they said 38.8% of Liberians are Christian with an annual growth rate of 8.6%, while Muslims are 13% with annual growth rate of 11.3% which indicates that Muslims are the fastest growing denomination in Liberia and they also suggested that by 2045 Muslims will dominate the Liberian population.
Any country that have the objectives to progress in term of development will not bring about religious matters in their society, but Liberia having been a country noted for having a bunch of narrow minded beings who are always debating on baseless topics and especially our so-called churches leaders and politicians who are propounding on Liberia should be declare a Christian state in the upcoming referendum, and again our leaders are not thinking twice that they are about to make decision that will affect their children, grandchildren and also their generation.
The declaring of Liberia as a Christian state will do Liberians no good. And moreover, this declaration will create separation between the two religious communities and it will also create setback in term of socialization and intermarriages between the two religious communities.
If Liberian want to move forward there should be peace, togetherness, equality, and unity between the two groups because divided we fall but unity we stand tall, and it will be no good if one religion community to be thinking they are superior or lordly over another.
The Christian community leaders that are seeking their superiority over the Muslims community are doing their Christians no good because they had come up with plans to uplift our country but they failed.
They come up with their thousands crusades and revivals but Liberians still remain sinful and homosexually is spreading daily in our country, and the Christian leaders who having to be the brain behind the gearing separation between the two groups, and the Christian leaders are gearing up in a high spirit to declare Liberia as a Christian state just because they say interfaith togetherness is not found in their doctrines.
The narrow minded Liberians shall give up their so-called ideas that Christianity should be the head of all religions in Liberia. We the Christians shall think wisely and get in mind that our biblical scriptures make it clear that our king Jesus Christ told us to love our neighbors like we love our self but not for them to be inferior to us.
There are several reasons why Liberia shall not be a Christian state and they are :
1. There will be political and religious instability between the groups,
2. Intermarriages between the two groups will ceased to exist and lastly it will create setback among the youths of the two groups, because a Muslim girl will not socialize herself with someone who is superior to her, someone who think his religion is better than her religion. It will be good if Liberia remain as a secular state so separation or discrimination will not come among Liberians.
There are several countries that have Muslims as the highest population and fastest growing religion but they remain a secular state because they believed in Dr Martin Luther King and Mahatma Gandhi doctrines of togetherness, peace, and love of fellow man.
Some of these countries are Sierra Leone, Syria, Mali, Nigeria, Chad, Turkey, Benin, Central Africa Republic (CAR), Guinea, and Senegal. Our fellow African country Senegal, a dominant state still remains a secular state because they believed in togetherness and they respect each other religion. Senegal has more than 92% population of Muslims and the rest are Christians.
They are one of the few countries in Africa where there is stability and democracy since their independence in 1960, and Leopold Sedar Senghor, their first President was a Christian.
During Christmas, Easter, or even their All Saints day, Muslims in Senegal clean Christian’s cemeteries, in fact in many families you will find the two religions and during Eid al-Adha many Christian’s families buy sheep like Muslims does and cook for the Muslims in their neighborhood and this indicate that the Senegalese have the spirit of Julius Neyerere of Tanzania.
Liberia doesn’t need to be Baptize into a Christian state before they progress but they need to hold on together and come up with a good plans that will lift Liberians up from their chamber of extreme poverty and high level of corruption and to a higher height of prosperity, political stability, togetherness and a corruption free country, but all that can come about if the country is free from religious crisis.
I’m urging all peace loving Liberian who want to see Liberia twenty years from now in a good state to exhibit the spirit of togetherness, respect for one religion, unity and for them to say no to Liberia been a Christian state so we can never experience any religious crusades of the past.
Additionally, I want all Liberian especially the Christians to stop thinking that their religion is more advance and superior over the Muslims religion and I’m kindly asking them to vote against Liberia being a Christian state when the referendum comes so religious crisis cannot come into our society like the Central Africa Republic (CAR) or Nigeria.
And another situation surrounding Liberia has to do with the issue of a Muslim or Islamic holiday in Liberia. Liberia is a secular state of majority Christians, and a minority Muslims who are growing in numbers gradually.
The two religious sects are made of Liberians who have the same religious rights as citizens of Liberia, but it is seems that the Muslims of Liberia religious rights is only existing in document rather than action because if it was in action than there was going to be one or two important Islamic religious events be celebrated as a national holiday in Liberia among the many holidays.
Liberia has the total of ten holidays in which three of them are allotted to the Christians denomination, but not a single one has being set aside to be observe for the Muslims and knowing that Islam is another religion in Liberia. By Muslims going to their various Mosques every Friday does not mean they have the same privileges like Christians when it came to religious matter in Liberia.
The Muslims of Liberia have the same equal right like the Christians, so I think they should have the same opportunities the Christians who are always observing their numerous holidays in this country. In all fairness justice has not being render to the Muslims communities.
They are peaceful citizens of Liberia that are contributing immensely to the growths and developments of Liberia, so I am pushing that they shall have their own holidays in Liberia for all Liberians to observe.
When Christmas or any Christian holiday is approaching it is mandatory that all schools including Muslims schools to be close and even all the Muslims sit at their various homes to observe that day.
When it is Sunday all Muslims can close their shops and business centers to observe the Christians day of worship. The Muslims community has been observing Christians holidays in Liberia since 1847 with no hesitation because they are peaceful.
Months ago when some Muslim leaders put forth that the government should create avenue in which one of their religious event can be observe as a national holiday in Liberia; some narrow minded Liberians were saying no!!
Liberia is a Christian state and we cannot allow any Muslim holiday in Liberia. Liberians need to realize that their Christian supremacy that is gearing up in their minds is a terrible and serious thing.
The Muslims of Liberia are equal citizens likewise the Christians, and their religious events (Ramada Day and Abraham Day) have to be observed by all Liberians as a national holiday just the way Thank Giving Day and Fast and Pray Day can be observed. Liberians need to respect each other religion just like our neighboring sister country (Sierra Leone) does.
Sierra Leone is a dominated Muslims country with fewer Christians that made up 25% of the country population, but when it is Christmas or any Christian’s holiday in Sierra Leone all citizens of that country can stay at their various homes to observe that holiday and even non-Muslims schools can close when a Christian holiday reaches.
When it is Ramada Day which is celebrated as a national holiday in Sierra Leone fellow Sierra Leonians who are Christian can geared up and fellowship with their Sierra Leonian comrades likewise the Muslims can do to their Christian brothers and sisters when it is Easter or Good Friday in Sierra Leone. The Sierra Leonians respect one another religion and they have been living like that for many years in a peaceful way.
Conclusively, Liberians need to put on their garments of oneness and respect one another religion so our peaceful land can remain stable religiously. It is my expectation that one of the two religious events of the Muslims will be celebrated in Liberia as a national holiday.
I hope this concise piece will serve as a wakeup calls to the loquacious Liberians that are saying Liberia is a Christian state and the Muslims do not deserve a holiday in Liberia. Liberia is for all Liberians because I don’t care what we do or whatever we say we are all Liberians and will always be Liberian from the peaceful tiny land found along the coastal belt of Africa.
Jeremy Karn, Contributing Writer