The political leader of the Movement for Democracy and Reconstruction or MDR, Senator Prince Y. Johnson has vowed to resist anything that has to do with Liberia becoming a Christian State. Some segment of the Christian community in Liberia is leading a campaign to legislate Liberia as a Christian State, a call that has been vehemently resisted by Muslims across the country. Their call was validated as Proposition 25 along with series of propositions put forth by Liberians during a validation conference in 2015 organized by the Constitutional Review Committee in Gbarnga, Bong County.
But Proposition 25 has become very controversial here, even within the Christian community with several senior Church leaders and bishops, including the head of the Liberia Council of Churches or LCC, Episcopal Bishop Jonathan B.B. Hart, denouncing the ideal of making Liberia a religious state. Instead, the LCC prefers that Liberia remains a secular nation where no one religion is giving supremacy (by legislation) over the rest.
However, declaring his intension over the weekend to again vie for the Presidency in 2017, Senator Prince Johnson of Nimba County, who is a Christian and owns a cathedral where he preaches every Sunday, said Liberia should not become Christian State on grounds that all religious groups should have the opportunity worship and serve their beliefs as they see it.
“The government under our watch shall preside over a united Liberia with all religions having the freedom to practice their religious faiths without prohibitions or intolerance. There shall be no Christian State or Islamic State established in this country. We are one people and we have co-existed for the past 200 years plus to now. Let no one or group of people put knife between our unity and peace,” he said when he spoke at his party headquarters in Monrovia.
Senator Johnson had earlier proffered a bill before the Liberian Senate, seeking two national holidays for Muslims here, something that violates the 1986 Constitution of Liberia which calls for secular state.
The bill has received sharp criticisms both from his kinsmen in Nimba County and several church pastors in Monrovia with the latest coming from a prelate of the Bethel World Outreach Ministry, who termed it as ‘harmful’, arguing that legislating such law will violate the Constitution of Liberia.
Pastor David Benitoe told a news conference at the Winner’s Chapel-Liberia edifice in Monrovia that the acceptance of the bill by the senate is worrisome, noting it is, in totality, a gross violation of the organic law of the land.
However, Senator Johnson has further vowed that under his watch as President comes 2018, his government will never and ever accept gay rights, adding “Liberia is not Sodom and Gomorrah! We will not accept that here; I want the West to take note of this and get me clearly.”
Commenting on the fight against corruption, Senator Johnson, who contested for the Presidency in 2011 and came third in the first round, said if given the mandate by the Liberian people, his government shall intensify the fight against corruption, which has grown into a modern Mount Everest, noting that mountain must fall!
“We shall not tolerate any micro inch of corruption. Anyone caught will be drastically dealt with within the framework of the laws of Liberia. We will set a clear deterrent and send a message to all public servants to conduct themselves in the light of day in order to keep their jobs; because I will not hesitate to fire and prosecute you if you steal,” he warned.
The ex-rebel leader commenting on national security described the security of Liberia as being weak, under equipped and underpaid, indicating that security must also include economic and social security thru job creations.
“We must protect [our people] from the hands of ritualistic killers, armed robbers and other blood thirsty vampires. Anyone caught in any of these acts will be brought to justice.” Senator Johnson said the health sector here is at the lowest ebb due to underpayment of health workers and lack of state-of-the-art equipment at almost all of the health facilitates.
He said, it is easier to blame the backwardness of Liberia to the years of civil conflict, but if Liberians subtract the 14 years of civil unrest from 169 years, the country will be left with a staggering 155 years to account for.
Sentor, who led the dreaded rebel group Independent National Patriotic Front of Liberia or INPFL, which committed hideous crimes and abuses, narrated that the war was unfortunate, but he and others fought to survive as a people and a nation under the laws of Liberia and under God.
“Today, I still regret the fact that we had to fight among ourselves. We have learned our lessons well and we must jealously guard the peace and make sure that Liberia studies war no more,” he concluded. Editing by Jonathan Browne
By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor