Two executives of ex-President Charles Taylor’s former ruling National Patriotic Party or NPP, are in serious disagreement over whether or not, Liberia should become a Christian State, as validated last week by Christian delegates in Gbarnga, Bong County amidst strong opposition from the Muslim Community here .
Maryland County Senator H. Dan Morias and chairman emeritus Chief Cyril Allen, both of the NPP, are at each others’ throat about the religious status of Liberia.
According to the 1986 Constitution, Liberia is a Secular State, meaning the country does not subscribe to any specific religion.
Speaking to this paper on Sunday morning, Chief Allen, who led the NPP to the Presidency in 1997, said there’s no need to change the country’s status at this crucial time when Liberia is already fragile.
He said Liberia has been a Secular State since 1986, when the current Constitution came into being so there was no need to raise this as a national issue.
He argues why change it now, when issues of religious struggle have engulfed the entire world today.
According to him, the idea of wantonly wanting to change the religious status of the country could leave the people in a mess that many won’t expect.
Cyril Allen, who professed to be a Christian, indicated that Liberia being a Christian State will not change anything; adding that God Almighty does not need geophysical setting to work wonders or to make the land a bless place.
But Sen. Morias has strongly differed with his NPP brother, saying that Liberians through democracy demanded the change of the country religious status.
“This thing is being forced down the throat of people; the people said they want Christian State, so for me leader and servant of the people, I stand with them through the democratic channel. I will campaign for it and make sure that Liberia becomes a Christian State,” the Maryland County Senator said.
According to him, making Liberia a Christian State is establishing the religious status of the country and not denying other beliefs or faiths to practice.
Senator Morias, an ex-Ambassador-At-Large, noted that during one of his many travels to the Islamic world, things he should do as a Christian were denied because of the faith of those countries.
“Liberia becoming a Christian State, this is something I’ll put my all into because during my travels in many of the Islamic Countries, we were told to abide by their rules; we did so well. Nobody stopping other faith from practicing, but we should define spiritually. The issue of secular means no control spiritually, which we should stop and now is the time for the change,” he stressed.
At a Constitutional Review Conference last week in Gbarnga, Bong County delegates validated about 19 propositions that should be amended in the 1986 Constitution of Liberia, including tenure of the Presidency, Senate, and House of Representatives, respectively, as well as declaring Liberia a Christian State and electing chiefs, among others.
The proposed amendment, calling for Christianity to become a state religion was backed by majority of participants at the conference, much to opposition from the Muslim community.
The Gbarnga conference brought together over 700 delegates from the country’s 15 political sub-divisions. It was graced by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, government officials, the UN Mission in Liberia and international partners.
The meeting came as part of a plan initiated by President Sirleaf, who appointed a Constitution Review Commission (CRC) to review the country’s 1986 constitution through nationwide participation, soliciting citizens’ views on the articles and clauses they think should be changed.Religion was the 24th item on the 25-point agenda for discussion.
According to the 2008 national census, Christians make up around 85 percent of Liberia’s population of some 4 million, while Muslims comprise 12 percent.
By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor