The Providence Baptist Church in Monrovia has issued a statement here, defending its Resident Pastor, Rev. Dr. Samuel B. Reeves’ selection as vice standard bearer to Presidential hopeful, Dr. Joseph Mills Jones of the Movement for Economic Empowerment or MOVEE party ahead of the October elections.
The Chairman of the Board of Trustee of Providence, Mr. Thomas Major says, the Church respects the decision of its head pastor, which he terms as personal. Addressing a news conference on Wednesday, 28 June at the Church’s edifice on Broad Street in Monrovia, Mr. Major continues that the Church believes Rev. Dr. Samuel Reeves, Jr. is a citizen of Liberia, and has right under the Constitution of Liberia to freedom of expression and association hence, to affiliate with any political party of his choice, noting that notwithstanding, the Church understands the principles of separation of church and state, and believes neither one should control the affairs of the other.
MOVEE Standard Bearer Dr. Mills Jones named Rev. Dr. Reeves as his running mate on Tuesday, 27 June at his (Jones’) party headquarters in Monrovia amid political fanfare.
According to Providence officials, the Church will remain a critical voice in preaching the gospel, and advocating for the rights of ordinary people in the country.
“Providence is the cornerstone of our nation Liberia, and is the physical place where the Declaration of Independence was signed”, says Mr. Major, pointing out that over the years, Providence has been a strong voice in the advocacy of peace, social justice, and equality whilst preaching the word of God as it attempts to reconcile man back to God.”
“For our pastor and other religious leaders to offer prayers at government functions, what we understand is that the Church is made of individuals of varied political affiliations whose sole common thread is the service of one God, and that the Church cannot become a partisan in the political process of our country.”
He indicates that the Church holds the view that future generation will judge people severely, “If we discard the Biblical principles embrace by us, our strong advocacy for peace, equal rights and justice for all, and our unique place in the history of this country. Therefore, we want to categorically state our position here that the Rev. Dr. Reeves, Jr., as a man created in the image of God, and as a citizen of Liberia, has the right to make personal decision, and is entitled to freedom of speech.”
Major concludes that Providence Baptist Church is aware that its membership is a conglomeration of political ideologies, and that with its pastor serving as vice standard bearer of a political party, will indeed create an environment of divergent views for members, who hold different political ideologies, but at the same time maintains, “We pray that we remain committed to our respective individual’s political affiliation.”
By Lewis S. Teh-Editing by Jonathan Browne