By Morrison O.G. Sayon
A Liberian Clergyman, Dale Wleh George has said that there is no need for legislative enactment to declare Liberia a Christian nation as being requested by some Christians in the country.
In a prepared statement recently following his return from the Holy Land of Israel, Brother George said it is no secret that Liberia was founded and built on Christian principles and therefore is a Christian nation. Bro. George added that the advent of Christianity in Liberia is inseparable from the arrival of ex-slaves from South Carolina, Georgia and Virginia to Liberia. He said following their emancipation, the American Colonization Society (ACS) assisted in their voluntary relocation to Africa.
He noted that some of them were Churchmen who looked forward to making their newfound home a Christian community. “As Joseph C. Wold records, “In 1820 the Baptist Church, Methodist and Protestant Missionary society were organized on board the Ship Elizabeth,” which brought the first settlers to Liberia. The founders of Liberia were the American colonization Society led by Christians, like Rev. Lot Carey amongst others who, prior to their coming had, as their vision to establish a country based on Christian principles. This was not an act of Legislation but an act of their Faith in Jesus who is the only way to God that the Christians worship and belief in have their faith rooted,” the man of God stated.
“Therefore, we do not need any Legislation because it did not start with such. Liberia shares the same history as the great United States of America. There are many things they both share in common; its founding, its form of Governance and Life style. America was founded by Christians from Great Britain who decided to established a Christian state if they should find a place to start one thus the “In God we Trust,” Bro. George intimated.
He noted that it takes the same faith to bring Liberia back to where she was and not Legislation adding, “This is why Pilgrims Liberia was established. He furthered that Liberia is one nation in Africa that can be said to be a Christian nation, even though the current constitution (revised in 1985) declares Liberia a secular state.
However according to himthose who claimed this and enshrined this in Liberia’s constitution are themselves inwardly convicted that this is not the case. “In Matthew 21:21Jesus told his disciples that “If you have faith you will say to this mountain be thou removed and cast into the sea and not doubt, you shall have what you say. This verse suggests that one can declare and still doubt his own declarations,” Dale George said.
“I say to you today, we must not be carried away by detractors. Liberia is a Christian nation and there are several reasons for this assertion. Unlike other countries in Africa, the nation Liberia was born within the Church, thus making it a Christian nation. The eleven men, who signed its declaration of independence in the Providence Baptist Church in 1847 thus making it a sovereign state, were all men of the Church; because of her Christian heritage, following her independence, the capital city of Liberia was first called Christopolis, meaning “the city of Christ.” That name was later changed to Monrovia in honor of America’s 5th president, James Monroe, whom, it is said liquidated a certain debt, which was owed by the Liberian Government to the United States. And as a way of honoring him, some unspiritual-minded leaders of this nation sold our birthright by changing the name of our capital city from Christopolis to Monrovia, meaning, “village of Monroe.”
He noted that unlike other countries in Africa, Liberia celebrates a national holiday called Fast and Prayer Day adding, “This holiday is intended as a day set aside to mobilize national prayer for the spiritual cleansing and healing of the nation (2 Chronicles 7:14). This national day was birthed out of a political crisis between Liberia and the British colonial parents of Sierra Leone in the mid1800s. In this conflict Liberia, along with its political leadership, was delivered only by the power of prayer. Since that time this national Fast and Prayer Day has been observed.
Bro. George added that the contents of the country’s National Anthem, National Flag, the Pledge of Allegiance, and the first Constitution of Liberia (1847-1985) all point to the fact that our forefathers had assumed Liberia to be a Christian nation.
He among other things pointed out that recently, the formation of the Liberia Council of Churches (LCC) in 1981 as the voice of the Church in Liberia on socio-economic, political and religious issues was a further manifestation of the leading role the Church has played and continues to play in providing leadership for the nation.