Did Methodist Bishop Prostrate Before God, or the President?

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Bishop Quire along with senior pastors of the United Methodist prostrate before Weah.

Mixed reactions to viral social media video of the Methodist Bishop Quire and priests lying prostrate opposite the seated President Weah

A video of Bishop of the Liberia Methodist Conference, Samuel J. Quire, offering a “special prayer” for President George Manneh Weah at the Georgia Patten United Methodist Church, by prostrating with the church’s clergy opposite the President, who was seated behind the altar rail, also praying, caused quite a stir on social media on Sunday, October 6, with mixed reactions from Liberians about the true intent of the bishop.

The event was a special thanksgiving and intercessory worship service in observance of the 53 birth anniversary of President Weah, which actually occurred on Tuesday, October 1, 2019.

Top “religious leaders and clergymen” within the Methodist Province have remained silent on the issue. Some clergymen said it is so difficult to speak to the issue due to the individual involved and that this would have a negative impact on the Methodist denomination.

During the “special service,” Bishop Samuel J. Quire, along with senior pastors of the church, prostrated for several minutes, offering prayers for President Weah, while the President sat in a decorated chair facing the clergies. The President, also, was bowed in prayer.

Present at the special service were some government officials, including Liberia’s Foreign Minister Gbehzohngar M. Findley; National Public Health Institute of Liberia (NPHIL) executive director Tolbert Nyeswah and Special Economic Advisor, Emmanuel Shaw, among others.

Some Liberians have expressed annoyance about the situation, describing Bishop Quire and senior “pastors” of the church as “worshipping President Weah”, suggesting that the Weah should have been the one prostrating before the “clergies” for prayers.

“This is unacceptable, senior clergies prostrating before Weah. We hope that religious leaders will come out to openly condemn the action of the Methodist Church,” a commentator Liberians said. According to him, President Weah, who celebrated his birth anniversary and attended the church for a thanksgiving service, needed to prostrate, and not the Bishop, along with other pastors of the church.

Despite the chair being decorated for the president, Bishop Quire is seen cleaning the chair for the president to sit, which many Liberians have described as a sign of seeking favor from the Liberian leader.

Efforts to reach Bishop Quire did not materialize, as a spokesperson for the United Methodist Church in Liberia said he had traveled out of the since the incident. The spokesman also declined to comment on the Bishop’s prayer position, saying that it would be better if the Bishop addressed the issue himself.

Prostrate before God or man?

However, a former Methodist, who is now a minister of the Gospel in a Pentecostal church and who asked not to be named, had this to say: “It depends on what the Spirit of God led the men to do, but there is nothing wrong with a pastor or Bishop prostrating in prayer. As a Christian and a pastor, I don’t have any problem with Bishop Quire and other pastors prostrating in prayer; as long as they were praying to God and not to the President,” the Pentecostal minister said.

However, many of the mixed reactions to Sunday’s incident are products of previous instances in which the President is seen on live social media video footage, in a semblance of worship. Many have debated as to whether or not the context of the President’s religious activities is genuine.

It can be recalled that one of Liberia’s Nobel Peace co-Laureates (2011), Leymah Roberta Gbowee, speaking as this year’s Independence Day Orator, said truth has evaded Liberians to the extent that some of them, including the “clergies,” have become desperate for anything.

“We lie to gain prominence, to gain positions of authority. Let us stop lying. Truth will bring unity. From generation to generation, our leaders have been fooled by religious and traditional leaders,” Madam Gbowee said in her speech.

She said that bishops have become partisans, while “pastors and imams have become praise singers.”

According to her, “traditional leaders repeatedly twist our cultural practices to please a powerful few, giving unmerited traditional titles.”

She added that it is time for us to bring truth back into national history.

Reactions on social media 

“Do not misunderstand anything here dear. Nobody says the President was in any error. We are saying that those pastors should not have bowed down before Weah once they are worshipping God. That is out of order!” said Lawrence Siryon

Another person, identified as ‘Political Commentator’ said: “Sometimes I can wonder whether Weah is using juju on us or it is our own stupidity killing us in Liberia. I have not seen this before in my entire life where a group of religious leaders will prostrate before the biggest sinner in a country for blessings.”

“These people have desecrated the sacredness of their churches. This is absurd. My blood is hot right now,” poster said.

Zangar David says: “Wow! Humans bowing down to President Weah. God have mercy.”

“I bow down to no man besides God,” Morris Grear said.

13 COMMENTS

  1. A Man Should be Left With His Conscience.

    You go and ask the former American vice president Dick Cheney, who kissed the ring and bowed before the late Saudi King Fayad Salman in 1991. Better yet, Barrack Obama who bowed before the Japanese Emeror Akihito during a State visit to Tokyo, in 2010.

    If the Bishop is bowing or prostrating befor Weah, leave him with his conscience. If he dies, he will not be judged with the consent of the Liberian people. Religous Fundamentlism has taken hold of Liberians, no one seems to realize the danger it poses on the feature of the country.

    Let’s look around the world and see where it is practiced–see the effect it has on the people.

    • Your examples are out of place as those persons are monarchs in their country and that is how they have to be greeted by anyone within their country. When they travel to other countries like when the Saudi King travels to the USA he is not greeted the same. It is diplomatic overture on the visitor part and does not apply to the situation being addressed in the article

  2. The scriptures are replete with many instances during which the children of Israel violated his commandments by constructing images of pagan gods, practicing idolatry, and deifying fleshly beings like themselves, and consequently they inescapably suffered from God’s wrath.

    It all began right in the heart of the Doe Community, where instead of Weah allotting funds to better the lives of its poverty-stricken inhabitants, he donated Liberian taxpayers’ money for those slum dwellers to erect a monument in his honor.

    The true significance of this strange symbol is not clear. However, it bears the resemblance of a group of dying, lost souls praying to a pagan god, Weah, for deliverance.

    Other interpretations say that the monument explains the ushering in of a new era in Liberia, when Weah, the new president, will ruled Liberia like a tin pot dictator and in his morbid obsession to achieve false greatness, he will orchestrate scenarios as well as give his acquiescence to his followers, who will often indulge in sacrilegious ceremonies; bow in reverence and in reference to him as the “the biblical Messiah, the Prophet Moses, the Hebrew Joseph, and so forth.”

    Have the ascendancy of Weah to power caused this nation, which once pride itself, as a God fearing nation to lose its spiritual compass? No way to sugar-coat this transgression against God for it is heathenism.

    In the great religious books, the Koran, the Bible, the Torah, and so forth, God cautions nations and people not to have other “gods” before Him.

    Have we thought about why things just cannot go right with us as a nation anymore, and why have we become a nation of pestilences, violence, and every extreme conditions that humans can ever live under?

    It is because of our wicked ways and religious hypocrisy!

  3. Is Liberia still in lots of trouble? Take religion out of politics.

  4. The church has become apostate. God has left the church. What left are liars, thieves, murders, fornicators useless creators.

  5. Well, the head Church in the USA will see that and make some suggestions or adjustments.

  6. To Mr. J Lowell E Witherspoon
    There is no law that defines the way a monarch, king or an emperor should be greeted by citizens of other nations. It is the subject of those they serve ( their citizens and fellow countrymen), greet them by bowing, not citizen of another nation. What Dick Cheney and Barrack Obama did, was out of their own gesture they did it. For example, when the British Queen Elizabeth meets a foreign dignitary, he she does not bow to her. They both shake hands. If the later decides to bow, well, it is of his/her own gesture.

    What ever the Bishop did, was of his own conscience, he will answer to his God, not the Liberian people. Some of us in Liberia are quick to jump on others when it comes to religious ethics. It is very toxic and convoluted, when people try to define individuals religious ethics. I doubt, if any Liberian will serve on the Jury panel, the day God will be judging Mr. J Lowell E Witherspoon. So, then why should we matter if it will never happen.

    Religion is an individual undertaken, let’s get it out of the public sphere. The Republic of Liberia is not a Biblical Seminary, Mosque, Temple or Synagogue. The constitution does not preference any ‘state religion’.

    Thank you Sir,

  7. These Methodist ministers are imposters. They don’t seem to understand scriptures or their calling. They are bowing down to Mr. Weah instead the other way around. He sits in a majestic chair while they bow before him. This man has made them fools. Their prayers went down into the floor instead of up to God. These so-called minister demean their calling. They need to go back to the study of the scriptures. Mr. Weah made himself to appear as king and God; and you have fallen for this apostasy. You look like a bunch of false priests. You need to get on your needs and pray for God’s forgiveness for bowing before this man instead to Him, the Almighty. May God forgive you. May Christ have mercy on you. Where is your God, scribes, Pharisees, hypocrite. Charles Wesley is crying in his grave for you have sold your soul to man. And Mr. Weah you need to prostrate yourself before the Almighty God and seek mercy, humility and repentance. You are not God! You are not king!

  8. Mr. H. C. K. Reeves,
    You seem to have good intentions as it relates to your articulation of your Christian views. It shows in you gentleman! But your blatant condemnation of all Methodist clergyman as “imposters” crosses the line. Have you dealt with all Methodist clergyman? Or are you fed up with “some” God people?

    Two Biblical verses which could set the tone:
    1. Judge not, otherwise you will be judged.

    2. For all have sinned and fall short of God’s glory. All of us! We ought to be thankful because Jesus paid it all.

    We can argue about what a Methodist Bishop did or did not do all year round. But is there a right to castigate all Methodist clergyman because of the action of one particular individual?

    Reeves, there’s no doubt that “some ministers/clergyman go a little too far. Some pastors steal money, some of them fornicate and some of them are so perfidious you cannot trust them with your dog. But, not Methodist clergyman are imposters.

    You know how the issue of religion escalates. Pretty soon, a member of another Christian or Islamic faith may question your particular faith. That will not be too healthy. Yes, if you disagree with the Methodist Bishop who prostated himself like that, it’s your call. But all Methodist Bishops are not imposters.

    Not a sermon. Peace.

    • Mr. Hney, If you had read my comments carefully, you will see that I repeatedly said “these ministers”. At no time did I say the Methodist ministers which would have been inclusive of all Methodist clergy. I challenge you to go back and read my comments again.

      Peace,
      H C Reeves

  9. Comrade H. C. Reeves,

    As per your request for me to re-read your post for clarity, I did. Just take a snapshot look at your first statement. You write:

    “These Methodist Ministers are imposters”.

    Yeah, that’s what you have written brother.
    Now it’s my turn to ask you to understand. I agree with you about the terrible things some members of the clergy do. Some of them fornicate, steal money, engage In homosexual lifestyle and some are pure buffoons! I am not without my own frailties too.

    But not all ministers (whether Methodists or not) are imposters.

    Just a thought, not a sermon.

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