In the midst of advocacies for Liberia to be restructured as a Christian nation or to remain secular, former Liberian Information Minister now a minister of the Gospel, Rev. Emmanuel Bowier, has stressed that Liberia’s history makes it purely a Christian nation and not secular as claimed by people.
Rev. Bowier made the assertions at a Thanksgiving Day program organized by Christians under the Berean Group. He indicated that turning Liberia into a secular state came in 1986 when people he classified as “knowledgeable Ph.D. holders” decided to demonstrate their knowledge by reframing in the Constitution that Liberia is a secular state.
He asserted that failure on the part of Liberians to follow history and maintain culture has led them astray that they are confused and are now seeking means to reconcile after throwing God out of their plan for the country.
Rev. Bowier, who is popularly known for his understanding and narration of Liberian History, recalled that the freed men and women, to whom Liberia’s foundation can be traced, were purposely repatriated to Liberia with the aim of propagating the Christian gospel and civilizing the indigenous of this land.
Predicated upon this objective, he said the settlers upon reaching the island in the Montserrado River quickly named it Providence Island after the Baptist Church that was already founded on the Ship Elizabeth, subsequently followed by the building of the Providence Baptist Church in which the declaration of Liberia’s independence was signed on July 26, 1847.
He added that the Methodist Church also established in 1838 on Ashmun Street followed by the Presbyterian on Johnson Street, establishment he noted is in a triangular shape indicating how those Christians, who founded Liberia kept watch on the road leading from Waterside to Cape Mesurado where the settlers later inhabited.
Reading a portion of the first Liberian Constitution to hundreds of Christians, who converged at the program, Rev. Bowier noted that it laid the foundation for Liberia as a religious state where Liberian children would be trained in the way they should go: a statement, that he stressed, is a direct quotation from the Christian Bible book of Proverb 22:6.
Moreover, the former Information Minister intoned that Liberia’s first President, Joseph Jenkins Roberts stressed in his first inaugural address that Liberia was established as a free Christian state for the blacks to have civil Liberty.
Rev. Bowier, whose presentation raised high euphoria especially in students that attended the Christian program, indicated that Psalms 121 was earlier suggested as Liberian National Anthem and was taught at the time that every student sang it before completing elementary school.
“Liberia’s capital was firstly called Christopolis, meaning City of Christ, but because Liberians always take pieces of advice from others and cannot stand by what they believe and do, one United States General, Goodloe Harper came here and told our leaders to extend gratitude to President James Monroe of that country for his role played in the repatriation of the freed slaves, and Christopolis was changed to Monrovia in recognition of Monroe,” he stated sadly.
He also recalled that Liberia’s first Constitution was written by a Jewish national, Samuel Greenleaf, for which Liberia reciprocated in the 1940s by giving the 33rd vote at the United Nations for Israel to become a sovereign state in 1948.
He said every event leading to the founding of Liberia has Christian connections with God’s interventions felt on all, but Liberians themselves have forgotten God because they have gotten what they wanted.
“We would not have been speaking of reconciliation if we had referenced God in this country, but because every man feels he is somebody, we all forgot God and did what we could to destroy us for years and we are where we are,” Rev. Bowier said.
He further acknowledged that the Centennial Pavilion on Ashmun Street was built as a religious temple to host religious activities including Thanksgiving Day, Fast & Prayer Day, amongst others, but Liberians having deleted God in their plans and have changed the Pavilion to be used for secular activities.
He argued that if Liberia were secular and must remain secular as claimed by many, there is no need for the President to declare Thanksgiving Day or Fast & Prayer as holidays, but rather those days should just be disregarded on our holiday calendar.
He said it is a constitutional breach for these days to be declared as holidays in a secular state.
Rev. Bowier’s historical comment on Liberia’s Christian status complements calls by those of the Christian Heritage Group, calling on the national legislature to revise the 1886 Constitution to declare Liberia a Christian state.
It may be recalled that in March of this year Christians converged on the Capitol Building with petition to make Liberia a Christian nation.
It was counteracted by the Muslims two weeks later, who also protested that before the arrival of Christianity, Islam was in practice, and therefore Liberia should remain a secular state.
Both petitions are before the National Legislature as both parties await response to know, which one will finally stand.
Meanwhile, the program at which Rev. Bowier spoke was organized by the Berean Group in commemoration of Thanksgiving Day.
The Christian group named themselves after Berea, a city in Asian Minor, Macedonia, where Apostle Paul, Timothy, and Silas met with the Christians and they searched the scripture together.
The organization was initiated by the Seventh Day Adventists to bring Christians together to study the Christian Bible from the beginning book of Genesis to Revelation in order to be acquainted with God’s message to His people.
In commemoration of Thanksgiving Day, the group began a street parade from the Nigeria House in Congo Town to the SKD Sports Complex where the indoor program was held.