South African Ambassador to Liberia, Vanapalan Punjanathan Moodley, has welcomed the Liberia Council of Churches’ decision, distancing itself from calls by some Christians to legislate Liberia a “Christian nation.”
At a press conference on May 4, Ambassador Moodley said his country is a secular state where everyone is free to worship in whatever way they like.
He said secularism allows everyone to feel a part of the country without feeling excluded, because it promotes peaceful coexistence that no one will feel superior over the other.
In response to a question whether he is not interfering in Liberian politics, Ambassador Moodley said “We are not interfering into Liberian politics, because we have to comment on an issue that has the propensity to stir confusion.”
He emphasized that making a country a religious state does not matter, but how the religion is preached and the impact it makes on humanity matters.
In a related development, Ambassador Moodley’s said young people have to drive the kind of positive change they want to see in their society, and young Liberians should constructively advocate in the absence of violent protest.
He said South Africa’s liberation movement was started by and greatly enhanced by young people with other African countries consolidating the effort.
Concerning development, he said “Everyone wants to see things happen in their favor at once, but development takes time to come and cannot be done by a single person.”
He said while South Africa has made progress in infrastructural development and bringing water, electricity and housing facilities to its citizens, it is yet to economically liberate its citizens in totality.
On press freedom, the Ambassador noted that although freedom of the press and expression is a vital right that people should exercise, the media needs to be balanced in its reportage; considering all sides of issues and report fairly and clearly.
“The government is criticized in many publications; yes, criticizing is not bad, but let the media also look at the good things the government is doing and equally report it, rather than just criticizing as though nothing good is happening,” Ambassador Moodley said.
The Liberia Council of Churches announced recently in a statement signed its president Bishop Jonathan B.B. Hart rejecting the call by some Liberians to make Liberia a ‘Christian State’ by law, which is known as Proposition #24.