United Methodist leaders oppose legislation to make Liberia Christian nation

Translate Page

United Methodist Bishop John G. Innis opposes a proposal approved by a recent constitutional review committee to make Liberia a Christian country.

“Liberians, especially Christians, do not need any legislation to practice or expand their faith in Liberia,” Innis said in an interview after delivering his annual Easter sermon at First United Methodist Church. Other United Methodist leaders agreed, calling for tolerance and evangelism to promote Christianity.

The decision was one of several approved during the four-day constitutional review conference held in Gbarnga. The committee has been charged with reviewing the country’s 1986 constitution. The proposal has sparked debate in the country among Christians, Muslims, and civil society organizations.

The conference recommendations will be presented to Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, a member of First United Methodist Church Monrovia, who would then send them to the national legislature for approval. If approved, the recommendations would to Liberia’s elections commission for a national referendum.

Innis: 'Christ did not force people to follow him'

Innis noted that Liberia was built on Christian principles.

“We don’t need constitutional provisions to practice our faith and expand our denomination in this country,” he said.

“Our Lord Jesus Christ did not force people to follow him, so Christians should not advocate for legislation that will create conflict for our nation.”

Baptist, Catholic and Muslim leaders have also expressed opposition to the proposal according to news reports.

The Rev. Julius Williams, a United Methodist elder, said Christians can “intensify their evangelistic strategies” to increase the number of Christians in Liberia.

“The more we evangelize, the more Christian nation we will become, we don’t need any constitution to help us fulfill our Christian mandate,” Williams added.

Togba-Nah Tipoteh, a United Methodist who was also a presidential candidate in the last three elections, said religious tolerance is a “peaceful pillar” on which Liberia has thrived.

“Any law that interferes with that tolerance is simply a recipe for trouble,” he said.

*Swen is editor and publisher of West African Writers, an online publication about United Methodist happenings in West Africa and assists the denomination in Liberia with coverage for United Methodist Communications.

News media contact: Vicki Brown, [email protected] or 615-742-5469.


Like what you're reading? Support the ministry of UM News! Your support ensures the latest denominational news, dynamic stories and informative articles will continue to connect our global community. Make a tax-deductible donation at ResourceUMC.org/GiveUMCom.

Sign up for our newsletter!

UMNEWS-SUBSCRIPTION
Bishops
Children from the Congo lead the recession of bishops from the Memorial du Centenaire Cathedral in Lubumbashi, Congo, following the opening worship service for the Africa Colleges of Bishops retreat that took place Sept. 2-7. Over 3,000 people attended the service where Council of Bishops president Thomas J Bickerton preached about the power of love in troubling times. Photo by Eveline Chikwanah, UM News.

African bishops tackle regionalization

Conversations at a recent gathering of episcopal leaders in Africa focused on regionalization, possible new episcopal areas and the definition of Christian marriage.
Theology and Education
Members of the Mutare District’s women’s organization celebrate the group’s unwavering commitment to education during their district conference at Hilltop United Methodist Church in Mutare, Zimbabwe. Representatives from urban and rural circuits highlighted their accomplishments in establishing scholarship programs and providing educational opportunities to underprivileged children. Photo by Priscilla Muzerengwa, UM News.

Empowering marginalized children through education

Zimbabwe women’s group aims to transform lives, communities through scholarship program.
Young People
West Angola Conference youth pose for a photo during a weeklong Juventude Metodista camp in Lubango, Angola. The gathering, the largest in the group’s history, featured morning devotions, team-building exercises and a gospel concert. Photo courtesy of Juventude Metodista.

West Angola camp helps youth shine

Hundreds of young people gather for a week of fun and activities designed for their spiritual growth.

United Methodist Communications is an agency of The United Methodist Church

©2023 United Methodist Communications. All Rights Reserved