The Catholic Bishops Conference of Liberia (CBCL) has said the new face of Liberia must reflect the fundamental value of religious tolerance, cultural diversity and peaceful coexistence.
This was contained in a statement against the backdrop of a proposition calling for Liberia to be declared a Christian nation as one of 25 recommendations gathered by the Constitution Review Commission (CRC) during a nationwide consultation on issues needing amendment in the current Constitution. In the statement released over the weekend, the CBCL noted that declaring Liberia a Christian nation or any possible Constitutional referendum not only challenges the value which the founding fathers of this nation sought to protect for the sustenance of peace and the exercise of religion, but also undermines Liberia’s Constitution. “It also threatens to shatter our religious diversity and rock the foundation of the most cherished constitutional freedom,” the statement noted, adding “This diversity, which is characteristic of our national life, significantly resonates with the uniqueness of our historical identity, making us one nation, one people under God,” the statement said. The CBCL added that all its members and believers in other faiths should affirm, respect and honor one another, and promised to join with others of goodwill in working together to sustain unity and peace based on respect for diversity and the promotion of common good. The CBCL insisted that “Proposition #24 (calling for Liberia to be declared a Christian nation)” is incongruent with Catholic social teaching and abhorrent to its faith in relation to others, adding, “We embrace the diversity of religion that is characteristic of our country in the 21st Century.” According to the statement, the Bishops resolved to further collaborate with all those united with them by faith and strengthen the on-going dialogue with other religions in the common pursuit of all that is good and noble for human promotion. The bishops encouraged believers within diverse religious groups to respect freedom of conscience with regard to the adherence of other religions as well as those who claim no religious identification, the statement indicated. It continued: “We believe that the irreversible path towards a better society depends on our commitment to strengthening our institutional capacity and drawing upon our shared goals.”