A Legislative Prerogative
The Liberian Legislature is currently in possession of a petition present to it by a group of Christians under the banner “the Liberian Restoration to Christian Heritage committee”. The Committee, last month, requested the Legislature to amend Article 91 of the Liberian constitution, which changed Liberia into a secular state in 1980 after the coup d’ etat, for a National Referendum.
In their petition, the group noted that position remain to restore Liberia to a Christian Nation with religious tolerance as our ‘founding Fathers’ left it, emphasizing that their demand was in consonance with the constitution which calls for an amendment to the constitution by two-thirds of the members of both the House of Representatives and Liberian Senate as a result of a petition submitted to that august body by 10,000 eligible voters.
The group visited the fifteen political sub-division of Liberia, collecting more than 700,000 signatures of eligible voters to ably satisfy the constitution, adding that with the petition now before the Legislature and the signature forms representing over 700,000 eligible voters on hand, it urged every Liberian irrespective of conviction or interest to patiently allow the legislature to perform its functions.
Since the submission of the petition,“ a few individuals and organizations, including Information Minister Lewis Brown condemned the Liberian Restoration to Christian Heritage committee”, for their action, while the President of Liberia had a different opinion-which, of course, neither supported nor gave a negative impression about the Christian group.
In as much others may have had different, but constructive opinions about the action by the Christian group to petition the Liberian legislature, Brown and others who emotionally and hastily condemned campaign as an attempt to create instability, Chaos and War in Liberia were distance from fairness/justice to the petitioners.
Other than ‘jumping into conclusion’, they should have allowed the petition to go through the debate and Legislation process. But to out rightly demonize the action of the Christian group was completely out of order. To the Muslim group, which staged a counter-demonstration against the petition, probably out of excitement from the negative comments of Minister Brown and others, there was even no need for such reaction.
To have further questioned the issue of the celebrating Christian holidays in Liberia, including Christmas was not only beyond comprehension, but the least any well-meaning religiously entrenched individual or group would have thought.
Christmas, Good Friday, etc., etc, are holidays observed worldwide and not only in Liberia as those in Islam may believe. This is something the Minister of Information and his likes deliberately ignored to condemned being cognizant of the fact that calls by petitioners were completely out of order. Except for National Fast and Prayer Day which is neither a Christian nor any other religious holiday in Liberia, there is no holiday set aside by Liberia for Christians.
Therefore, it is unfortunate for a group of Muslims to suggest to the Liberian Legislature that since Christmas and others are Christian holidays, Ramadan and other Muslim holidays must be considered. Other than relying on these holidays as justifications to push such cause, the petition of the Muslim group should have opted for an appeal to Capitol Hill to declare Ramadan and Muslim days as national holidays in Liberia.