The Seventh Day Adventist Church (SDA) operating in Liberia has rejected the new date set aside by Ambassadors of the United States, the European Union, the United Nations and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). In a Joint Statement issued in Monrovia on Tuesday, the Ambassadors proposed Saturday, January 4 as the new date for the protest.
They pointed out that the decision was reached to postpone the protest after examining the various recent statements issued by the Government of Liberia and the Council of Patriots on the planned demonstration and following further extensive and encouraging discussions with all stakeholders on the postponement of the demonstration.
The Ambassadors’ statement also ruled out the holding of the protest at the Samuel Kanyan Doe (SKD) Sports Complex in Paynesville, instead of Capitol Hill, which hosts all three branches of the Liberian government.
The latest statement issued by the Ambassadors come in the wake of recent proposal made by the COP, through its leader Henry Costa, for the ‘peaceful assembly’ to take place on Monday, January 6, instead of the Sunday, January 5 proposed by the United States, European Union, the United Nations, and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
An executive of the COP, Senator Darius Dillon of Montserrado County told a news conference in Monrovia on Monday, that the group is taking religious tolerance into consideration by not protesting on days set aside for both Christians and Muslims to worship. The new date of January 4 proposed by the U.S, E.U, and ECOWAS’ Ambassadors did not take into consideration the worship of Adventists, who believed that God made the universe within a six-day period, and rested on the Sabbath Day. Adventists believed that the Sabbath Day much be kept holy at all times.
In a press statement issued on January 1 under the signature of the Gemane G. Getteh, Director of Communications, Public Relations and Religious Liberty, the SDA Church in Liberia pointed out that it has about 30,000 members in the country and as such, it members should be given the opportunity to worship on the first Saturday of the year without any hindrance.
The church maintained that though it welcomes the COP’s religious liberty of other Liberians, including Muslims and Christians, members of the SDA should also be allowed to freely exercise their most cherished freedom to worship on the Sabbath.
The SDA Church requested the change of January 4, as the date for the postponed protest, since in fact, the protest has been previously postponed by the organizers because of religious reasons.
“The Council of Patriots rejected Sunday, January 5, 2020 and proposed January 6, 2020 as the new date for the postponed protest on religious ground. They also indicated that, for similar reason, they will never again protest on Friday,” the statement maintained.