A Pastoral Letter from the Resident Bishop of the United Methodist Church, Rev. Dr. John G. Innis

My Fellow Liberians and Friends of Liberia:
As we prepare for the 2011 Presidential and General Elections throughout this campaign season, I wish to appeal to all the candidates and their respective political parties as well as to every Liberian who loves this nation to conduct themselves in the spirit of love, unity, and respect in order that the results of the elections will be celebrated with joyful thanksgiving to God in our hearts, minds and bodies.
Liberia is Africa’s oldest independent republic and although we have had fourteen years of a brutal civil war, we have been given another opportunity to prove that we are a mature nation that can show the rest of Africa and the world what true democracy is. We did that once in 2007 without resorting to violence and I am convinced we can conduct democratic elections that will be free and fair once again.
I call on all candidates and their respective political parties to conduct their campaigns with civility and respect for the rule of law. It is important to remember that because people belong to different political parties it does not make them our enemies. When somebody is a member of the opposition, that person should not be seen as our opponent. In your political campaigns, I urge you to focus on the issues and not on individuals, address the problems not personalities. We can disagree and still remain agreeable, we can have different ideas about how to bring development to Liberia but one thing we all share is that we love our country, Liberia and would like to see us move forward.
This appeal is also extended to our young people who constitute a major portion of our population in Liberia. You are Liberia’s future and it is important you begin the process of practicing true democracy by the way you conduct yourselves. Politicians and candidates will reach out to persuade you and there will be discussions with others who may support candidates different from your own. Listen to the leaders and what their ideas are to bring progress to Liberia. Think about what the needs of our country are and ask questions that will clarify the candidates’ positions. We must hold all our leaders responsible and accountable as we strive to build a strong Liberia based on principles of human worth and dignity.
I implore the entire Liberian population to remain faithful to the ideals of democracy. We must remain faithful and appreciative citizens always ready to develop new approaches for the ongoing religious, social, political, and economic development of our country. During these years, under the dynamic and caring leadership of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Liberia was able to regain her place with respect among the nations of the world.
I commend the opposition parties for their years of contributions to the democratic process by boldly speaking against some of the pitfalls of the government. Furthermore, I commend the Government of Liberia for accepting the criticisms of the opposition parties as well as from others with national concerns. As we campaign for the election of leadership of our beloved country, we must remain prayerful for harmony and stability while giving thanks to God for all the good things God has done for us, especially in the areas of peace and security.
I commend the United Nations peace-keeping forces for their contributions toward peace. I look forward to them continuing this exercise through the campaign and election season.
May God continue to bless this nation. May we continue to take advantage of the blessings of God to move forward toward peaceful and fair elections in October free from violence. May Liberia always remain under God and seek liberty and justice for all. I therefore call upon the people called United Methodists and the Christian community to hold before God this election campaign. May God bless us all and save the state.

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