10 July 2017

Cameroon: Religious Tolerance - Mutual Respect!


There is no gainsaying on religious tolerance in Cameroon. The cohabitation of people of different religious backgrounds with each going about their activities unperturbed by the other is testament to how Cameroonians freely worship their God. Be they Moslems on Friday, Seven Day Adventist on Saturday or other Christian bodies on Sunday, the sacred days are given utmost respect by the population likewise the laws and authorities of the land. Proof is that celebrations by these religious bodies are always declared Public Holidays. Even beyond worshipping separately in their corners and carrying out other religious activities in view of advancing the gospel within and without the country, religious bodies have occasionally showcased the values of togetherness. Ecumenical services are held on several occasions during which each religious body prays in its own way, but all for a common purpose. Such moments are usually used to exalt the values of peace, tolerance and mutual respect to build a more united Cameroon, in its diversity, peaceful and prosperous. Even though there are increasing revolutions in some denominations where people have left some churches to create others and give them whatever names they want, almost all have respected each other. Hardly would one denomination claim to be more than the other, irrespective of the number and calibre of its worshippers. After all, they are supposedly praying to one God which the Bible says is true, just and faithful. The cohabitation of religions in the country is a veritable lesson of national unity that all Cameroonians need to embrace to stand the tests of time. True worshippers of God do so in humility, simplicity and letting the final word be God's, their maker and guide. Even vengeance in hurtful moments are left to Him. A feeling of superiority sometimes gives undue consideration over others meanwhile that of inferiority brings in defeatism. All these are damaging to unity and collective development whereby all and sundry are supposed to feel as one, though in diversity, and all useful for shared development. The nation respects the church and all the churches should equally do likewise. In fact, genuine respect is when it is mutual. It is a give and take. The church should reflect God, the architect of peace, in advancing the peace and national unity wherein leaders and laws of the land are respected by all and sundry and where all are equal and important. Sitting on the fence when they are supposed to speak out or worse still misusing the tolerance accorded them to be intolerant with one another and jeopardising togetherness and progress should be avoided.


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