The President of the Liberia Council of Churches, Bishop Kortu Brown, has been quite critical and vocal against what he believes are societal ills, and perhaps bad governance. Though Liberia has had pastoral critiques of governments in the past, Bishop Brown’s utterances against the George Weah Government have landed on unfertile soils for two reasons. Firstly, according to some pundits, the LCC leader was a noted friend and ‘praise-singer’ of the immediate past administration and that his critiques were then balanced, unlike what they are currently. Secondly, others think much of what the “Man of God” says about this current administration is void of empirical evidence and that some of his concerns, like on the recent ritualistic alarms he helped to harp, were found to be mere sinister and politically-driven. But he continues to stand his grounds and often does so with the hurried support of the organization he heads, the LCC. Now, one person many who detects this, who thinks Bishop Brown is using the LCC as a canon folder to shield and validate him, is Solicitor General of Liberia, Cllr. Syrenius Cephus. The Liberian SG is back again after he had issued an earlier statement exposing what he considers the farce and decadence in Bishop Brown’s outrages against the Weah-led administration. This time, he warns that Bishop Brown must keep clean away from the LCC and stand the wrath of people, including him, who think the LCC head is out of his place as a religious persona. The Analyst reports.
While the Government of President George Manneh Weah is vigorously battling domestic and external political forces, who are posturing for mere political reasons, critics have also come from the religious community. Amongst them is the President of the Liberia Council of Churches, arguably the biggest conglomerate of religious groupings, Rev. Kortu Z. Brown.
Bishop Brown is on record for making statements which those in the corridors of power deemed to be inciting, unfair and unjust. On the top of the loudest statements he has released so far against the administration are the government handling of the COVID-19 stimulus package and the recent release on gruesome photos and testimonials on the social media about ritualistic killings in the country.
There are many public and private individuals and organizations that have found Bishop Brown’s outburst against the government of President Weah uncalled for and lacking merits. One of such persons if Solicitor General Syrenius Cephus, who recently tendered a strongly worded commentary in which the faulted the LCC boss.
Finding Shield in LCC
It appeared the Cephus riposte against utterances of Bishop Brown pricked the organization to the heart that Liberia Council of Churches released or was instructed by its President to release, a counter rebuttal in the name of their leader.
In an October 20 press statement, the LCC stated that its attention was drawn to attacks on the personal character of the President of the Liberia Council of Churches by the Cllr. Syrenius Cephus, Solicitor General of the Republic of Liberia maligning Bishop Kortu K. Brown, President of Liberia Council of Churches as one “having hatred against the George Weah government, using his religious connection to conceal his mendacious posture as a faceless politician and using his campaign to get even with anyone who has seen through his hypocrisies and viciousness”.
The statement, the LCC said, which came from a high profile government official was worrisome and counted as an affront to morality and disrespect to episcopal leadership.
The Council also noted with dismay continuous follow up of additional statements made by other government officials such as the Minister of Information, Assistant Minister for Information Services and the Inspector General of Police and others used against the President of the Council.
“These statements from other government officials in the public space portray an unfriendly atmosphere between the Church and the State which is far from the truth. The Council has been and is a champion of good relationship and upholds to its mission that foster partnership at national and international levels,” the LCC release stressed.
It added: “The Church will remain the prophetic voice of the voiceless and will not be intimidated by anyone to demean the hard earned respect required for religious leaders. Our culture and religious values teach us to be obedient and respectful to every authority.”
The LCC said the Church has not and is not opposed to any political leadership of the country and therefore calls on the government to see the Church as a true partner and a great collaborator in progress. You are our members and we hold to supporting you in all lawful actions to uplift good governance and the progress of our country.
Cllr Cephus Makes a Comeback
Cllr Cephus is not taking the assertions from the LCC lying down, stating that while he adore the role of the LCC and Bishop Brown, who might seem a “neutral, and absolutely void of recrimination,” he is “absolutely unable and unwilling to delude myself of your outfoxing utterances, sometimes in the form of innuendoes, sheer gossips or emotional verbal attacks against unsuspecting Liberian citizens in the public space for unexplained reasons.”
The Liberian Solicitor General said his which was quoted by the October 21, 2021 Edition of the Analyst Newspaper captioned, “LCC Bemoans Cllr Cephus’ Attacks against Bishop Brown” which is alluded to you and in which the Council is said to have taken exception to what it called: “attacks on the personal character of the President of the Liberia Council of Churches”” was not an attacked on the LCC as an organization.
Cllr. Cephus said: “In that article, I, as Solicitor-General and Chief Prosecutor of the Republic of Liberia, was singled out for allegedly maligning Bishop Brown as one ‘having hatred against the George Weah government, using his religious connection to conceal his mendacious posture as a faceless politician, and using his campaign to get even with anyone who has seen through his hypocrisies and viciousness.’”
According to him, he is told that the LCC’s position statement was read by its first Vice President Bishop D. Jensen Seyenkulo, at what the Analyst Newspaper termed “a well-attended press conference held yesterday, Wednesday, October 20, 2021,” describing the “statement coming from a high profile government official as ‘worrisome’ and counted as an affront to morality and disrespect to episcopal leadership.”
The Solicitor General noted that It is quite interesting, and he is not surprised that his comments against Bishop Brown of the LCC have been taken out of context and are construed to be an attack on the LCC.
“First, I respect the LCC and its solemn role in our society, but I disagree with what seems to be a rather shameful and limited understanding on the part of the LCC first Vice President of my use of the word ‘of’ to describe Bishop Kortu Brown as a man with a limited vision and courage–a man who falsely uses the pulpit and the edifice of the LCC to malign the characters of those who do not share his parochial views.”
He said the word “of”, he clarified, as used by me to refer to and identify Bishop Brown, is a preposition, and only expresses his relationship with the LCC either in part or in a whole, and from the actual wording and text, intent and purpose, the letter did not attack the LCC as a religious body.
Cephus wrote further: “As a form of resisting my position, and let this be a form of workshop to all and sundry, I am constrained to quote the portion of the letter ad verbatim as follows: “… and as in the case of Bishop Kortu Brown, having personal hatred for this government and using his religious connection to conceal his mendacious posturing, as a faceless politician, is also using the campaign to get even with anyone who has seen through his hypocrisies and viciousness.” The letter only refers to his title: “bishop” and not the LCC as a religious body, and the reason for doing so is scriptural, because God’s recognition and elevation of those who lead the flock, like Bishop Kortu Brown is based on service and innovation to expand his Master’s Vineyard and not on status.
The Liberian lawyer said he is certain that the role of a Bishop is to build relationships, love his neighbors as himself and win more souls for Christ rather than tear down people, ferry gossips or sow seeds of discords.
“What else is left of the credibility of a bishop, if any, that runs his mouth lousily or loosely, or join a gullible public to trade lies and disinformation against reputable individuals without any evidence?” he asked rather rhetorically.
Cllr Cephus noted that the LCC has taken a side and did not see the true aggressor in this matter before issuing such provocative statement.
“I am the victim and Bishop Kortu Brown is the aggressor. He and his collaborators have taken to the airwaves on the basis of hearsay to call for my dismissal,” the Liberian SG emphasized, adding: “I am quite aware that blood is thicker than water, and one can easily analyze what Jesus Christ teaches us as recorded in the Holy Gospel.”
He asked: “What other evidence do we need to prove that the press statement said to be the official position of the LCC is not influenced and instigated by Bishop Brown and read by his crony? Where was the LCC when Bishop Kortu Brown took the airwaves and accused me of heinous crimes, although without any evidence, and then called for my summary dismissal and prosecution?”
“It is absolutely regrettable to note that the LCC statement delivered by Bishop Seyenkulo is reminiscent of the bellicose discipleship of ‘Send it back to the senders’ being preached by morons, and strayed Christians in the streets and it woefully failed to take into account the nature and character of the New Covenant of our faith as Christians, as recorded in the Holy Gospel according to Matthew 5:44.”
He said finally: “I am baffled but not ruffled because “we are in end times, as earlier indicated, and therefore it is shameful or completely disgraceful to see that my reaction to Bishop Brown reminding him of the rules and procedures of evidence, according to the Holy Book of Deuteronomy 19: 15-21, calls for at least two or three witnesses as a condition precedent for convicting an accused of any crime. Apparently driven by sheer politics or personal hatred, or both, Bishop Brown, the professed man of God and coterie have grossly ignored or trampled underfoot this elementary procedure of evidence simply to blindly support atrocious and subversive conduct of Bishop Brown totally incompatible with what is expected of a man of God.”
He expressed no regret, now or in the future, for whatever he said against Bishop Brown, and hereby call on the section of the LCC headed by Bishop Jensen Seyenkulo, to understand that his reaction was not against the LCC but rather Bishop Kortu Brown.