Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Nigeria: Yar'Adua Reaffirms Govt's Commitment to Secularism

"President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua has reaffirmed Federal government's determination to defend at all times the constitution and maintain the secularity of Nigeria so as to bequeath to the present and future generations a country where no citizen is discriminated against.
Speaking at the formal opening ceremony of the Assembly of the International Alliance of Catholic Knights at the International Conference Centre, Abuja , recently, President Yar'Adua said that the country's young democracy needs all the nurturing required to ensure its sustainability.
"In a pluralistic state such as ours, our duty is to ensure that we run a government that is a protector of all regardless of ethnic and religious affiliations. As a government, we are determined to bequeath to the present and the future generations a country where no citizen is discriminated against. We shall defend the constitution and maintain the secularity of Nigeria ""

Daily Champion (Lagos),, 26 November 2007

I'll also post this reader's letter from Namibia which I wanted to post earlier:
"In this part of the world, the notion of religious conservatism is automatically associated with Islamic extremism. Other forms of religious intolerance as manifested in Christianity, Judaism and Hinduism are seldom acknowledged.
Namibia, of course is a secular country. However, this is hardly ever mentioned in public. If anything, Namibia is characterised by religious conservatism which continues to exert a tight grip on mass consciousness.
This, regrettably, is a legacy of colonialism.

Since the mid sixties the liberated women of Europe and Latin America have refused to accept the moral authority of the church which has resulted in a downturn in mass religion there. However, the end of the Cold War left a huge ideological gap that has been filled by religious extremism especially Christian extremism. This has been noteworthy in the underdeveloped regions of Sub-Saharan Africa, with Namibia perhaps in the forefront as the most Christian society on the continent.
When are we going to have some serious debate about secularism, not necessarily atheism, in Namibia?"

The Namibian, June 8, 2007
A lot of people talk about how religions are receeding in Europe but spreading throughout Africa, but it's not like Atheism is pushed back in Africa. Christianity and Islam is pushing traditional beliefs back. There's a lot to be said about this, but there's one thing I think is interesting: Atheism is just a single principle, as we know. But as a collection of arguments, it's targeted at Christianity in particular. Most of us don't know how all those traditional religions in the world work be they from Africa or anywhere else, but we know Christianity and we're starting to know Islam too.
So my opinion is that these two religions pave the way for Atheism or at least secularism, because they make people start to talk a religious language that we understand.

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