Accra Charter of Religious Freedom and Citizenship

Background

At an important companion conference convened in Accra in July, 2010, where the subject of Christian-Muslim relations in Africa led to consideration of the Muslim tradition of faith and the public order, there was general recognition of the need to develop from the Christian side a statement on religious freedom and citizenship that would move the debate beyond the current stalemate. The Islamic prescription for the religious reconstruction of society has no exact parallels in Christian Africa, if apartheid South Africa may be considered the exception that proves the rule. The New Testament does not prescribe a blueprint for a religious state, while the experience of the early Church points to withdrawal, what Muslims refer to as hijrah, rather than to political mobilization, the Muslim jihad fi sabil li-llahi, “struggle in the path of God.” Yet Scripture and the experience of the Christian tradition do give us important models of religion and the public order, particularly about how faith invests us with a dual identity as persons created in the image and likeness of God and as subjects of Caesar. The Accra Charter affirms this dual heritage of faith and the cause of the common good as the bulwark against tyranny and hedonism.