Bennie Dee Warner is a Liberian politician and clergyman. He served as the country’s 25th Vice President from October 31, 1977 to April 12, 1980. Born on April 30, 1935 in Careysburg District, Montserrado County, Warner was a bishop in the United Methodist Church for four years before he was plucked from relative obscurity to become Vice President in 1977, succeeding James Edward Greene.
Warner was attending a conference of Methodist bishops in Nashville, Indiana when a military coup led by Samuel Doe overthrew the Liberian government on April 12, 1980. Warner attempted to form a government in exile in Ivory Coast to challenge the coup makers. A month after he was evicted from political power, he was removed from ecclesiastical power: Methodist minister D. Sieh Doe proclaimed the bishopric vacant, and for six months the seat was empty and the church run by Warner’s administrative assistant. On 6 December, the Annual Conference elected as his successor Alfred S. Kula, formerly the dean of the Gbarnga School of Theology. Warner had been the second bishop in the history of the church in Liberia.
Four years after Warner was overthrown, Commander-in-Chief Samuel Doe proclaimed clemency for him and announced that he was free to return to Liberia.
Black Marks on White Paper, a documentary based on the life of Warner was produced in 2013. The documentary chronicles the life of Bishop Warner from his early years as a native Liberian, his education, his rise to leadership in the church and nation and his nomination and election to the vice-presidency of the Republic in 1977. The film tells the story of the military coup in 1980, which led to his decision to become a missionary to America for the last 35 years. Bob Hager was the producer/Director of the documentary under auspices of Tiny Seed Films.