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Opinions of Tuesday, 1 March 2016

Columnist: Ghanaian Chronicles

Defrauding Ghanaians in the name of God

Opinion Opinion

The 1992 Constitution, which is the supreme law of the land, guarantees freedom of worship and association. Indeed, one does not need to acquire a license before establishing a church or mosque in Ghana. As a result of this, churches are increasingly springing up in the country.

Regrettably, whilst some of these churches are helping to build the nation through the establishment of basic schools up to the university level, others are also using the name of God for pure material gains, instead of winning souls, as prescribed by the Bible.

Apart from these material gains, some of the so called men of God are also indulging in occultism, fraud and deceit of the public. These pastors appear to have taken advantage of the harsh economic conditions to fleece the unsuspecting public.

On our television screens, these materially-oriented pastors are seen stepping on the abdomen of pregnant women in the name of exorcising the bad spirit fighting against the survival of the pregnancy.

In some instances, these pastors claim to have gone to the spiritual world to collect individual passports that had gone missing.

In one particular instance, a pastor was seen twisting and turning in his cosy chair, and all of a sudden threw to his congregation a missing passport he claimed to have collected from the spiritual world. Surprisingly, his congregation did not realise that he was fooling them, but were rather hailing him for his exploits.

It has also become trite nowadays to see 'Men of God' exchanging vulgar words on radio. They also deceive their followers with what we consider as false prophesies, just to squeeze the little money these church attendees have.

They are also the only people who God reveals the impending death of a prominent Ghanaian, mostly politicians, to. Clearly, what is going on goes beyond the freedom of worship prescribed by the Constitution, yet the authorities pretend they have not seen what these pastors are doing.

The Chronicle is, therefore, calling on the security agencies, especially the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI), to step in by arresting some of these pastors who are defrauding the public using the bible as a cover. In some of these mushrooming churches, before a congregant sees his pastor, he or she has to pay around GH¢50.

The question is – is the word of God now for sale, and only the highest bidder that can access it? What The Chronicle finds difficult to understand is the fact that these pastors, despite the millions of money they are 'stealing' from their congregation, do not pay any tax on it.

Meanwhile, you see them in town flaunting their ill-gotten money. One of them even boasted recently that he can pay each person in the Ashanti Region GH¢5, yet his bank account would not be affected. Yet, a Man of God speaking in such a way did not get rebukes from any of the recognised Christian associations in the country.

The Chronicle is not against the freedom of worship, but if this is how our so-called pastors are going to behave, then we would support the registration of churches by the state, so that their activities could be controlled, instead of the current situation where they are making millions of cedis from the poor market women, and yet do not pay taxes. It is our hope the BNI would move into action to save the country from being destroyed by these morally-bankrupt pastors.