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Opinions of Saturday, 28 December 2019

Columnist: Kwadwo Tufuor M.Ed.

RE: Government initiates moves to regulate religious activities

The Deputy Minister for Chieftaincy,  Paul Essien The Deputy Minister for Chieftaincy, Paul Essien

(See Ghanaweb General News December 19, 2019)

According to the Deputy Minister for Chieftaincy and Religious Affairs and Member of Parliament for the Jomoro Constituency, Paul Essien, “Most churches and the Christian Communities are not living by the Christian values. Most churches have diverted their church sermon on the core Biblical principles that would help them to live good Christian lives, and have concentrated on how to get wealth quickly....”

The headline makes a reference to “religious activities” but the whole speech of the Deputy Minister is focused on Christianity and its so-called fake pastors.

It is obvious that the target for the regulation is Christianity. Fake pastors must be dealt with in much the same way as quack doctors are dealt with according to the laws of the land.

But why didn’t the Deputy Minister talk about Islam (including the Ahmadiyya Movement), Traditional Religions (yes, Religions, because there are diverse ones in Ghana), Hinduism, Buddhism, and a host of other religious bodies operating in Ghana.

If the Churches are duly registered at the Registrar-Generals Department and are paying their required taxes, why wade into doctrinal issues when you are not an authority on such issues?

The Deputy Minister said, “Most churches have diverted their church sermon on the core Biblical principles ...”.

On what research did you, Mr. Deputy Minister, base your analysis?

If there is going to be regulation of Churches at all , let it come from the Christian Religious Bodies in consultation with independent theologians and not from the government which knows next to nothing about Christianity.

Let’s be careful not to throw away the baby with the dirty bathwater.

Jesus Christ Himself warned us in Matthew 13:24-30 (NKJV), 24 “Another parable He put forth to them, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field; 25 but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way. 26 But when the grain had sprouted and produced a crop, then the tares also appeared. 27 So the servants of the owner came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?’ 28 He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’

The servants said to him, ‘Do you want us then to go and gather them up?’ 29 But he said, ‘No, lest while you gather up the tares you also uproot the wheat with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest, and at the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, “First gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn.”

Take heed and tread cautiously, Mr. Deputy Minister and your government.