Responding to questions at a press conference held last Monday by the Christian Council of Ghana to condemn homosexuality, the Presiding Bishop of the Anglican Church in Ghana and Bishop of Ho, the Right Rev. Matthias Mededues-Badohu, said the Church in Ghana would intensify its teaching on the ills of homosexuality and would use its clinics to help those who want to get “out of it”. He said, “We speak against acts that go against the word of God. It is abnormal and not good. Our objective is to condemn it so that people will not get involved.”
On 21 July Changing Attitude reported that Paul Evans Aidoo, a Catholic and minister for the Western Region in Ghana has directed the Bureau of National Investigations and other agencies to find gay people and bring them before the courts. He has also called on landlords and tenants to inform on those they believe to be gay.
Mr Aidoo’s initiative has drawn support from other politicians, including the general secretary of the People’s National Convention (PNC) who told Radio Gold on Tuesday: “Homosexuality is abhorrent. Media discourse across the world is being dictated by the vulgar opinions of homosexuals. Ghana and probably Africa cannot sustain the menace of homosexuals.”
Mac-Darling Cobbinah, one of Changing Attitude’s contacts in West Africa and head of the Centre for Popular Education and Human Rights in Ghana, said the threat was empty. He told the BBC: “There’s no way you can be arresting people on the basis of perception. It is promoting hatred – and it’s creating a divided society where gay people will be antagonised or attacked or blackmailed.”
The Christian Council of Ghana (CCG) took a strong stand on the issue. Christian leaders threatened to mobilize their congregations against politicians and political parties who defend homosexuality and lesbianism. They called on the faithful to “vote out lawmakers who show support for homosexuals”.
The CCG’s position stems from fears that international human rights groups want to lobby Parliament to pass a law that would legalise homosexuality in the country. But in a country where patterns have shown that people vote on the basis of parties rather than individuals, it is not clear whether the CCG’s pressure will have the desired goal.
CCG General Secretary, the Rev Fred Deegbe, said the churches are aware of the country’s commitment to international protocols it had signed to protect human rights and other values, but added, “We Ghanaians and for that matter Africans cherish our rich and strong values on issues such as homosexuality and we must not allow anyone or group of people to impose what is acceptable in their culture on us in the name of human rights.”
He said the Christian community, and for that matter all stakeholders, including the executive, legislature, judiciary, traditional authorities and social activists, should “resist the temptation of passing a law in favour of homosexuality.”
“The homosexual issue is becoming a problem as our youth always emulate the lifestyle of the Western world, whether good or bad. In Ghana, we have witnessed gay marriages and because these went unchecked, the homosexual community had even wanted to host a global conference on homosexuality. We as a Christian community in Ghana totally condemn this as an unnatural and ungodly act and call on all religious bodies and organizations, traditional leaders and all decent-loving Ghanaians to join this campaign.”
Rev. Deegbe predicted doom for the country if “this detestable and abominable act is passed into law,” saying, “the passage of a law allowing the practice of homosexuality in the country will bring the wrath of God upon the nation and the consequences will be unbearable.” He however cautioned against persecution and physical assault of people believed to be practicing homosexuality, saying, “The fact that we are condemning the act does not mean that people should take the law into their own hands by going to stone them or kill them.”
During question time, the Moderator of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana (PCG), Rt. Rev. Professor Emmanuel Martey, said that homosexuality was a “spiritual disease” and those who indulged in it needed “spiritual cleansing.” He called for the intensification of campaigns against homosexuality.
Rev. Nana Anyani Boadum, General Overseer of Jesus Generation Sanctuary and Acting General-Secretary of the Ghana Pentecostal Council, who moderated the press conference, said homosexuality was an abomination and should never be encouraged.