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Bawumia Preaches Religious Tolerance

The ability of Ghanaians to appreciate and respect the diverse mix of spiritual values, beliefs and religious practices of each other has been a key factor in making it a beacon of peace and stability in the sub-region and an envy of other countries, Vice President Mahamadu Bawumia has said.

He said Churches and faith-based organizations have remained a major development partner to Government therefore there is the need to enhance that critically important partnership as well as safeguard the culture of religious tolerance in the country.

“We are a blessed country, a peaceful country and a tolerant country. Sometimes we do not even release it but it is when you leave Ghana and we see what some other places are faced with then we start to appreciate what we have

“Religious tolerance has been one of the reasons we have for the peace in this country; a country where the National Chefs Imam celebrated his 100th birthday by going to the Catholic Church. You have pastors go to the mosque and this is very beautiful and this is the nature of our country- the tolerance”, Dr. Bawumia noted in his interaction with the Clergy during his campaign tour of the Northeast Region over the weekend.

Golden Age Relationship

The Vice President spoke about a “golden age relationship” between Government and the faith-based organizations which he explained as an intentional policy of Government to cushion faith-based organizations when they are embarking on developmental projects.

“People have spoken about taxing churches but I do not believe in that. When we talk about our foreign development partners, we are giving them all sorts of incentives but when we talk about our internal development partners like faith-based organizations, we do not give them any exemptions but they even do more in terms of development than many of our foreign development partners.

“So I am saying that we should do more by way of tax exemptions for churches and faith-based organizations who are coming to build schools and other social development facilities because they are supporting government.

“I call that a golden age between the church and the State. We need to get closer and we can speak about values in our society the lack of which causes us problems. We need a stronger relationship to talk about the management of our schools”

Dr. Bawumia said “the church is the foremost development partner of Government; the church and faith –based organizations. You look at the number of schools the Church has built. Look at the number of hospitals the churches have built; look at the number of universities the churches and the faith-based organizations have build and the number of people they take care of”

Religious Tolerance

“My close relationship with the church has been from childhood. It predates my entering into politics.  By my nature and constitution, I do not believe in religious discrimination. I don’t do that, Otherwise I would discriminate against my own brothers and sisters if I was going to discriminate on the basis of religion”, Vice President Bawumia noted and explained how his upbringing shaped his mindset on religious tolerance

“My father has 17 surviving children. My mother at the time my father was courting her was a Christian. She had to convert as you can understand to marry my father but I could always see the Christian in her had not quite gone away in a way.

“Out of the 17 children, nine are Christians and eight are modems. So in my house growing up, you always had the bible and he Quran and we read both growing up so as to get an understanding.

“So for me, religious tolerance in ingrained in me right from childhood. I have a brother who preaches and when I was young, many of my brothers in Narelegu here were attending the Baptist church and when I come here, I would join them.

“In Tamale as a young boy, I was a member of the Methodist Boys Brigade. I was sure and steadfast. Today, I am Vice President and I am patron of the Methodist Boys Brigade of Ghana although I am a Muslim”, Dr. Bawumia added.

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