The opening of an office space for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT+) persons in Ghana has angered Catholic Bishops in the country to an extent they have officially called on government to shut down the said office immediately as a matter of urgency.
The Ghana Catholic Bishops’ Conference, (GCBC), a religious organization made up of all Catholic Bishops in the country, described the act of homosexuality as an intrinsic moral evil, an abominable practice and a sexual disorder offensive to the teachings of the Catholic Church.
“We call upon the President of the Republic and Parliament to state unambiguously their position on the matter of homosexuality and its practice in Ghana. We also call on the Government of Ghana to close down the LGBTQI office space that was recently opened in Accra. Finally, we also urge the Executive and the Legislature never to be cowed down or to succumb to the pressure to legalize the rights of LGBTQIs in Ghana”, the Catholic Bishop’s Conference noted in a statement dated Friday February 19, 2021, and signed by the group’s President, Most Reverend Philip K. Naameh, who doubles as the Metropolitan Archbishop of Tamale
The unhappy Catholic bishops said though they do not hate persons who are homosexuals , they are completely against the practice and act of homosexuality and that they disagree with the argument that human rights includes the rights of a man to marry a man or of a woman to marry a woman.
The statement added: “even though the Church strongly condemns homosexual acts, it insists that the rights of homosexuals as persons should be respected. Homosexuals are also human beings, created in the image of God, and they should enjoy the same fundamental human rights that all people enjoy.”
LGBT LEADER DISAGREES
In response to the statement issued by the GCBC, the Director of LGBT+ Rights in Ghana, Alex Kofi Donkor pointed out what he described as contradictions and concealed hate.
“The Friday February 19, 2021 statement from the Bishops is saying that LGBT persons should not be attacked, they should not be beaten, they should not be discriminated against yet the same statement is calling on government to close down our office as if closing down our office is not a clear and direct discrimination against our rights and freedoms of association and freedoms of meeting.
“The office was set up to preach against hatred, attacks and discrimination. It was not set up to teach anyone how to practice same sex. Homosexual sex, just like heterosexual sex is not done in public. All legit sex are done in private and between two consenting adults. So if the Bishops are saying they support our position that LGBT persons should not be attacked and harassed, and that is the same type of discussions we have in our office, why are they calling for a shutting down of our space where we do the same things they are asking everyone else to do. That’s unfortunate and sounds hypocritical, I think this statement is another evidence of the usual hate against LGBT persons.
Meanwhile, Pope Francis, a pope, a head of the Catholic Church under which the GCBC fall is saying that homosexual people have a right to be in a family and they should be loved. He has not asked the Catholic Church or its Bishops to call for the shutting down of our offices”, Mr. Alex Kofi Donkor noted in a telephone interview with The New Publisher.
Mr. Donkor cited references from the World Health Organization in 1992 and the American Psychiatrists Association in 1973 where same sex orientation was struck out of the list of mental disorders.
The LGBT+ Rights leader continued: “if this issue of discrimination and unprovoked attacks against persons suspected to be gays or lesbians had been addressed, there won’t be any need to even set up that office. But everyone has looked on for years, including these same Bishops and they have all kept silent over such attacks.
“Check on our website and you would see that almost every week, there are an average of four to five of such attacks against persons perceived to be gays and lesbians. The victims are not even willing to report to the Police for investigations because once you tell the police why you were attacked, then they start to rubbish you and ask you all manner of questions that has nothing to do with the violence done against you.
“LGBT persons are among us, they won’t go away so instead of closing down our office and describing us with all those derogatory terms, why not invite us over to address the issues of the attacks and the discrimination?. The attacks are also an abomination and the church that preaches love should be focused on that one too”
Alex Kofi Donkor expressed shock that the Ghana Catholic Bishop’s Conference, in its statement said it was supporting the Executive Secretary of the National Coalition for Proper Human Sexual Rights and Family Values, Lawyer Moses Foh-Amoaning who “recently waged a crusade for the shutdown of a new office space for the LGBTQI movement in Ghana”
“It is interesting that the church that preaches love would actually say it supports a group that wages crusades against another group of innocent persons minding their businesses in private. I am sure that the Bishops have not properly done due diligence into the activities of some of those foreign organisations that support the National Coalition for Proper Human Sexual Rights and Family Values and the type of discriminatory agendas those groups are involved in”.