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Pastors Angry At Government Control

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The Ghana Charismatic Bishops’ Conference, an interdenominational  fraternity of clergy leaders, have raised red flags against calls by a section of Parliamentarians on government to enact laws to control churches they claim are headed by exploitative and self-styled Men of God.

Member of Parliament for Mfantseman, Ekow Hayford, has said in Parliament that there ought to be an independent institution established and backed by law to investigate and check the activities of churches.

The call seems to have stepped on the toes of the Ghana Charismatic Bishops’ Conference and the group has issued a statement oppose the call and point out an apparent bias.

“The Government cannot legislate to regulate a person’s Christian belief. It would be a glaring bias against the Christian faith and Christian churches for pastors, prophets or churches to be picked out for any such legislation.

“All who propose such things must know that it would only be logical, that such proposals should immediately include legislating how all other faiths in the country must be practiced. This legislation would logically extend to include how Moslems, traditional healers, fetish priests and any other faiths are being practiced in the country”, the statement signed by the group’s General Secretary, Rev. Kwasi Deh noted.

According to the Charismatic Bishops’ Conference, there had been a similar precedent which did not go down well and it ought not to be repeated.

It explained in the statement: “The PNDC Law 221 was promulgated to such ends with a mind to regulate the proliferation of churches.  Under the PNDC law 221 every church was to produce a list of 500 members otherwise it would not be allowed to operate because it was considered too small to be genuine. Such a law (which did not succeed) against the church would have wiped out all the known charismatic churches which were just beginning at that time. Indeed, Churches which are prominent in Christianity in Ghana today were threatened by such ill placed legislation”.

It said the group would rather “encourage Parliament to kindly, rather pay attention to the issues that Ghanaians are forced to have to solve by prayer. We suggest the parliament attend to the pressing issues in Ghana such as:

“The absence of good roads across the nation and the terrible accidents which occur because of our very poor narrow roads and highways. Legislation about the poor drainage and serious flooding are of great concern to our nation today.

“The decline of the quality of education in the country. Let us rather legislate about the widespread and perennial leakage of exam papers in the nation that characterize Ghanaian education today. Let us concern ourselves with curbing the epidemic of armed robberies and murder in the country.

“The government should see to the new hospitals like the Legon Hospital, that stand unused and deteriorating, the poor health care situation in the public hospitals where patients have to bring in their own private nurses to look after patients. Let us concern ourselves with legislation about the uncompleted and abandoned building and housing projects scattered all over the nation”.

The Ghana Charismatic Bishops’ Conference was founded by Bishop Dag Heward Mills, of the Lighthouse Chapel International.

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