Unless His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s proposition to construct a national religious edifice for the nation for reasons only best known to him is a misplaced national priority, I do not see the sense in the ongoing brouhaha over it. If calling it a National Cathedral, denoting Christianity is the cause of concern to many a Ghanaian of different religious denominations, then I have a solution to it.
Could the proposal to build the religious edifice a fulfilment of a secret vow the President had made to God? Could it be that he promised God that if He helped him to be elected the President of Ghana he would build Him an edifice where Ghanaians will go to worship Him? Whatever the driving force or motive behind the proposition to build a National Cathedral is, it’s not wrong at all. However, the presumption of some people may be that it is a waste of national resources. The money to be earmarked for the construction of the Cathedral could better be used to create jobs for the youth of the nation.
Some people may also think it is for Christians but not Muslims, idol worshippers (fetishes) or atheists. I am here to propose a solution but not to stoke up tempers. Nevertheless, I was greatly dismayed by some expressed disagreements by some radio phone-in callers claiming to be Muslims. According to them, the National Cathedral will be serving only the interests of Christians but not the other religions. To all those holding on to such a view, may I please ask them a simple question which I require an answer from them. The Ghana government helps with organising, subsidising and ensuring the safety of Muslim pilgrimages to Mecca, the Islamic Holy land, year on year since some years back. Does the government help Christians to undertake a similar pilgrimage to Israel, their supposed Holy land? No!! Do Christians complain bitterly and call for its abrogation? I am not aware of any such demand on the government by Christians against the Muslims. The idol worshippers and the atheists neither do complain.
Who is an atheist? He is “someone who does not believe in any God or gods”. They believe they came to exist not by the creation of any Superior Being but just like that. To subscribers of such an idea, let me suggest to them to sit in the quiet of their rooms or house to reflect on the things they find surrounding them. Things like their cooking utensils, TV sets, sofas, knives, cars, cell (mobile) phones etc.; were they not made by certain people, or do they not have specific manufacturers that made them? They did not come to exist from nowhere or by accident.
In the study of geography, when proving that the earth is spherical (round) in shape, don’t we use among other arguments that if the earth is a member of the universe and all the other members are round then the earth must be round since it cannot be the only odd one among them? Has this fact not been proven by astronauts and the satellites circling the earth non-stop? Subsequently, the atheists had better start to believe in some supernatural force of some sort. Science believes in nature if not God. But what is that nature? Nature is “the force that is responsible for physical life and that is sometimes spoken of as a person” or “the sum total of the forces at work throughout the universe”.
For the avoidance of political and religious higgledy-piggledy over the construction of the national edifice to be named National Cathedral, I shall suggest it is named, NATIONAL MULTI-FAITH CENTRE or NATIONAL MULTI-FAITH BUILDING. In reputable international corporate firms, their workplaces or buildings have a room for prayers for their religious believers. They name such rooms multi-faith rooms. Every worker who takes after any religious creed goes into the same room to practice their faith when they are on break or have the time. Christians, Muslims, Jewish, men and women, all go into the same room to practise their faith. The company cannot have a room for every religion that their workers practise hence having only one room and naming it multi-faith room. This will avoid any doubt of religious discrimination in the minds of the workers. If for the fact that other religious believers are using the room so you cannot be in there for your peculiar reasons, then tough!
I quite remember becoming a friend of a Muslim Senior Associate (Lawyer), when once he popped into the multi-faith room at our workplace to see me praying. On realising that I am religious, we became friends for many years until he was transferred to one of the foreign offices of the company.
I, like many other Ghanaians, do not believe in idol worshipping, our truly traditional religion. If it were not so, and the edifice was for our religion, I think many people will not raise any eyebrows with the attendant political connotations and colourations seeing all the other religions as foreign but imposed on us by our colonial superior masters. Again, is it the right time to invest a huge money in such a national edifice when many people are unemployed with our pastors, imams and fetish priests including their followers being crooks, corrupt, deceitful and faithless but pretending to worship God or Allah or whatever they believe in, with all their heart, soul and mind? Every reader will bear me out on this assertion, concluding from the way the religious Ghanaians in their supposedly religious country are behaving. Are all those, especially our politicians, embezzling public funds and assets not religious? Do they think God admires their hypocrisy and carnal-minded worship of Him which defeats the objective of the construction of the National Cathedral?
King David had desired to build a Church for God but God stopped him only for the Church or place of worship to be built by his son King Solomon. If the time is not right, don’t build it. However, fulfil your promise to God, Mr President. The battle still continues to be the Lord’s.