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27.10.2014 Feature Article

Where Is The Church?

Where Is The Church?
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I thought the church was the home of morality and preservation of virtues and righteousness? I thought the church would rise and shout at society to stop it! When it was going wrong? I thought the church would deploy its spiritual and moral armory to pursue the rot of society to its very demise if it ever be?

It's said that the African is chronically religious but I say the Ghanaian is extra chronically religious; and the evidence is so prevailing with the uncontrollable proliferation of churches, mosques, signboards of faith healers and clairvoyants all over the place in Ghana.

According to Pew Research Forum on Religion and Public Life Based in Washington DC, Christianity remains the largest religion in the world today with the largest following in Africa, Asia and the America in recent times. And that the Sub-Saharan Africa has seen the biggest increase in the Christian population over the past century growing from Nine million (9million) in 1910 to five hundred and sixteen million (516million) today with only One-quarter of the current world Christian population in Europe.

Another research conducted by an African Development initiative in Vanderbilt University indicated that “In Ghana, people are judged on church attendance and the religion that they put their faith in”.

The main religion in Ghana is Christianity which is about 74.1% of the Ghanaian population according to the 2012 religious demographic statistics. Religion according to this research has become a potent social force in every facet of the Ghanaian live; ranging from family, economic activities, occupations and health to education (Fredua Kwarteng).

With this profoundly prevailing evidence of the existence of Christianity and the overwhelmingly increasing number of churches in Ghana, the very strange question one would ever ask would have been “where is the church?

But with this current trend of events in the life of mother Ghana, one cannot help but ask this very question repeatedly, where is the church? Where is the church and where is the church? Where is the church when this extra chronically religious country is plagued and hugely submerged in this massive rot of bribery and corruption and in fact blatant thievery of our state resources? Where is the church when there is a constant widening gap between the so called rich and the poor and no one is talking about it? Where is the church when inequality is in ascendancy even in the chapel?

This become even more disgusting, nauseating and shameful when these white colored thieves and corrupt people wine and dine with our pastors at high tables in our churches bearing titles such as deacons, chairmen and chairpersons just because they share their plunder with some of these pastors.

Is the church saying it is unaware some of its leaders and members are corrupt? Don't all these politicians and public officials involved in the infamous SADA, GYEEDA, SUBAH, ISOFOTON, the GRA mess and the latest NSS rot belong to churches and the mosque? How many of them have been openly reprimanded or interdicted by their churches pending investigations and appropriate legal processes carried by the state? Does the church have a clear position on corruption at all?

Let me be straight forward here, questions begging for answers in the minds of Ghanaian are many; what is the role of the church in fighting corruption? What exactly are pastors' contribution towards minimizing or eradicating corruption especially in the mist of this recent blatant thievery of our state resources by politicians and other public officials? What is the church waiting for? Where is the Christian council of Ghana (CCG)? And where is the Peace Council of Ghana?

Is it enough to preach peace in the mist of growing levels of inequality? Don't pastors realize the increasingly growing gap between the rich and the poor? Why should the Church condone and glorify luxury and opulence of few of their members in the mist of the glaring and prevailing misery, poverty and deprivation of the lot? Is the church, the Christian Council of Ghana (CCG) and the National Peace Council oblivious of the massive corrupt practices their members are engaged in?

What exactly has been the clear direction and steps taken by the church and the Christian council of Ghana to complement the state apparatus in fighting corruption?

The global corruption perception barometer, Transparency International in its corruption perception index for 2013 ranked Ghana 63rd perceived corrupt country worldwide. And this disreputable placement of our motherland happened on the back of revelations of the massive rot from GYEEDA, SADA, SUBAH, GRA etc. Questions I keep asking; are these perpetrators of these acts of thievery and blatant robbery of our state resources not found in our churches? Aren't some of them even leaders in our churches? What do pastors do about this? Take huge tithes, offertory and donations from them and keep quite? Or pray for them so that more doors of corruption opportunities will open up to them? Is this not a shame to the church and the Christian Council of Ghana?

Ghanaians will not keep quite any longer, Ghanaians are no longer interested in the timidity, indifference and the passivity of the church any longer, and I am one. With my little voice in my little corner I will shout out this in the clearest of expression; that the Christian Council of Ghana lead by Rev. Dr Kwabena Opuni-Frimpong must rise up to this challenge. The National Peace Council of Ghana under the leadership of Most Rev. Prof. Emmanuel Asante must speak up loud on this increasingly deteriorating societal menace. The continuous silence of the church on this glaring societal flaw amount to condoning it.

The leadership of these two religious and morally driven institutions (the Christian Council of Ghana and The National Peace Council of Ghana) in consultation with their stake holders must develop and institute formidable structures to warrant either public or internal dissociations and other punitive measures that should be metered out to identified and officially indicted state and public officials who are involved in corrupt practices and are found in our churches. And this should be communicated publicly to churches and their members to serve as a caution and deterrent to them.

Fact is that, when the Christian Council of Ghana and the National Peace Council fail to find a voice on compelling issues like corruption, poverty and inequality, then they should not find a voice to preach about peace when Ghanaians become frustrated by these greedy and corrupt public officials and rise against them. It is hypocritical to be silent on acts of thievery and corruption while turning around with peace campaign messages after the masses are robbed, cheated and impoverished by these same perpetrators the church fail to chide. The very valid question in Ghana today remains; and I repeat; where is the church?

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Peter Suaka
Peter Suaka, © 2014

The author has 40 publications published on Modern Ghana.Column: PeterSuaka

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