The suggestion by the Asuogyaman District head of the Apostolic Church, the Reverend Samuel Kofi Adjei, that AIDS victims should not be accorded Christian burial has attracted sharp reactions from a broad section of the public, especially religious leaders, Pastor Adjei's views were published in THE GHANAIAN TIMES on Monday, July 12.
The Anglican Bishop of Cape Coast the Right Rev. Daniel Allotey, said that “it is totally wrong for a pastor to suggest that no church member who dies of AIDS should be accorded a Christian burial.
“This is not only against the interest of society but very judgemental,” he stated. Speaking to the Times, the Anglican Bishop explained that “AIDS is just one of the diseases that anyone can contract.”
“There are some people who acquire the disease through sharing of blades and not necessarily through promiscuity,” he said, adding that “if you make a rule against Christian burial for AIDS victims you will seem to be giving judgement which is contrary to what the Bible teaches.”
According to Bishop Allotey, such a rule in the church would rather increase the spread of the disease and allow members to hide their misdeeds, instead of confessing to them.
“Once a member does not declare that he is an AIDS patient who needs to be treated, he is most likely to spread the disease without the knowledge of others,” he stated.
Bishop Allotey explained that AIDS, just like Tuberculosis (TB), did not make a person an outcast. “The more you marginalize an AIDS patient, the more you restrain people from going for the test”, he said. “What is needed is continuous awareness creation and reaching out to AIDS victims.