Some Members of Parliament (MPs) are calling for a law to be enacted to regulate activities of churches solely owned and run by individuals and self-professed pastors termed as “one-man church.”
Some of these churches are alleged to have been engaging in all manner of unacceptable practices in the country.
According to some MPs, there is a need for Parliament to critically investigate the activities of these churches and pastors to protect Ghanaians from exploitation.
They contend that a certain level of regulation is required to prevent these churches and pastors from engaging in abuse, indoctrination and other activities that are not in line sound Christian teaching.
MPs deliberated on the issue following a statement from MP for Mfantseman, Ekow Hayford.
“Mr. Speaker, it is time this House takes a decision to see how best to clamp down on these churches,” the Ablekuma Central Member of Parliament, Ebenezer said on the Floor of Parliament on Wednesday.
The Member of Parliament for Okaikoi South, Mr. Ahmed Arthur argued that although there are some pastors doing well, there other self-professed pastors who are duping unsuspecting individuals in the name of Christianity.
He added that some of these so-called pastors who deceive their members to acquire wealth also own some media companies and abuse other people who disagree with their mode of practice.
“We call them individual churches or one man churches…there are some Churches performing very well…But I also believe that there are churches or people who profess to be pastors for a lack of a better word, misbehaving in this country. You have people who have media and when they are preaching, it is full of insults and abuses of other people.”
“Apart from that, there are people who come to show off what they have. They have been able to deceive their members to give them [money]. I believe that proper regulations should be put in place due to some of these things that we see. That is an affront to religious organisations…The time has come for the nation and Parliament to look into this issue critically.”
The Member of Parliament for Ningo Prampam also on his part explained that although there are certain people who can best be described as charlatans working as pastors, it is important for Parliament not to overlook some of the contributions of churches to the general development of the country.
He argued that any attempt by the state to move to regulate religious expressions in the country could have significant consequences.
“There are some people who you can call charlatans who may be bringing the Christian faith or Church business into disrepute, I have always maintained that there is a difference a Church and Church administration, we can choose to pass legislation that will govern Church administration, however any move to have the state move into the regulations of religion or religious expressions may be a step too far.”
Sam George added that “there is far and abundant evidence that there are some people who are abusing the relaxed state of regulations for religious affairs. There are instances where people are purported to be carrying out all kinds of miracles but in the end, turn out to be plain extortion.”