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25.03.2020 Feature Article

Easter Celebration Is Kaput for 2020, Period!

Easter Celebration Is Kaput for 2020, Period!
LISTEN MAR 25, 2020

It seems disturbingly clear that the Rev.-Dr. Kwabena Opuni-Frimpong needs special talking to, very likely by the National Director of Medical Services, for the former General-Secretary of the Christian Council of Ghana to fully appreciate the gravity of the raging Coronavirus pandemic. The lecturer at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) scandalously does not seem to understand the fact that the four-week period of freeze or disengagement from crowd-drawing activities declared by President Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo is absolutely in no way cast in stone or a temporal certainty, and that this period of “social disengagement” could possibly be extended, if the seemingly inexorable ravages of the Coronavirus pandemic did not significantly abate.

It is clearly because of such gross misunderstanding that the Presbyterian Church of Ghana’s clergyman has been adamantly insistent on having the World Council of Churches-determined date for the Easter festivities rescheduled for sometime after the “social distancing” moratorium directive handed down by the President is over (See “Churches Should Meet Akufo-Addo to Propose New Date for 2020 Easter – Rev. Opuni” News Desk – 3/18/20). First of all, if it becomes necessary for Easter, the second holiest of holidays on the Christian Calendar, after Christmas, or the birth of Christ, to be rescheduled, this perforce ought to be done by the executive operatives of the World Council of Churches (WCC), and not Ghanaian Christian religious leaders, such as Dr. Opuni-Frimpong is reported to be suggesting.

Secondly, in the kind of secular democratic dispensation that is being practiced by Ghanaian citizens today, the Government is not officially or statutorily authorized to be actively participating in decisions regarding the fact of whether the country’s Christian religious majority celebrates Easter on April 10 or July 20th. I am quite certain that Rev. Opuni-Frimpong is well aware of the Separation of Church/Religion and the State edict that is clearly enshrined in Ghana’s 1992 Republican Constitution. At any rate, if it becomes necessary for the leaders of Ghana’s Christian Community to reschedule the official date for the celebration of this year’s Easter festivities, such decision ought not to actively involve the participation of Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, notwithstanding the fact of the President of Ghana’s being a bona fide Christian by both faith and personal persuasion. The President’s plate, literally speaking, is already more than full even without having to deal head-on with the Coronavirus pandemic or COVID-19.

Very likely, any decision to participate in the rescheduling of this year’s Easter festivities would involve the Religious Affairs Department of the Presidency and not the President or the Presidency itself. The fundamentalist religious attitude and posture taken by clerics like Rev. Opuni-Frimpong does not gibe with the practical realities of what global Presbyterianism is about. If, indeed, Divine Providence, in Her/ His “inscrutable wisdom” has clearly reckoned that the 2020 Easter festivities must be used for the critical examination of how humans treat ourselves and our environment and its fragile and gravely endangered resources, then who are we to adamantly insist on still carrying on the clearly obsolescent ways of doing things?

Religious community leaders like Dr. Opuni-Frimpong need to bear in the frontal lobes of their brains the seismic and mnemonically indelible events of the days of Noah, the legendary Great Prophet of the Ancient Israelites. As well, the equally morally instructive lessons from the prophet Jonah in the metaphysical belly of the whale.

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By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., PhD

English Department, SUNY-Nassau

Garden City, New York

March 19, 2020

E-mail: [email protected]