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Pastors Are Dubious But Parliament Has No Business Legislating Religion

Some members of parliament are said to be thoroughly upset with the shenanigans of present-day pastors in the country. According to news reports, the law makers are considering legislation to curb the wanton, crass and mischievous ways of the unscrupulous so-called men of God.

Much as I would love to see some of these pastors held accountable for their egregious behavior, I believe parliament has no business legislating religion.

Our lawmakers should remember the concept of separation of church and state which in effect means the state should keep its distance from religion.The whole idea of using state resources to clamp down on dubious, mendacious and grossly inept pastors, is way over the top.

In fact, the move reminds me of communist China where religion is viewed with suspicion, treated with unfettered disdain and kept under constant state surveillance. We certainly aren’t going to emulate the Chinese model.

Nonetheless, I completely understand why the law makers are agitated, and visibly angry at the pastors’ transgressions. While it is true that there are some good pastors who are devoted to evangelism — spreading the word of God/Allah/Nawuni, there sure are others and they outnumber the former, who chose this line of work primarily to seek wealth, fame and notoriety.

These pastors are something else as Americans love to say: eager to win over souls and determined to beat the competition — yes, the pastoral field is a very lucrative one — the pastors in the thousands of places of worship spread across the country, are boisterous, egotistical, mendacious, flamboyant and have no qualms about bending established norms and regulations to achieve their goals. Let it be said loud and clear that while pastors grow rich by the day, Ghanaians continue to wallow in abject poverty with no end in sight to the conundrum.

Outside their churches and temples, they actively engage in politics, throwing their weight and that of their congregations behind corrupt and ineffective politicians.

These pastors, by and large, have stained the good reputation of the clergy. To sum up, they are super-predators. They ought to bury their heads in the sand like the proverbial ostrich.

But as we delight in taking swipes at fake pastors and decrying the way they operate, at the same time we shouldn’t hesitate to take a long, hard look in the mirror at ourselves.

The reflections staring back at us are our own ignorant, gullible and selfish personalities.  Ghanaians of all classes, political affiliations, poor, rich, educated and uneducated in one way or the other, either intentionally or inadvertently, have emboldened these so-called men of God.

Ultimately, smart pastors capitalize on our vulnerabilities and other weaknesses; they prey on us with impunity because we succumb to their charms and sweet talks. And as they accumulate insane wealth, power and influence, we become poorer and marginalized, unable to afford the basic necessities of life.

Be that as it may, before our representatives entertain the notion of restraining fake pastors with legislation, they should first talk to the masses of ordinary Ghanaians.



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