Homosexuality: Ghana churches caution politiciansBy FRANCIS KOKUTSE in Accra | Monday, July 18 2011 at 19:15
Ghanaian politicians who may want to push the idea of human rights to include open support for homosexuals will think twice after the Christian Council of Ghana (CCG) took a strong stand on the issue.
The latter have and called on the faithful to “vote out lawmakers who show support for homosexuals”.
The CCG’s position stems from fears that international human rights groups want to lobby Parliament to pass a law that would legalise homosexuality in the country.
But in a country where patterns have shown that people vote on the basis of parties rather than individuals, it is not clear whether the CCG’s pressure will have the desired goal.
CCG General Secretary, the Rev Fred Deegbe, says the churches are aware of the country’s commitment to international protocols it had signed to protect human rights and other values, but added that, “we would not want foreign cultures, that the people do not like, to be imposed on them in the name of human rights”.
The CCG spoke out after weeks of intense media interest in homosexuality following reports that there were about 8,000 registered homosexuals in the country’s western region alone.
Even though some civil society groups have questioned the figure, the Rev Deegbe pointed out that “it is not how many we have in the country. The practice has health implications and already the health service is in distress and no action should push it into further distress”.
The Presiding Bishop of the Anglican Church in Ghana, the Right Rev. Mathias Medadues-Badohu, says the Church in Ghana would intensify its teaching on the ills of homosexuality and would use its clinics to help those who want to get “out of it”.
The CCG position does not seem to deter some of the people who are engaged in this practice.
Arnold Adjettey (not his real name), is just 18 years old and is a high school dropout who is not ashamed of his homosexuality.
“I am gay and l love who l am. My parents noticed this some two years ago and have decided to live with it. For those who have a problem with it, that is their headache,” he told the Africa Review.
Another active homosexual, who did not wish to be identified, told the Africa Review: “There is something that people should understand. Nobody decides his sexual orientation because it is not a lifestyle you decide on by choice. I am a man, I go to the gym, I like football, but I prefer men when it comes to sex and should that make anyone condemn me?”
The anti-homosexual onslaught is not against men alone. The focus has likewise been on lesbianism which has been linked to what is known in girls secondary schools as supi.
According to the Rev. Deegbe, Christians are not after stigmatising homosexuals and do not want them to be victimised.
“We want to accept them and provide the necessary help they may require to heal them,” he says.
Yet for homosexuals like Adjettey, the suggestion that they require “healing” smacks of the discrimination his kind are campaigning against.
The CCG is anyway worried that stigmatisation of the practice would send those involved underground, and this would have serious implications in the country’s fight against HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.
The Rev. Medadues-Badohu admits that it has not been easy for Ghanaian churches, especially those having their origins in Europe, to come out against homosexuality.
“Some provinces have had to suffer the withdrawal of resources because of their stand against it. In spite of this, our stand is No; we do not support homosexuality.”
But according to Daniel Asare-Korang, of Ghana’s Human Rights Advocacy Centre, “homosexuals have rights as human beings and these must be respected”.
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