Church regulation brouhaha: Enforce old laws; new one needless – Lawyer

Church regulation brouhaha: Enforce old laws; new one needless – Lawyer
Source: Ghana | | Naa Sakwaba Akwa | E: faustine.akwa@myjoyonline.ccom
Date: 08-06-2019 Time: 02:06:07:pm
Mr Dwomoh, a lawyer, sees no need for new regulation

A private legal practitioner, Dennis Adjei Dwomoh has called on Parliament to, instead of pushing for a new law to clamp down on manipulative self-styled men of God, cause the enforcement of the old ones.

In Mr Dwomoh’s view, all the excesses of the church have been dealt with extensively by the law through the many state institutions in the country.

“So for instance, where a church can be located is decided by the Town and Country Planning Department,” he said on Joy News’ news analysis programme Newfile, adding had the Department upheld the zoning policy, there will not be a church at an unauthorised location.

Some legislators last week Wednesday asked the House to consider enacting a law to clamp down on exploitative self-styled Men of God and their churches.

MP for Mfantseman, Ekow Hayford, appealed that an independent body should be set up “backed by law and devoid of politics” which would investigate and check the activities of churches.

Parliament House 2017

Some parliamentarians want new law for churches

But the Ghana Charismatic Bishops Conference has said an attempt by Members of Parliament to legislate against churches believed to be defrauding its flock under the guise of faith.

“…we do not support any idea of legislating or controlling beliefs, faiths or religious beliefs of our citizens,” the Bishops said in an official communiqué on the matter.

The Bishops said Ghanaians go to churches and prophets for solutions to the myriad of problems they face as citizens.

“The problems Ghanaians live with are in many cases not being solved in any practical manner by the authorities. When people are left with no hope they turn to their prophets and to their God for salvation for what should and could have been solved by national authorities,” the Bishops maintain.

The Charismatic Bishops have instead asked Parliament to pay attention to the numerous issues that Ghanaians have been compelled to solve by prayer.

Related: Don’t make mistake of legislating Church activities -Presby Moderator

The Ghana Charismatic Bishops’ Conference is made up of Bishops from different Christian denominations with cathedrals in every region of the country.

But the Bishops’ Conference are not alone in their protest, they are joined by Ningo-Prampram Samuel George and other Christians who see the attempt as an affront to their religion.

Mr Dwomoh is not surprised at the confusion the proposal has created.

He questioned why the country will need a new law there are many others which if enforced can serve the same purpose.

The Ghana Charismatic Bishops’ Conference is made up of Bishops from different Christian denominations

“How many churches have building permits in this country? And when you enter a church with only one door, in case there is an emergency what happens? Do they have fire extinguishers as the law prescribes? So as we speak all these things are not being done.”

Quoting Section 289, Mr Dwomoh said there are a plethora of laws against nuisance, assault, and battery - all of which are being perpetrated by so-called men of God - and had the law been enforced, there will be no need for new regulation.

He said it will be impossible to lump up all churches under one law when they all have distinct ways of practice.

Unsure about what the MPs seek to regulate with the new law, the lawyer queried “are you regulating the church, the pastors or the practice and manifestation of the faith?

“If you are brought up in a Catholic school, there are instances where you will think that someone clapping their hands and shouting on top of their voice might not be orderly. And that is why I am of the new that the churches should not be regulated because there is a confusion as to what exactly we are regulating.”