The New Patriotic Party (NPP), Member of Parliament (MP) for Assin South, John Ntim Fordjour has allayed fears of Ghanaians over the possible regulation of churches in the country.
He says government has no intention to pass such a law, citing other priority and focused areas of the NPP as reasons.
Some Members of Parliament (MPs) are requesting 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 churches” who are engaging in all sorts of illegalities.
Speaking on Citi TV on Saturday, the Assin South MP vowed to personally resist any attempts to have such a legislation passed insisting that the Nana Akufo-Addo government will in no way superintend over such a move.
“I do not think that the state at this stage– the priority must be to regulate or legislate churches– I think we have much bigger priorities to deal with, so far as legislation is concerned. If we fail to call as stakeholders to ensure the enforcement of these laws and now we want to legislate it, then we are not going anywhere with this. So far as I am concerned, the NPP government does not have the position to legislate churches. It is not a government position. The party has no intentions for plans to ever regulate religion.”
“I will be, if not the strongest, one of the strongest advocates, who will resist any attempt to interfere in matters of religion. If there is any attempt tomorrow to regulate how many times my good friends — the Muslims must pray or the number of times they go to the mosque — the same advocacy and principle with which I am applying now will be the same that I will use to defend them,” he added.
The legislators argued that there is a need for Parliament to critically investigate the activities of these churches and pastors to protect Ghanaians from exploitation.
The MPs said churches and pastors have been engaging in all manner of unacceptable practices in the country.
They added 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.
Speaker gives Joint C’ttee one month to assess feasibility of regulating churches
Meanwhile, the Speaker of Parliament, Prof. Mike Oquaye, has given a joint committee of Parliament a one-month deadline to develop recommendations on the possible regulation of churches in the country.
The Committees tasked with this responsibility are the Youth, Sports and Culture Committee, and the Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee.
The referral follows Wednesday’s debate on the Floor where some MPs called for the state to regulate the activities of one-man churches due to the many excesses associated with their activities.