The Catholic Church in Ghana has been caught in the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual Transgender, Queer, and Intersexual (LGBTQI) controversy following a U-Turn done by the President of the Ghana Catholic Bishop Conference after his group had strongly condemned the growing advocacy of LGBTQI in Ghana.
However, barely a day after the Catholic Bishops Conference had issued the strongly-worded statement, its President, Most Reverend Philip Naameh went behind pleading with Ghanaians to respect LGBTQIs.
“Lesbians and gays are humans so we need to respect them. We need to accord them those rights that all human beings enjoy. They should not be denied employment just because they are homosexuals… They should not be denied accommodation…” he said.
However, his statement fits into the false narrative of the Western lobbyists that Ghanaians were rampantly victimising homosexuals, despite them living within the society drama-free for thousands of years.
Most Reverend Naameh claims that homosexuals were being denied employment, saying: “The basis for refusing them employment should not be because they are homosexuals. Someone may have an orientation to be gay and another an orientation to be a lesbian but if he’s not acting out this orientation, first of all, he is a human being and has the right to accommodation, to work and to communion with other people and those are rights we should respect.”
However, his statement is strange as critics wonder how employers are able to determine an applicant’s sexuality during job application processes.
Last Friday, the Bishops Conference in their statement said although the church respects the human rights of homosexuals, it frowns upon acts of homosexuality.
The group challenged President Akufo Addo in no uncertain words to declare his stance on homosexuality: “In the light of the foregoing, we call upon the President of the Republic and Parliament to state unambiguously their position on the matter of homosexuality and its practice in Ghana,” the Catholic Bishops stated.
They went ahead to call for the shutdown of the LGBTQI office opened in Accra recently by the Australian Ambassador to Ghana, Andrews Barnes. “We also call on the Government of Ghana to close down the LGBTQI office space that was recently opened in Accra,” the Bishops stated.
The Conference further urged the executive arm of government and the legislature not to give in to any demands from LGBTQI advocacy groups.
“Finally, we also urge the Executive and the Legislature never to be cowed down or to succumb to the pressure to legalize the rights of LGBTQIs in Ghana.”
During the first year of his first term in office, President Akufo Addo was interviewed on Al-Jazeera news network, where he gave a cryptic hint of how he intends to tackle LGBTQ advocacy in Ghana.
When questioned about his stance, he said LGBTQ legalisation is “bound to happen” if advocacy intensifies. He went on to compare countries like the UK where homosexuality was illegal but was finally institutionalised after intense advocacy.
Meanwhile, President Akufo Addo’s designated ministers are singing a totally different tune, taking a hardline conservative stance.
The Minister-Designate for Gender, Sarah Adwoa Safo, for instance, said during vetting that the illegality of homosexuality is non-negotiable.
“The issue of LGBTQI is an issue that when mentioned creates some controversy but what I want to say is that our laws are clear on such practices. It makes it criminal. On the issue of its criminality, it is non-negotiable on the issue of cultural acceptance and norms too. These practices are also frowned upon,” she stated emphatically.
The minister-designate for information, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah went on to suggest the need for a law that will restrict the advocacy of LGBTQ legalisation in Ghana.
LGBTQ legalisation is an extremely sensitive subject for Ghana and most African cultures to accept. The West has constantly pressured African countries to accept their sexual orientation, but it has been vehemently resisted in Ghana and other African countries.