Abuse in God’s name

BY: Yaw Boadu Ayeboafoh
Yaw Boadu Ayeboafoh
Yaw Boadu Ayeboafoh

Bishop David Oyedepo has counselled: " Do not let someone else's unfaithfulness affect your faithfulness. The race of life is entirely personal."

Whilst each of us must work for their own salvation.

Dr Martin Luther King has argued succintly that " an injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere, " and that what may affect one will affect all.

One sage has also postulated that " no matter how tall your grand parents are , you must do your own growing" but this contrasts with a Ghanaian saying which translates loosely as when one is born on a hill it does not take long to grow, to wit " Se yewo wo to esie so a wo nnkyete nnyin."

The conviction of Daniel Obinim and two of his associates to a fine for criminally assaulting two teenage members of his church on the claim that he is the foster parent must mark a watershed for taking legal action against so-called men of God who abuse the fundamental human rights of their congregants.

Whereas the 1992 Constitution upholds the right of religious worship and belief, it equally abhors any action that undermines the dignity and respect of individuals.

It is noteworthy that the Constitution provides that freedoms and rights must go with the corresponding duties and obligations.

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The United Nations has a philosophy that there can be no exercise of responsibility in an atmosphere where there are no freedoms but maintains that the enjoyment of freedom without a commitment to responsibility undermines and renders the freedom meaningless.

In recent times some men of God have brought shame to Christian worship because of the way they exploit their church members.

While we are admonished to test the spirit and see which one is from God, it sometimes becomes difficult, especially when most of the people abused and exploited in the name of God are vulnerable, especially when they suffer from sickness that are difficult to diagnose and treat.

There are others who baselessly accuse old women in particular of witchcraft.

Many of these men of God have in recent times focussed on innocent children who are forced or coached to admit that they are possessed by the devil and thus predisposed to evil acts.

The Childrens Act enjoins all persons to at all times appreciate the vulnerability and innocence of children and not expose them to indignity. But what we are seeing these days do not portend good for children.

Jesus Christ of Nazareth, in whose name some of these men of God claim their calling and authority loved children and described them as heirs to the mighty throne of God.

Therefore, when we subject children to abuse and ridicule, we demean and dehumanise them.

Accordingly if these two teenagers who were assaulted as part of discipline have had their day in court, and it was the state which sought justice, then it stands to reason that from now on when all such bestiality and torturing of children come into the open, the state must be willing to prosecute the villains and charlatans who abuse them in the name of the Lord God Almighty.

For as the good book maintains, if you steal but do not murder you are still guilty of crime because it is the same God who said do not steal who also asked human beings not to murder. Abuse of children is abuse even if the punishment is graduated.

There is no permissibility for innocent children to be abused and humiliated because in the face of the law, children have no sense if responsibility and therefore lack capacity to consent and own up.

We cannot allow our children to be so abused and subjected to indignity in the name of Christianity.

If even parents who abuse their children are hauled before the law, why are we not doing anything to ensure that religious bigots do not have their way. If indeed we consider children to be important as future leaders then we have to nip the menace in the bud, otherwise we would be enmeshed. We need to identify those who speak with the voice of God from the charlatans.

We do not claim that there are no genuine men of God but ours is a generation yearning for miracles, fair or foul.

As in the days of Jeremiah, those who teach the true word of God are despised while those who preach prosperity are lauded. Do not forget King Zedekiah threw Jeremiah into prison but Nebuchadnezzer conquered Jerusalem and freed him.

The abuse of children in God's name must be nipped in the bud.

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