A former General Secretary of the Christian Council of Ghana, Rev. Dr Kwabena Opuni-Frimpong, has called on the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection to come out with a bill that will stop religious leaders from exposing children with challenges on television.
He said the practice where some religious leaders exposed children who they accused of being wizards and witches and asked them to confess in the name of testimonies in front of television cameras was an abuse that could harm and destroy their relationships with other children.
“We need laws to stop religious leaders from abusing such children in the name of testimonies. Some of the things children say on television in the name of testimonies damage them.
Yes, children are going through challenges but we should not expose them in such a way that they can be discriminated against in school and later in life.
Making them confess on television that they are witches can work against their upbringing,” he explained.
Rev. Dr Opuni-Frimpong, who is also a Lecturer at the Department of Religious Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Kumasi, made the call when he gave an Easter message to children in a telephone interview with the Junior Graphic in Accra.
With the digitisation and proliferation of television channels in the country, most churches now own their television channels.
On their channels, they broadcast deliverance and miracle services showing pastors claiming to be casting out demons from people, including children.
Rev. Dr Opuni-Frimpong called on society to ensure that no matter the challenges some children and young people were going through, it would offer them helpful examples as to how they could manage those challenging moments.
He, therefore, called on the media, movie and the music industries in the country to ensure that the content they published were those that could help youngsters overcome their challenges.
“Those managing media programmes, especially the movie and music industries, must know that when youngsters go through challenges, they watch movies, listen and watch music videos, and sometimes go on the Internet.
In view of this, they should bear in mind effect on children when producing content for their programmes.
Some of them learn to engage in open sex, how to kill and commit suicide from such when they are faced with challenges,” he pointed out.
He commended the Junior Graphic for its role in educating, informing and entertaining children and recommended it for every child.
Commenting on the role the family played in the upbringing of children, he bemoaned the current trend where parents spent less time with children to pray, talk and supervise their homework because of their work schedules.
He said in the past, children were allowed to engage in extra-curricular activities such as joining school bands, debating clubs and playing football, but observed that today’s parents were deliberately discouraging their children from engaging in those extra-curricular activities because they wanted their children to get straight ‘Ones’ in the Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) to enable them to have their preferred senior high schools.
“But the human being is not only an academic being, they have other sides such as their emotional side that must be developed.
Gradually, we are taking all these things away from our academic institutions and producing people who have not developed emotionally. This is not good,” he emphasised.
Rev. Dr Opuni-Frimpong pointed out to children that just like Jesus who attained greatness through the suffering and pain on the cross, they were also bound to face challenges in their wish to go the extra mile.
However, he said, in the midst of such challenges, they could rely on their parents, religious leaders, Sunday school teachers and their peers who were of good behaviour for advice.