Peter Appiah Turkson, the Cardinal of the Catholic Church is suggesting to the Ghanaian government to emulate the example of Rwanda by initiating steps to sanitise Ghana’s religious landscape.
An estimated 6,000 churches were closed across Rwanda in a government crackdown that began in March 2018 with 700 closures in the nation’s capital of Kigali.
Cardinal Turkson’s comments come on the back of a statement issued by the police administration last Friday, announcing that it had started analysing videos of prophecies made on the night of 31 December 2021, to see if any of them was communicated in breach of the laws of the country.
The police ahead of 2021 watchnight and New Year church services, cautioned against the communication of prophecies that had the potential to cause fear and panic to the public or endanger lives.
The police cautioned that “anybody found culpable will be put before the court.”
Touching on the development, Cardinal Turkson said the church must be a haven for God’s presence and not for doom-mongering.
“The end of year moment, you know again is a transition point and it can be hyped up by a sense of anxiety about the future and all of that, but precisely this is what is not supposed to be in the church because the church is the place where people are assured of God’s closeness and presence,” Cardinal Turkson said on The Asaase Breakfast Show Wednesday (12 January) with Kwaku Nhyira-Addo.
“So people should be encouraged rather to hold the hand of God and hold on to it and step into the future, rather than be thrown into a frenzy of uncertainty, insecurity and therefore fear for which they need somebody to predict the future for them.”
Cardinal Turkson added: “So if in that case as you say, the IGP says things will be scrutinised and all of that …, I think probably we can also learn from Rwanda. In the case of Rwanda, the proliferation of all of these churches is also being brought to control, and I think there is a law in Rwanda that says there are conditions which pastors or church founders must fulfil.”
He said more can be done in sanitising the activities of churches.
“At least some decent knowledge of the very books that you use for your church service which is the scriptures, this again is some kind of reductionist, reducing religion to just knowledge of literature of the Bible and whatever, but essentially we need to find a way of curtailing all of these.”