The doctrine of ‘SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE’ is a sacrosanct pillar of modern democratic governance. It is enshrined in most formal (written) national constitutions including those of the United States of America and Ghana’s 1992 constitution.
Separation of Church and State simply means (the church) various religious institutions in Ghana stay out of government’s business while (the state) Ghana government, in turn, keeps its nose out of religious activities. Religious institutions do God’s or divine work and government officials (President included) attend church/mosque etcetera as private citizens practicing their religious faith.
Governments of Ghana’s 4th Republic appear to have adhered to this principle of separation, at least on paper, until a few days ago when the Daily Guide published an article alleging that the ruling NDC intends to sponsor private Christian Pilgrimages to the nation of Israel with public money.
Most Ghanaians, this author included, found the Daily Guide story incredulous and waited for the government to rubbish it. But alas, ours was wishful thinking. First a Catholic Bishop told the world that his church has received and declined Ghana government’s offer. Then a Bishop Benny Wood of Concerned Clergy Association of Ghana surfaced, ready to take the government cheese to Israel.
On the government side, the Minister of Youth and Sports, Elvis Afriyie-Ankrah, author of the “invitation letter,” clarified that government was only facilitating a privately sponsored $600,000 trip to Israel. The RESURRECTED Kofi Adams, junior scribe of the NDC, chipped in the party’s support and is quoted to have asked Ghanaians on radio “What is gov't's crime in sponsoring Clergy to intercede for Ghana?”
And finally, President John IV Mahama himself entered the fray asking Ghanaians to read and consider the first paragraph of the invitation letter. “Government of the Republic of Ghana has secured Sponsorship to take two hundred Ghanaians from the Christian Community on a pilgrimage to Israel.”
This article will heed the President entreaty and examine the paragraph. The phrase “Government of the Republic of Ghana has secured Sponsorship,” is eerily familiar. It is the triumphant announcement that tells Ghanaians that government has been working hard on our behalf and has achieved its objective. It shows our Government has used the nation’s name to actively solicit foreign governments, donor organizations, corporations, and individuals for a good cause that benefits our nation.
We read and hear this when our government solicits and secures funds for Ghana’s participation in international sporting events like the World Cup or the Olympics. We see this when government secures funds to aid in natural disasters as the ongoing displacement of people by rainstorm in Walewale, West Mamprusi district in Northern region. Mr. President, where is the secured fund to help these people?
As mentioned above, Government seeks sponsorship for grave national needs. Sponsors or donors who aid any nation in its time of need proudly associate their names to the sponsorship. They (the donors) do this because sponsorship gives them free publicity; it puts a humane or humanitarian face to their activities, it gives them goodwill and tax breaks.
1. What national need prompted the governing NDC to secure sponsorship for the Christian Pilgrimage in question?
2. Who are the faceless, nameless private sponsors paying for the trip? How did our government identify and approach these sponsors?
3. What makes these ghost sponsors interested in the proposed Christian pilgrimage and why are they hiding in the shadows? Are they afraid to come forward?
4. Why (200) two hundred Christian Pilgrims? How did the government arrive at this number?
The resurrected Kofi Adams must be heartbroken since Bishop Wood of the Concerned Clergy (concerned about what?) told Ghanaians that the mysteriously sponsored Christian Pilgrims will not be interceding for Ghana in Israel. Instead they will be sight-seeing at our government’s effort or expense.
Surely, there are more than two hundred Ghanaians living in Israel. If the NDC’s junior scribe thinks that prayers from Israel are the cure for Ghana’s numerous ailments, why not ask these folks including our embassy officials to pray for the nation? Does God give priority to prayers of clergymen in Israel?
Free prayer for Ghana from a Ghanaian American
Divine God, we glorify thy name. We thank thee for the natural resources bestowed on Ghana. We thank thee for our Cocoa, Timber, Oil, Gold, Diamonds, Bauxite, Manganese and others. We thank thee for pouring peace like heavenly dew upon the nation during the 2012 elections. We thank thee for the miracle of rebasing which made our HIPC nation a middle income economy.
We pray for national wisdom that transcends tribalism and blind adherence to partisan edits. We pray that you will make our leaders remember at all times that they have pledged to serve. Please keep the spirits of bribery, corruption, nepotism and self-aggrandizement from their hearts. Please stop their lip service and make them practice their often avowed integrity and patriotism.
Please let our leaders and pundits understand that the world sees and hears what they do and say. Please guide our politicians from poor decisions that cost us dearly in theft and judgment debts. Please don’t let our chiefs, judges and clergy sell their integrity for food as Esau sold his birth right. And God, deliver Ghana from government sponsored, facilitated or secured pilgrimages. Amen!
Written & submitted by L. Kojo Yeboah , Raleigh NC, USA on 03/20/13