The Leader of the Concerned Clergy has given credence to assertions that churches and their leaders are aligned to Ghana’s political parties.
Reverend Benny Wood insists the assertion is not a perception but a reality which has its historical underpinnings firmly rooted in the 1980s.
His comments are in reaction to an admonition by the General Overseer of the Action Faith Chapel International, Archbishop Duncan Williams, for leaders of Churches to do away with partisanship.
Speaking at the National Thanksgiving Service on Sunday, Duncan Williams regretted what he said is the increasing division in the Churches in Ghana. While one church prays for one political party, he asserted, another church prays for another political party.
“There are men of God who are praying for and there are others who are praying against… We are divided, someway somehow. There has to be a way to unite our ranks. It is dangerous for some to be praying for and others will be praying against,” he said.
And Benny Woode strongly agrees.
He told Joy News’ Evans Mensah: “It is a very real issue that Archbishop raised….This has a history to it.”
Narrating that history, Rev Woode said in the early 80s the Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC) led by Flt Lt. Jerry John Rawlings decreed a law which demanded that all churches be registered before it could operate in Ghana.
That law, he said, angered the churches and its leaders with most of them publicly preaching against the Rawlings’ PNDC administration.
He said even after the PNDC metamorphosed into a democratic party, now called the National Democratic Congress (NDC), still led by President John Rawlings, the leaders of the churches did not forgive him.
Woode recalled instances where he personally joined a team of Christians to pray at the Achimota Forest so the NDC will be kicked out of government in an election.
Rev Benny Woode said Churches had to align themselves to the New Patriotic Party not necessarily because they believed in its ideology but because it was a credible alternative to the NDC.
That alignment, he believes, is the root cause of the partisanship in Ghana’s churches.
But the Chairman of the National Peace Council, Prof Emmanuel Asante thinks otherwise.
He said the church has a right to express itself in different ways.
Therefore he does not see any division in it, citing instances where the various church groups have had to agree on one social or political issue.