The Methodist Bishop of Obuasi Diocese, Rt. Rev. Stephen Richard Bosomtwe-Ayensu, has challenged President Mahama for threatening to sanction heads of schools over religious intolerance.
‘The presidential directive is nothing less than intimidation and a call for religious norms and moral values to be ignored in the country’s institutions of training,’ he observed.
President Mahama last Thursday in his State of the Nation address, told parliament that it was wrong under the country’s Constitution for Christian students to be compelled to attend Muslim congregational prayers or Muslim students to be compelled to attend church services.
He stated that he would sanction heads of schools who violate the constitutional provisions.
According to him, if the practice was allowed to continue, it would undermine the sanctity of mission schools, and the sense of uniqueness and identity would also be lost.
Rt. Rev. Bosomtwe-Ayensu told DAILY GUIDE that while the 1992 Constitution guarantees freedom of association, they (associations) also have a set of rules that must be obeyed by anyone who volunteers to join them.
‘Why do we say if you go to Rome, do what the Romans do? If this statement is still relevant in nation-building, then the presidential statement must be reframed,’ he stated.
The reverend minister stated that the president’s statement would promote insubordination and indiscipline in various schools which would invariably make them unmanageable, aside making the heads of such institutions timid.
‘Our traditional chiefs do not go to mosque for obvious reasons – there are no chairs in the mosque, and that is the norm at the mosque. Sending stools there for our chiefs to sit on will violate the sanctity of the place,’ he noted.
‘Christianity is not in competition with any religion. It does not force persons to belong to it. Christianity is very liberal in its membership drive and more importantly, invitational,’ he asserted.
Bishop Bosomtwe-Ayensu added: ‘Let those who chose to go to Christian or Islamic schools adhere to principles and rules there, as they made those choices voluntarily, else we will breed segregation at the foundation of education.’
From Ernest Kofi Adu, Kumasi
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