Despite Ghana fitting the definition of a secular state and being neutral towards religion, a Christian academic, Professor Charles Ackah, is insisting that Ghana is rather considered as a religious democracy amid the debate over the rights of LGBTQI+ persons.
Speaking on The Point of View, Prof. Ackah, who is also a research fellow at the Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research at the University of Ghana, argued that the idea of an almighty God features prominently in Ghana’s governance.
“All the presidents swear by God. If it is a Muslim, [he/she swears] by the Quran. The national anthem says ‘God bless our homeland Ghana’. This cannot be a secular state.”
“You can say we are not a Christian state, or we are not a theocracy, but we are not secular… Ghana believes in God; all our religions [portray this],” he said.
If Ghana wanted to become a secular state, Prof. Ackah said “then we need to make a lot of changes.”
Because he views Ghana as a religious state, he said it will have to adhere to its teachings, some of which run contrary to the LGBTQI+ lifestyle.
“…If you believe in the almighty God, then the Bible says we must obey this God,” Prof. Ackah said.
He stressed further that the government needs to be seen to be “promoting righteousness” with the anti -LGBTQI+ Bill.
With Parliament set to scrutinise this Bill further, Prof. Ackah expects some changes to the Bill to occur.
“I don’t think everything in the Bill is sacrosanct. That is why Parliament is going to discuss all of it, so we can discuss where it needs to be further integrated, what needs to be struck out and where we need to change the language.”
The Bill prescribes that people of the same sex who engage in sexual activity could spend over five years in jail.
Support for the LGBTQ+ community would also be criminalised.
Debate over the Bill intensified in the past week after 15 renowned legal, academic, and civil society professionals filled a memorandum challenging the legislation submitted to Parliament.
In the memorandum, they contend that the Bill, known fully as the Promotion of Proper Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values Bill 2021 is an “impermissible invasion of the inviolability of human dignity.”