It is not as far-fetched as it sounds. Recent events have shown that something very much like that exists in Ghana’s spiritual firmament – to the extent that proselytizing for or disavowing a Christocentric cathedral, being canvassed by NPP’s Nana Akufo-Addo, is threatening to tear the faiths apart. True or false, for example, there’ve been some very harsh public spats between Islamic clerics on the propriety or otherwise of the National Chief Imam contributing GHC50,000, to the construction of Nana Akufo-Addo’s cathedral, which his apologists call the “Mother Church of Ghana”. An Islamic cleric has more or less declared a fatwa on a leading cleric of his faith on the issue – a very serious matter indeed. Within the Christian community, it is the same, with some Christian leaders opening up their places of worship to campaign and raise funds for the yet-to-be-built cathedral and others saying, no, not in my church!
Already much controversy has been raised by what many believe as a political move by the close advisor, Sheikh Armiyawo, to force the old cleric’s hand to support he Armiyawo’s NPP political agenda. Equally, eyebrows raising, has been Archbishop Palmer Buckle’s open break with the Catholic Church to lend his name to the building of the cathedral. And perhaps not too surprising Archbishop Duncan Williams’ front row cheerleading and so on and so forth.
The Methodist Church of Ghana has been an unabashed NPP church for a long time. Their late Moderator was even an elder of the party. I remember, a few years ago, when I attended the funeral (2015) of my late mother-in-law at the Calvary Methodist Church, Ridge, in Accra, Nana Addo appeared on the scene as a mourner. Election 2016 was only a year away. The choir erupted into wild cheering. The solemnity of the occasion gave way to an orgiastic partisan political campaign atmosphere that was embarrassingly unholy. The eternal journey of the dear old lady was for a while sacrificed to the earthly political pursuits of candidate Akufo-Addo…
Some Presbyterian Church leaders, some Evangelical leaders, some members of the Christian Council of Ghana and some Muslim leaders are known political party cardholders. The Imam of Kumasi openly declares his NPP loyalty, often sounding as if that came before his faith and names like Rev. Martey, et al, are all there in this unholy marriage between politics and religion.
Chatting with a friend – a Christian – recently, who like me, is a very determined critic of the so-called national cathedral, the friend remarked ruefully, “we have never known him to be a church fancier.” Due to the accident of birth, we are all born into one faith or the other, or grow up and make a personal decision to change faiths…
To use the faith you were born into, or changed into, to prosecute your political agenda cannot be for God’s glory, but the self-glorification of a politician, hence my constant warning about this so-called national cathedral as having nothing to do with God but everything to do with the divisiveness and deviousness of a politician. If the building is meant as a focus for all Ghanaians, why does it have only a Christian cross towering above in the design so far made public…where is the Star of David…where is the Crescent and Star of Islam…leaving for the moment the many faiths that some Ghanaians are adherents of? But seriously, what logic, if any, suggests that you can bring people of different faiths – some with diametrically opposed practices of worship – together under one roof of a mere physical structure contrived as a “national” cathedral? What a con what a lie!
My surprise, my pain, my annoyance, is that, as a people, we seem so laid back on issues that teeter on very fundamental chasms of our nationhood. Chasms that we can easily fall in and be consumed violently like in a black hole. Here we are, with this quasi-political, quasi-religious, quasi-pagan intrusion into our space and the perpetrator of the aberration is being feted even as our bona fide faiths are being threatened with schisms. When the capture is over, I hope there would be enough people with good consciences left to confess to their complicity.
And before I conclude, something to lighten the mood: DO OR DIE!
I have been laughing so much. President Mahama at pains to school the philistines, who had jumped on to the bandwagon of condemnation and vile criticism, when they did not even know that it was not only a correct expression but an appropriate one. Typical, isn’t it? And that is the mindset of those lining up behind this wasteful cathedral venture,
Alhaji Abdul-Rahman Harruna Attah, © 2021
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