The Presbyterian Church of Ghana has spoken out in favor of tough penalties for public displays of same-sex affection and for anyone who supports LGBTQ rights – tougher penalties than Ghana’s controversial anti-LGBTQ bill currently awaiting action in Parliament. As soon as the church announced its position, it was quickly challenged by the LGBTQ-friendly Interfaith Diversity Network of West Africa (IDNOWA).
Under current laws in Ghana, consensual same-sex intimacy is punishable by up to three years in prison. Along with numerous other homophobic provisions, the anti-LGBTQ bill would increase that sentence to three to five years in prison.
The bill would also make it a crime to work to establish LGBTQ rights (in the words of the bill, “encourage or promote…any activity that undermines human sexual rights and Ghanaian family values stipulated in the bill). law”. The punishment would be two to four months in prison.
Additionally, the bill would require a six- to 12-month prison sentence for public displays of same-sex affection.
The Presbyterian Church has argued for passage of the anti-LGBTQ bill, but said some of its provisions were too lenient. In any case, the church says, the minimum sentence should be three years.
Davis Mac-Iyalla, managing director of IDNOWA, testified against the bill at an earlier hearing of the Committee on Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs.
In response to the Presbyterian Church’s March 10 remarks, Mac-Iyalla said, “I still do not understand what God is leading the Presbyterian Church in Ghana to believe that the sweeping anti-LGBTIQ bill is not not bad enough and calls for a hasher. right.”
Below are Mac-Iyalla’s responses to statements made to the committee by Dr. Rev. Benzies Isaac Adu-Okeree, President of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana.
Adu Okeree told the committee that extended sentences are “necessary to deter unacceptable behavior that harms the common good of society.”
Mac Iyalla said, “True religion calls us to love, mercy, and compassion. Love does not dishonor others.
Adu Okeree said homosexuality is taboo both in Christianity and in traditional Ghanaian culture.
Mac Iyalla said, “That’s wrong. There are different beliefs about marriage, gender, and sexual ethics among Christians, among Muslims, and among traditional religious communities. It’s true all over Ghana, I believe heterosexuals or homosexuals are created by God and neither is taboo. Nor is homosexuality.
Adu Okeree implied that homosexuality is like incest and bestiality.
Mac Iyalla said: “Homosexuals are not created in laboratories, they are natural. It’s only when you allow incestuous breeding that you have real moral issues.
Adu Okeree says: “The practice and promotion of [LGBTQ people] is in total conflict with the teachings of Our Lord Jesus Christ and against the values and norms of Ghanaian culture.
Mac Iyalla said, “As a Bible-believing Christian, I disagree, Genesis chapter 1 describes God’s act of creation. I know from the scriptures and from scientific discovery how infinitely diverse God’s creation has been.
Adu Okeree says that allowing the [LGBTQ] the activities of the community “fester”…”endanger the natural existence of the human race.”
Mac Iyalla said: “The book of Leviticus contains a list of forbidden behaviors, some of which are called abominations. These are rules on what counts as kosher, similar to Muslim halal and haram laws, they should not be the basis of secular Ghanaian laws.