The Church is expected to champion the moral uprightness of the society. The Church is populated with individuals who have divergent political opinions as well as those who are apolitical. It is for these reasons that the Church must at all times, ensure that it balances the interests of its members before coming out on issues of politics. Any act that portrays the Church as standing for one political party, automatically divides the church. The cohesion the church is expected to have is lost. The leadership of the Church should understand that leading the church does not make them the only people who have views and opinions. In seeking spiritual purification, people do not consider the status of those who lead them in the church. This is why Professors would humble themselves before individuals who have not attained a quarter of their level of education. This is because, the anointed is a special person ordained by God. By succumbing to the leadership of the church, we have not subdued our intelligence and ability to think. We have equally not subsumed our opinions to those of our church leaders.
In view of this, the Presbyterian Church of Ghana must take steps to ensure that the type of leadership provided by Rev. Prof. Emmanuel Martey over the years is placed in its proper context in the Ghanaian society. It is easy to distinguish political comments from comments made at the pulpit that are aimed at checking the moral standing of leaders of the country. Governance and politics are not mutually exclusive. Politicians are not evil men. Any attempt by any man of God to project a group of individuals as evil because they do not stand for their political beliefs is most unfortunate. The Bible is not the operation manual for the practice of politics. Any man of God, who chooses to meddle in politics, cannot expect to be addressed with the Bible, but with politics. No one would attempt to take away the fact that aside being men and women of God, these individuals equally have their political beliefs. They have the rights and liberties to make political comments. Those parameters must be clearly defined. What is dangerous is for a man of God to assume neutrality while making damaging political comments. The difficulty it presents is that, one does not know when to take the God out of the man and to deal with him on political basis.
The Biblical cliché “touch not my anointed and do my prophet no harm”, appear to provide cover for political men of God. When the church and its leadership appear political, it becomes necessary to probe and ascertain their ideological leanings. There is no way a capitalist of a pastor would appreciate anything a socialist government would do. In the same light, there is no way a socialist man of God would appreciate anything done by a capitalist government. What the church is expected to do under all circumstances is to ensure that they hold the spiritual torch to show the way for God’s intervention in decisions taken by the leaders so as to get their flock to a safer destination.
That is why the recent pronouncements of the outgoing Moderator of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana are very disappointing. Of course, the church has a role to play in the fight against corruption and other negative acts. This does not call for making unsubstantiated allegations. Politicians are mostly fond of alleging without proof. The church must stay away from that. The Moderator must move a notch ahead of politicians and name the individuals who came to offer him bribe. We cannot continue behaving the same way where leadership of the church are not acting differently from politicians. It does not improve the society. The new Moderator must take steps to unite the church. There are silent cracks in the church which need to be addressed. He must ensure that he rebuilds confidence in the church with assurances that he is willing to work with everyone no matter their political affiliations.
The church must understand it has membership that cut across all political parties and must be in a position to lead their flock with unity and practical neutrality.
BY STEPHEN KOBINA ATTUH, A SOCIAL COMMENTATOR