|Stephane Tchakam, Charge de Communication Pan Africa ILGA|
Today a partner institution to the Presbyterian Church of Ghana (PCG), the Presbyterian Church (USA), officially removes barriers to the ordination of gay and lesbian persons.
It is a declaration by the Presbyterian Church (USA) that LGBTI persons are of sacred worth, are not sinful and are worthy of equality at the highest levels of leadership. By contrast, the Presbyterian Church of Ghana (PCG) issued a statement on 5 July declaring that homosexuality is, "unnatural, un-African, abnormal, filthy and unbiblical" and that same-sex marriages are an "unholy, unbiblical and unnatural partnership or alliance."
In response to the increased visibility of the LGBTI community, the Moderator of the General Assembly of Presbyterian Church of Ghana (PCG) formally condemned the community in the media at the end of June. Rev. Emmanuel Martey called on the government and church to "reduce the high rate of indiscipline in the country."
Ironically, the Presbyterian Church of Ghana (PCG) has been almost completely silent about the decision to ordain gay and lesbian people by their partner denomination the Presbyterian Church (USA). The statement issued on 5 July makes veiled references to what they perceive in their American partner.
In most Western communities, it all begins with a political pressure group fighting for “human rights” and “social justice.” The social justice arguments are so effective that the group succeeds in having “rights legislation” passed in its favor. Since homosexuality has been made a social justice issue in the secular realm, the Church is placed in a state of confusion or dilemma and becomes afraid of being accused of “social injustice” and victimization of gay and lesbians. This is happening to Christian churches in America, Canada and Europe. It has also occurred in South Africa—the most Westernize Country on the Continent of Africa. Therefore, to make everyone “comfortable” and the efforts to avoid confrontation, most churches condone what the Bible describes as sin. Besides, some churches feel that abiding strictly to Biblical principles would make them lose membership in churches that are already shrinking in size...
Today, we have observed with dismay the claim of homosexuals that nowhere in Scripture are homosexuality and same-sex “committed and loving relationships condemned.” Therefore, Gay and Lesbian (or Pro-gay) theology seeks to redefine homosexuality as God-ordained and thus morally permissible. They thus describe themselves as “Christians” and claim to respect the Bible.
d. Should the “gay Christian” claim to respect Biblical authority be taken seriously? They claim that Biblical references used to condemn homosexuality have been mistranslated, used out of context, interpreted out of prejudice against homosexuals, and only applied to Jewish cultural context and therefore biblical judgments about homosexuality are not relevant to contemporary debate.
e. We have also observed with consternation how Church leaders and Christian theologians in some places have totally ignored the Bible as the guidelines for Christian conduct in crucial doctrinal issues.
f. We are aware that there are seminaries in North America and other places where some professors and students are not affiliated to any church at all. Neither do they attend church services. Students are admitted into seminaries and theological institutions who have not been baptized into any church. If indeed, theology is Fides quaerens intellectum (meaning “Faith Seeking Understanding”), one then wonders what such an unbaptized person goes to theological institution and seminary to do. Sad to say, some of these much un-churched students end up being leaders of churches simply because they have had seminary training. What are we to expect from such leaders with regard to preaching and teaching the Word of God? Will they have respect or obey the teachings of the Bible? Is it surprising that we should have bishops and priests who are gay? This is one of the strategies of Satan to infiltrate the Church and to side-track the Church. We are calling on churches everywhere to wake up and be faithful to the God of the Bible.
g. According to homosexuals, the many versions of the Bible in the English language only reflect the worldview, beliefs and mind set of their respective translators and that their personal biases distort their work. We, of the Christian Churches in Ghana, deem it unacceptable that people be frowned upon and described as ignorant, unreasonable, un-academic, and unenlightened because they insist on proven standards of decency.
Beyond the hateful rhetorical tone and rejection of the values of Jesus by the Presbyterian Church of Ghana (PCG) statement, the statement lacks a sound biblical/theological, confessional and scientific framework about the issue.
The Presbyterian Church of Ghana (PCG) would do well to make a study of three resources:
(This has been added to African Activist's resources section under Religion)
Jesus, the Bible, and Homosexuality, Revised and Expanded Edition: Explode the Myths, Heal the Church. This book was written by Jack Rogers, a Presbyterian Evangelical Christian. There is a free study guide available for the book.
The Belhar Confession. This reformed South African confession outlined a Christian response to apartheid. It can also be used a framework for a Christian response to the segregation and oppression of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) persons in Africa.
An Open Statement from the Psychological Society of South Africa to the People and Leaders of Uganda Concerning The Anti-Homosexuality Bill 2009. The scientific view of sexual orientation.