Rev Dr Kwabena Opuni-Frimpong, a Lecturer at the Department of Religious Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Kumasi, has urged Ghanaians, especially, pastors to refrain from utterances that stifle the unity and cohesion of members of the society.
He said any careless utterances that divided and discriminated, especially, against women belonging to certain ethnic groups, as seen in the recent videos of some Ghanaian pastors, circulating on social media, were unfortunate and must be roundly condemned.
Speaking in an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA) in Accra, the Rev Opuni-Frimpong, a former General Secretary of the Christian Council of Ghana, said, the Church had over the years played key roles in gender empowerment and so “this is not the time for any pastor to do anything to derail such efforts and achievements through such negative utterances”.
He said he found it regrettable that some pastors, prophets and preachers, should be doing things to roll back the huge contributions made by the church in empowering women.
He recounted how the church had partnered other civil society groups to fight gender-based discrimination – trokosi, female genital mutilation, and other negative cultural practices like the Gambaga Witch Camp, which used to host only females, traditionally branded as “witches”.
Today, many women have been encouraged to occupy various responsible positions, while many of them have been educated through the specialized girls’ schools and teacher training colleges established by the church, all in a bid to empower them.
The Rev Opuni-Frimpong said despite various efforts, women still had a long way to go as many of them continued to face difficulties, penetrating the male-dominated society.
He added that it would not serve any good purpose, for some pastors to start denigrating women, through ethnocentric comments.
“We should not degrade them, we should not embarrass them, we should not go to church and tell them they are thieves, foolish and doormat.
“Ghanaian women, who dominate the church and society deserve better. The church should give them access to resources, the church should empower the women and pastors should be careful not to deviate from that.”
He said it was important for everybody to appreciate that ethnocentric and gender bias statements could divide the nation, adding that, at this period of time, what Ghana needed was utterances that would promote peace, unity and development.
The Rev Opuni-Frimpong urged the media not to allow people including pastors to use their channels to deride or make offensive comments likely to plunge the nation into chaos.
He said the National Media Commission and the Ghana Journalists Association to do more to help their members to uphold high standards of professionalism.
“We should not destroy the unity we have built in the country over the years. The pastors and the prophets, in particular, should not destroy the very fabric of society with such unguarded utterances”, he cautioned.