Christian organisations and churches have been advised to stay away from partisan politics, but rather educate the public on political issues and matters of national interest.
Very Reverend Professor Emmanuel Martey, who gave this advice, observed that even though education of the citizenry on political issues was essential, it is low this election year, and said it was the civic duty of the religious bodies to facilitate the education.
Prof. Martey, a former Moderator of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana, said this at the annual public lecture by the Bible Society of Ghana last Thursday in Accra.
The theme of the lecture was, “The Bible and Politics”.
The former Moderator stated that, currently, political personalities were using the Bible as a basis to draw in voters and followers to their cause, which was an abuse of the scriptures.
He urged Christian organisations and churches to use the Bible as a tool for the moral conscience of the government and political leaders, but not to use it to engage in partisan politics.
“The churches’ role in politics is to ensure that citizens in their communities engaged in peaceful, fair, transparent and accurate elections, and to ensure that citizens have all the information needed to make the right choice,” Prof. Martey added.
He said successive government had been suppressing the role of the Electoral Commission (EC) and the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) by cutting funds to them, thereby crippling their advocacy and educational outreaches, as such the church should intervene to ensure that all voters were aware of national issues, participated in political discussions and informed of all political parties and candidates.
“Although there are instances of politics in the Bible, Jesus refused to partake in it by refusing to be crowned a king, and by refusing to enter into confrontations with the Jewish leaders, so should all Christian organisations also desist from entering into politics,” Prof. Martey added.
Right Reverend Samuel Kofi Osabutey, Bishop of the Accra Diocese of the Methodist Church Ghana and chairman for the occasion, urged the churches to separate politics from the word of God, and play their roles effectively to ensure a peaceful election.
BY FREDERICK GADESE-MENSAH