The Minister for Chieftaincy and Religious Affairs, Mr Stephen Asamoah Boateng says Government is developing a national policy to protect and guide religious activities. Saying the document would address challenges that arose from the coexistence of different faiths and beliefs in society.
It will also provide a framework for the protection and promotion of the rights and freedoms of all religious groups and the prevention and resolution of conflicts that may arise from religious differences.
At a press conference in Accra, the minister indicated that since he assumed office in April this year, he had opportunities to interact with leaders of religious bodies and civil societies in finding a harmonious coexistence amongst the citizenry. Part of the discussions have centred on how the religious bodies would be encouraged to put in structures to self-manage their front,” he added.
To Mr Boateng, the practice of religion had divided opinions ranging from weak enforcement and limited adherence to laws, religious fanatism, noise pollution, money laundering, and exploitation of the vulnerable within the religious landscape.
Others include limited documentation on code of conduct and succession that brought confusion and conflicts, false indoctrination, incitement to gender-based violence, inter and intra-faith disputes and little-known organisational structure or hierarchical structure.
He added that the consultations were crucial steps in the development of a comprehensive and inclusive policy that would promote religious harmony, diversity and tolerance.
The stakeholder consultations were made possible through technical and financial support from the United Nations Population Fund Ghana (UNFPA) Country Office.
Dr Wilfred Ochan, UNFPA Country Representative, said many people all over the world looked up to religious leaders for guidance, direction, and inspiration, especially when they were venturing into new and unfamiliar areas.
Dr Ochan said religious leaders were also competent in mobilizing communities to fight against social vices and all forms of violence and provided support to children and youth.
He said religious bodies were helpful in shaping attitudes and bridging the gap between race, class, and ethnicity. Adding that it was worth having a national framework to guide their activities through a broader spectrum of consultations.
Source: Oyerepafmonline.com/ Bernard K Dadzie