The Ghana Catholic Bishopsâ€™ Conference is demanding a closedown of the Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex (LGBTQI) office space recently opened in Accra as the practice is morally wrong and against the teaching of Christianity.
The Conference has also called on the President and Parliament to state unambiguously their position on the matter of homosexuality and its practice in Ghana.
â€œFinally, we also urge the Executive and the Legislature never to be cowed down or to succumb to the pressure to legalize the rights of LGBTQIs in Ghana.â€
The Conference in a statement signed by its President, the Most Reverend Philip Naameh, who is also the Metropolitan Archbishop of Tamale, to declare its stance on the practice of LGBTQI, said the Church saw the practice of homosexuality as something condemned by the Scriptures.
It said the practice was incompatible with the creation stories relating to man and woman in the book of Genesis in the Holy Bible.
â€œThe Church makes a distinction between â€˜the homosexual condition or tendencyâ€™ and â€˜individual homosexual actionsâ€™. For the Church, the latter is â€˜intrinsically disorderedâ€™ and is â€˜in no case to be approved of. In other words, while the Church does not condemn people for being homosexuals or for having the homosexual tendency, it condemns the homosexual acts that homosexuals perform,â€ the statement said.
It explained that the Church rejected the unfounded and demeaning assumption that the sexual behaviour of homosexual persons was always and totally compulsive and, therefore, they should not be blamed for their homosexual acts.
Even though the Church strongly condemned homosexual acts, it insisted that the rights of homosexuals as persons be respected.
â€œHomosexuals are also human beings, created in the image of God, and they should enjoy the same fundamental human rights that all people enjoy. But what are these human rights? By human rights we mean the universal, inviolable and inalienable rights that are due to the human person as a rational being possessing a free will.
â€œIn the light of the foregoing, it is not right to subject homosexuals to any form of harassment simply because they are homosexuals,â€ the statement said.
The intrinsic dignity of each person must always be respected in word, in action and in law, the statement said, explaining that homosexuals must be accepted with respect, compassion and sensitivity.
â€œAccording to Pope Francis, the homosexual person needs to be â€œrespected in his or her dignity and treated with consideration, and â€˜every sign of unjust discriminationâ€™ is to be carefully avoided, particularly any form of aggression or violenceâ€ (Amoris Laetitia, 250).
Families with LGBT members need â€œrespectful pastoral guidanceâ€ from the church and its pastors so that gays and lesbians can fully carry out Godâ€™s will in their lives (Amoris Laetitia, 250).
Nevertheless, according to the Churchâ€™s understanding of human rights, it said the rights of homosexuals as persons do not include the right of a man to marry a man or of a woman to marry a woman, emphasising that this is morally wrong and goes against Godâ€™s purpose for marriage.
The Conference, therefore, supported the stance of the Executive Secretary of the National Coalition for Proper Human Sexual Rights and Family Values, Lawyer Moses Foh-Amoaning, who condemned the European Union in Ghana for asking Ghanaians to respect and tolerate LGBTQI individuals in the country.
â€œWe, the Catholic Bishops of Ghana, write to condemn all those who support the practice of homosexuality in Ghana. We also commend other individuals who have spoken in condemnation of this practice. We do this because the Roman Catholic Church is opposed to this abominable practice,â€ the statement noted.