President Evans Atta Mills, on Tuesday, chastised religious leaders, who have replaced the message of salvation with the teaching of materialism in Churches, stressing that the situation was destroying the moral fiber of society.
“In recent times, the church has been plagued with countless number of charlatans, who have relegated Jesus’ message of salvation to the background and replaced it with the teaching of materialism,” he said. President Mills made the remarks in a speech read on his behalf, by Nii Armah Ashietey, Greater Accra Regional Minister, at the maiden International Conference, organised by the International Clergy Association (ICA).
He condemned religious leaders, who are obsessed with material riches and whose sole objective is to ‘fleece’ the flock instead of discouraging the congregation from engaging in cyber fraud and other ‘get-rich quick’ schemes.
“The practice of occultism, ‘sakawa’, cyber fraud in our communities of late is very worrying and must engage the attention of the clergy,” adding that it was rather unfortunate that some clergymen were deeply involved in the evil act.
Switching his attention to the offertories at most religious services, President Mills said the services were conducted in more repugnant ways, making it impossible for the poor to attend churches. “Offertories during church service are conducted in the most repugnant manner in the name of God to the extent that some people are now reluctant to go to church,” President Mills.
He charged leadership of churches to conduct self-appraisal to rid the profession of the charlatans that have driven the reputation of the religious career in the mud.
President Mills called for close collaboration between the church and the State to lift the citizenry from poverty, ignorance and disease. He reiterated government’s commitment to scale up agricultural production to eradicate poverty and provide employment for youth. “It is refreshing to note that government has set before the nation the objective of raising agricultural growth to at least six per cent per year,” he said.
“By this target, the government in subsequent years will increase investment in agriculture by a minimum of ten per cent of the national budget, which will be more than four to five per cent of the average commitment to the sector previously.”
Bishop Dr Charles Abban, President of ICA, said the conference offered participants the platform to stamp out indiscipline in the clergy profession and to discuss issues aimed at promoting the welfare and course of the association.
“Conference delegates would draft a modality and framework for a code of ethics that will seek to regulate the priestly work of ICA members,” he said.
The delegates attending the conference are from Ghana, Nigeria, Togo, Benin, La Cote D’Ivoire, Liberia, United Kingdom, Ireland, Germany, United States of America, Venezuela and Brazil.