Religious leaders in Ghana are fueling homophobia and warning that gay people will take over the government if Christians are not vigilant.
According to The Chronicle, Lawrence Senyo, President of the Ashanti Regional Christian Council of Ghana Youth Ministry, made the claim at the Kumasi Methodist Youth Fellowship Conference, at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology.
Senyo said that Christians are taking their “dominion” for granted and that if they are not careful gay people will be voted into power in order to enact laws that are “abhorrent to Christendom”.
“Time is coming that homosexuals and gays will be leaders of Ghana, because we (Christians) are shying away from dominion,” he was quoted as saying.
The Chronicle also reported that he claimed that gay people plan to “hijack Christianity” in order to decide who the rest of the populace must worship.
These alarming kinds of comments perpetuate the idea that LGBT people are dangerous and separate from the rest of society. They also fuel the inflammatory belief that they have some kind of coordinated “agenda” to corrupt communities and families.
At the same conference, a message was read out on behalf of the Kumasi Methodist Diocesan Bishop, Right Rev Christopher Nyarko Andam. He stated that homosexuality was one of the dangers facing Ghanaian youth, alongside lawlessness, greediness, alcoholism, occultism, drug addiction, internet fraud and armed robbery.
Consensual male homosexuality, described as “unnatural carnal knowledge”, is illegal in Ghana, with penalties including three years’ imprisonment.
In February, the Speaker of Parliament, Mike Oquaye, called for laws against homosexuality to be ramped up. He urged parliament to consider “strengthening the laws to ban homosexuality as they exist,” adding, “may God forbid that it becomes a Ghanaian culture”.
A 2012 US Department of State Human Rights Report found that “LGBT persons faced widespread discrimination, as well as police harassment and extortion attempts” in Ghana.