The Presbyterian Church of Ghana has taken its opposition of homosexuality within the country to another level by planning to establish therapy centers with the purpose of counseling and rehabilitating gay and lesbian citizens.
In the country, where homosexuality is illegal, a misdemeanor offense, it has been a hot button topic for many years, and especially in recent months. Despite illegality, many gay and lesbian people live in the country openly.
Religious officials have been on an ongoing campaign to have homosexuality banned from the country and are urging the government to establish a clear stance on homosexuality within the country so that plans for the rehabilitation centers can continue.
Right Reverend Professor Emmanuel Martey, moderator of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana, told Joy News that the church providing these counseling services should not be misconstrued with sympathy toward gays.
“I have been a minister for over 33 years and I’ve ministered to homosexuals, some of my students who are now ministers have ministered to homosexuals and they have come out of it so when I am talking I know what I am talking about,” he said.
Reverend Martey details that 36 Ministerial Probationers will be commissioned to lead the centers and counsel gay people in need. With the stance that homosexuality is the result of demonic spirits, he describes the counseling as a release of these spirits.
“We will let them go through a vigorous spiritual exercise and if it is spiritual, it will come out, they will be free,” he said.
The Presbyterian Church of Ghana's plans come after Paul Evans Aidoo MP, Ghana’s Western Region Minister ordered the immediate arrest of all homosexuals in the country’s west last month.
Before that, the Christian Council of Ghana urged the nation's citizens not to support presidential candidates that support gay and lesbian rights within the country.
"We call on all Christians to vote against all politicians who promote and support homosexuality," General Secretary of the Council, Dr. Fred Deegbe said.