The Presbyterian Church of Ghana (PCG) announced this week that it would be stepping up promotion of reparative therapy due to so-called concerns over the spread of homosexuality in the country.
The Moderator of the General Assembly of the PCG, Right Reverend Professor Emmanuel Martey said this at the commissioning of 36 Ministerial Probationers of the church at the Ranseyer Congregation, at Abetifi.
He said homosexuality was spreading fast in the society and urged the country’s leaders and Ministers to put up effective measures to check it and transform the destiny of the country.
The Moderator of the General Assembly of the PCG said the church need leaders, who will go out of the ordinary, filled and empowered by the Holy Spirit to advocate for the deprived.
Ghana criminalizes homosexuality through its version of anti-sodomy laws that forbid “unnatural carnal knowledge,” but homosexuality seems to have recently become a focus for intensifying (and negative) political, social and religious discussion.
Reverend Martey is also said to have called on the government to announce a “clear” position on homosexuality and to help the church to combat “the spread of the practice in the society.”
The reparative therapy to be used will reportedly emphasize the importance of prayer and religion, and would also appear to lend itself to some form of exorcism practice.
Reverend Martey is quoted by Joy Online saying he has helped and seen others help individuals “come out of” homosexuality. When asked what causes homosexuality, he apparently had this to say:
Describing homosexuality as the result of demonic spirits, Rev. Prof. Martey said in addition to the counseling, they will be praying for them and we will let them go through a vigorous spiritual exercise and if it is spiritual, it will come out, they will be free.
The call for reparative therapy is troubling. Such therapy, whether religion based or otherwise, is a discredited practice the overwhelming majority of the mainstream scientific community has rejected as at best unproven and at worst severely damaging to those put through it. This move, however, seems to be an escalation of a problem that has been building for quite a few months.
Readers will recall that in July a Ghanaian official called for the immediate arrest of all gays and lesbians in the nation’s Western Region. Continued persecution of homosexuality in this manner would only draw international condemnation. However, the waters muddy when it comes to reparative based therapy, especially when cloaked in a religious ethos, given that, for instance, there are many forces in the U.S. that still feel such therapy is a viable way to treat gay people.