“Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and unto God what is God’s”, a popular quote from the Holy Book, the Bible.
Education and religion, particularly Christianity have all come a long way to contributing to the development of this nation as they all have significant number of people supportive of both ends.
In recent times, Christianity and Education have been brought under the same roof, such that places of learning are used for church services.
The trend now is such that people set upone-man churcheswithout first going through the necessary channels to acquire and secure a location to build an auditorium. But in order to keep the churches going, they resort to other alternatives, of which the most popular is public schools with just about the right sizes ofclassrooms, and use them as church locations and places of worship.
This act of using a building originally meant for learning purposes to do church services is obviously wrong as it has been frowned upon by authorities. But members of the Classroom Churches Association(C.C.A.), have come out to say that, they do not use the classrooms for free as heads of the various schools charge them either weekly, monthly or even yearlydepending on how long they want to use the place.
In January 2015, the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (A.M.A.) issued a ban on churches worshipping in classrooms and asked them toseek alternative places of worship. This ban obviously did not hold water as the act is still ongoing. Members of some victimized communities have complained that not only do they cause disturbances at night with their noise but also pose as a threat to schools’ property.
So the question now is, “are authorities doing enough to curb the situation or have they relaxed after one try?” Some members of society agree that, the Ghana Education Service (G.E.S.) should affirmatively take actions to sanction heads of schools who rent classrooms to pastors and churches.
Issuing just a ban is not enough. Assemblies should take a step further to enforce this by, if possible, bringing in the law enforcement agencies such as the police into the matter. Because if churches do not allow for their auditoriums be used as a learning space from Mondays to Fridays by students who have no or unhealthy classrooms to study in, why then should the opposite be allowed to operate?
Upon critical observation, the main reason and cause for this problem is the fact that churches have outnumbered every other infrastructure in this country.Many people claim to have been called by God and by all means they must operatea church and since they are in haste, the classrooms now suffer when a proper location to worship becomes hard to find.
In view of taking a step to really solving this problem, a body should be set up to be in charge of determining and approving whether or not a church should be set up in the first place. There should be specific criteria on which setting up a church is based, some of which may include whether or not there is a proper and legal location first.
Again, the Ghana Christian Council (G.C.C.) should not sit idle and watch these “Men of God” do whatever they see fit all in the name of servingGod. Joining heads with G.E.S., assemblies of various communities and the law agencies to ensure that pastors who do not follow instructions and regulations are dealt with lawfully, could be a step in the right direction.
The Ghanaian society is so much engulfed in religion that we find it difficult separating right from wrong when religion is in play or one of the factors involved in the scenario. Right is right and wrong is wrong, no matter who or what is involved. Therefore, society looks up to authorities to ensure that the right things are done at the right times and places.
By: Jennifer Adobea
Ghana Institute Of Journalism (Level 300)