Keep Your Faith, Not All Sins Mean Crime.

When you act wrongly against the will of a deity or God it becomes a sinful act. What is sinful, depends on the dogmatic principles one adheres to in his religion. A Christian will count prostitution as a sin, however, the reason the Christian sees prostitution as a sin is that the fellow is a Christian and lives by the Christian principles. What will prostitution be for one who is not guided by any Christian, belongs to another religion, or is an atheist? 

The fact that you practice a certain faith does not mean you can judge people according to your faith. You are free to practice your faith and persuade others to believe in your faith in your quest of spreading your faithful practice. If we all practice the good principles of our faith then there should be no evil among men in our society. However, the opposite is what is seen in our society. Faithful religious men and women have been involved in every crime in Ghana. The people who enter the churches on Sunday or the mosque also occupy our public offices. Yet corruption in Ghana travels with the speed of light. When men of the faith looted funds for AIDS patients, Pensioners, etc., didn’t they know or serve a deity? More recently, the deliberate action of a doctor caused a child to lose his life by removing oxygen support the family could not afford to pay. Our government can owe us, but we cannot as people owe the government. What kind of relationship is this, if the child was allowed to owe the state and deferred payment for the oxygen support, he would have been alive now. Indeed, God alone is a Christian.

Let’s not have the thinking that sin and crime are the same. Not all sins are a crime but some sins [Murder] can be a crime and ultimately, crime is a crime. Sin according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary is an offense against the religious or moral law. If one does not practice a certain faith, what is deemed as sin, will be meaningless to such a person. As a society, is important to view crime as defined by the laws under the hierarchy of law under Article 11 of the 1992 Constitution, and not religious beliefs. It is stated under article 19(11) that, ‘no person shall be convicted of a criminal offense unless the offense is defined and the penalty for it is prescribed in a written law’. A quick check confirms that the State is not ruled by religious beliefs or religious laws.

Society evolves with time, and we have come to accept some changes which have even led to the abolishment of some custom practices like Female Genital Mutilation, Trokosi system to mention but a few. Gone were the days were families consulted to choose a spouse for the male child. Now, we are at liberty to make choose who we want to marry. Some people even cancel some of the items on the tall list (bride price) given to the will-be husband. Our society has grown to realize how personal choice is important in our daily activities. We don’t need any imposition. 

We must admit that certain issues like homosexuality and the rights of LGBTI groups are not pressing issues in our society. Several socioeconomic and pressing issues are leading to the detriment of the people. However, it is also important that certain stereotypical mindsets are dissolved when it comes to the matters of the rights of these individuals. The problem exists when people are ready to throw stones at homosexuals or beat them to death. They are humans with rights and they don’t deserve mob justice.

You have a right to choose but your choice is guided by your religious principles. Homosexuals like humans have the same choice to make. As to what moral values guide their choice, it is between them and their God or astronomical black hole.

If the choice of LGBTI groups does not favor your religious principles, it does not mean, you have the right to take dehumanizing action against LGBTI group members because of their choice. When you kill someone for sinning against your God, it is MURDER and not the sanctification of death. Let’s understand that it is not all instances that make sin a crime. Ghana’s criminal offenses Act of 1960 prescribes punishments for crimes which include the death penalty, imprisonment, or fine. However, in my stay in Ghana, I am yet to see someone imprisoned, fined, or received the death penalty for fornicating with a consenting adult. Although fornicating is a sin in Christianity.  

In the book of Galatians 5:19-21, a list of sinful acts includes drunkenness, jealousy, sorcery, hatred, and adultery to mention but a few. The question is, how many have been jailed for involving in such a sinful act? Sin is to religion as crime is to the state. I do not recall that the state is a religious body. 

One is recognized to make a rational decision about his own life after his eighteenth birthday. Amazingly, the choice this fellow makes is not binding on others but on his own life. In a free world, one is responsible for the choices made and the consequences or benefits that come from them. It becomes problematic only when force or fraud is applied. For instance, when one is robbed, the armed robber had a choice to take someone else’s property but had to use force/fraud to take such property. This cannot be described as a free choice, hence making it a crime. When someone becomes part LGBTQI group – either by choice or biologically – it does mean everyone should become part of the group or the choice is compelling everyone to become homosexuals. Accepting people as they are or someone’s choice doesn’t take away your personal free choice too. Be free to do what you want and let your own religious or moral values guide you as far as you do not infringe on the rights of another. 

Suasion is used to inculcate moral values in others rather than forcing others to buy into our religious or moral principles. What is moral varies and is very relative from one person to another. The fact that most Ghanaians are religiously inclined doesn’t mean everyone is mandated to conform solely to some form of religious principles. If there exists a 0.1 percent group of none religiously inclined groups, the majority should be able to respect their rights and the choices they make. 

Article by Nathaniel Dwamena

Nathaniel is a free-market policy analyst and president of the YAFO Institute. He engages in activities that promote civil liberty and economic freedom in Ghana. He was part of the team consulted by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ Ghana) to undertake a study on business red tape in Ghana. He has a background in law, geography, and economics.

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