General News of Monday, 26 November 2018
Spokesperson of former President John Mahama’s 2020 campaign team has poo-pooed the idea of Ghana constructing a National Cathedral.
Quoting the Dalai Lama on Twitter Saturday, James Agyenim Boateng posted that the focus of all religious traditions should be to strive for inner compassion and goodness and not to build temples on the outside.
Mr. Agyenim Boateng’s comment adds to the steaming debate about whether or not the National Cathedral should be constructed.
While some are opposed to the idea in its entirety on grounds that the state should not meddle in religious affairs, others are only against the idea of taxpayers’ money being pumped into the project.
President Nana Akufo-Addo has consistently defended the project and has also stated that the government only intends to provide seed money and land for the project.
“…through Christ who strengthens us, the National Cathedral will be built to the glory and honour of God,” he said at the climax of the 125th-anniversary celebration of the Catholic Archdiocese of Accra on Sunday.
The purpose of all the major religious traditions is not to construct big temples on the outside, but to create temples of goodness and compassion inside, in our hearts.
— James Agyenim-Boaten (@jagyenim) 25 November 2018
But the nation remains heavily divided on the topic especially in social media posts and reactions.
There has to be some sort behind the National Cathedral. Some secret deal, something. I still can’t believe it
— Two (@Maayaa_O) 26 November 2018
In other words after all our problems are solved. In that case, there will never be a good time to build a national cathedral then; not even a house of parliament or a national sports stadium.
— JoJo (@jojomick24) 26 November 2018
Go ahead and build the national Cathedral… After that we will demand the national shrine!
— Paakofi Sinatra ???????? (@PaakofiSinatra) 26 November 2018
Demolition of Judges’ residence
Among other reasons critics oppose the construction of the cathedral is because the land where the landmark will be based, currently houses several state offices and is home to the residence of Appeals Court Judges.
The judges were, however, asked to relocate from the bungalows in August to enable demolition of the five-year-old buildings.
The office of the Chief Justice apologised for “the delay in notifying [the affected judges] of the relocation.”
Acting CPP General Secretary of opposition political party, Convention People’s Party (CPP), has dragged the government to the Supreme Court over the issue.
James Kwabena Bomfeh, argues that Ghana is a secular state and it was therefore wrong for the state to be “excessively entangled in any religion or religious practice.”
“Ghana must at all times remain religiously neutral,” he said in his closing remarks.
Deputy Attorney General, Godfred Dame, however, argued that Ghana has for many years observed principal religious celebrations as public holidays and cannot be one to not recognise the existence of a Supreme Being of God.
The Supreme Court has set January 16, 2019, to deliver judgement on the matter.