We shall not remain silent, say Christians in Ghana

Now that the center of Christianity has shifted away from Europe and the West to Africa, Asia, and Latin America, a lot of folks are worried about syncretism. As Weblog has earlier noted, such concerns tend to de-emphasize how much the West has syncretized Christianity with local values and customs and overlook the animosity that Christians often hold toward the beliefs they or their ancestors used to hold. The latter is currently being illustrated in Accra, Ghana, where Homowo, the harvest festival, has begun. Homowo is practiced by the Ga, a mostly animist people who constitute about 10 percent of Ghana's population but are most common in the capital city of Accra. Depending on who you ask, Homowo either means "hooting or jeering at hunger," or "hunger tomorrow," but in practice what it means is the outlawing of drums and loud music for a month. That's a problem for Accra's Christian churches, which regularly use loud music and drums in Sunday morning worship.

In most past years, the Ga Traditional Council (the ruling body of elders) simply ignored the churches, which in turn tried not to antagonize. But according to The Daily Mail and Guardian of Johannesburg, South Africa, this year is different. "The Ga people will not allow widespread violation of the ban," even in churches, acting Traditional Council president Nii Adottey Obuo said.

Sam Koranchie Ankrah, a leader of the Charismatic Churches Association, responds, "We will not be intimidated by the threat from the Ga Traditional Council. We have the right to worship and we would go ahead. It is up to the security authorities to ensure that a group of people under the name of tradition do not infringe our constitutional right to worship freely." But the security authorities are themselves worried that this year will see greater confrontation than in 1999, when violence broke out between Christians and animists (The U.S. State Department's 2000 Report on Religious Freedom in Ghana noted the incidents). "We have been receiving reports of the churches forming what they call 'warrior squads' to fight the Ga youth who may be attacking them for drumming within the churches," says an unnamed senior police officer. "Security wise, it doesn't look too good."

Liberia wants divine intervention in World Cup
We get some wacky sports-and-religion stories here in the U.S., but usually it's not taken all that seriously. In the qualifying rounds for the World Cup, however, Liberia and Nigeria are deadly serious about using prayer to ensure victory as they face each other. Liberia has formed at 57-man praying party, headed by the religious adviser to the Liberian government, to pray for victory at the matches. Team prayers have also been mandated. Nigeria has responded by organizing both Muslim and Christian prayer sessions, and team chairman Alhaji Waheed Yusuf has called for the whole country to pray for victory, saying "it is important at this crucial period."

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Other articles about Africa:

  • Churches drop bid on Ghai's group | Evangelical churches yesterday dropped their attempt to have the operations of the Constitution of Kenya Review Commission halted. (The Nation, Nairobi)
  • Reform plea flops | High Court judge refuses bid by church leaders to paralyse the Constitution of Kenya Review Commission (The Nation, Nairobi)
  • Zamfara State amputates man's wrist for theft | Second such punishment since Shari'ah law was introduced in the state in 1999. (Panafrican News Agency)

More stories

Church and state:

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Religion and politics:

  • Ralph Reed takes reins | It's inconceivable that Reed could shape the party to his previous organization's politics or would gain any advantage from doing so. (Jim Wooten, The Atlanta Journal)
  • Charities want tax credit expanded | Catholic Charities USA, Lutheran Social Services in America, Volunteers of America and the Salvation Army want Congress to expand the program to include families with more than two children (Religion News Service)
  • Bush leads with faith and prayer | Not since Carter has a President been so openly devout about his faith. (New York Daily News)
  • Will the religious right make the tech slump even worse? | Bush administration promises to crackdown on the American porn industry, but porn sites are worth hundreds of millions, if not billions, to the Web-hosting industry (Eroticabiz.com)


Dara Singh trial for murder of missionary Graham Staines:

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  • Key witness identifies Dara Singh | 24-year-old says he saw Singh, with an axe in his hand, instructing miscreants to attack the vehicle near the church in which missionary Graham Staines and his sons were sleeping before setting it on fire. (Rediff.com)


Energy and environmentalism:

Other stories of interest:

  • A prayer for tech stocks | Two men who spend their lives preaching about faith also embraced the great American pastime of the last decade, the stock market. (The New York Times)
  • 'That's what girls are for' | Investigations into two alleged rapes on Pitcairn Island, famous as the paradise haven of the Bounty mutineers, have exposed a society that treats women as sex objects (The Times, London)
  • Earlier: Mutiny and Redemption | The rarely told story of new life after the destruction of the H.M.S. Bounty. (Christianity Today's Christian History Corner, Apr. 27)
  • 4 killed, 8 hurt in church van accident (Associated Press)
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