A gay-supportive group within the Presbyterian Church (USA) is expressing disappointment with the Presbyterian Church of Ghana's recent announcement that it will establish counseling and therapy centers aimed at turning gay people straight.
The two churches, despite their similar names, have no formal affiliation, but they cooperate in mission work in Ghana, explains Michael Adee (pictured), executive director of More Light Presbyterians. His group advocates for LGBT people within the Presbyterian Church (USA), which this year agreed to ordain gay clergy, including those who are partnered.
The Ghanian church has announced it will offer so-called reparative therapy, a widely discredited practice, nationwide, and it has called on the government to condemn homosexuality. Asked for his response to this development, Adee gave the following statement to The Advocate:
"The church is to be a messenger of God's love for all persons, not of prejudice. I am sad that the Presbyterian Church in Ghana's response to gays is to set up counseling centers in the attempt to cure them and to ask the government to take a position on homosexuality. I want my Presbyterian sisters and brothers in Ghana and in every country to trust God as Creator of all persons, including God's gay children. Since God creates gay people as God creates straight people, as Christians we need to trust God and follow Jesus' teaching to love God and neighbor.
"Therapy is not a Christian or medically helpful response to gay people and it is harmful. Instead of wasting precious resources on these counseling centers to cure gays, which is not necessary or possible, these resources could be used to help relieve human suffering in Somalia and the Sudan. Surely this is what God is calling us to do, to feed the poor, to care for those who are hungry.
"The government is to protect the dignity and welfare of all of its citizens including those who are LGBT and their families. Prejudice and discrimination in the church is a departure from the Gospel, which is to be 'good news' for all persons. Discrimination in civil society or by one's government is a violation of human rights. We are all God's children and one human family. God calls us to live in harmony with each other."