Professional Web Design

Homosexuality not entirely foreign to Ghanaian society – Cardinal Peter Turkson

November 28, 2023
Cardinal Peter Turkson
Cardinal Peter Turkson

In a notable departure from the stance of other Roman Catholic bishops in Ghana, Cardinal Peter Turkson, a prominent figure within the , has expressed his belief that homosexuality should not be deemed a criminal offence.

His comments come amidst parliamentary discussions on a bill proposing penalties for individuals identifying as in Ghana.

Cardinal Turkson's perspective is in contrast to the official position of Ghanaian bishops, who have characterized homosexuality as “despicable.”

The Catholic Church in Ghana, in conjunction with other leading Christian groups, issued a statement in August asserting that Western countries should refrain from imposing “unacceptable foreign cultural values” on Ghana.

The cardinal's viewpoint gains further significance as it aligns with recent remarks by Pope Francis, who indicated openness to the idea of the Catholic Church blessing same-sex couples.

Despite this, Pope Francis emphasized that still considers same-sex relationships “objectively sinful” and does not endorse same-sex marriage.

Ghana's has been grappling with a proposed bill that, if enacted, would impose a three-year prison sentence on individuals publicly identifying as LGBTQ.

Those advocating for LGBTQ rights could face up to 10 years in jail. Notably, homosexual acts are already illegal in Ghana, carrying a three-year prison sentence.

Cardinal Turkson, speaking on the BBC's HARDtalk program, emphasized the need for education to foster understanding of homosexuality, asserting that LGBTQ individuals should not be criminalized as they have committed no crime.

He claimed that cultural expressions in Ghana, particularly in the Akan language, acknowledge diverse gender identities, and therefore suggested that homosexuality is not entirely foreign to Ghanaian society.

The cardinal also touched upon the influence of foreign donations and grants, suggesting a link to the push for stringent anti-LGBTQ measures in several African countries.

He argued that external pressures, ostensibly in the name of freedom and human rights, have contributed to the current legislative efforts.

This perspective comes in the wake of other African nations, such as , passing anti-LGBTQ laws, with some proposing life imprisonment and even the death penalty for same-sex rape and defilement cases.

The international community, including institutions like the and governments like the , has responded with sanctions and the suspension of preferential trade arrangements in response to what they perceive as human rights violations.

Cardinal Turkson, who became the first-ever Ghanaian cardinal in 2003, holds the position of chancellor of the Pontifical Academies of Sciences. His nuanced stance on homosexuality reflects the ongoing debate within the Catholic Church on issues of inclusivity and cultural diversity.

Latest from Social