The Chairman of the National Peace Council Most Rev.Prof Emmanuel Asante, has called on the Akufo-Addo’s government to channel resources into infrastructural developments than spending money on pilgrims.
The government has heavily been criticised for planning to send over 200 Christians to Israel and Vatican City.
He wondered why the government would ‘waste’ money on individual pilgrimage when graduates unemployment is on the increase calling on government to concentrate on its mandate.
Speaking on Abusua FM’s Abusua Nkommo hosted by Kwame Adinkra, he observed that there is no Bible quotation that states that Christians who do not embark on pilgrimage to Israel or Jerusalem will be prevented from heaven’s gate.
According to him, government should not commit itself in sponsoring the trip saying Christians who embark on such trips should pay their own expenses.
‘Every Christian must bear his/her own traveling expenses if he/she wishes to go to Jerusalem. As a former head of a church. I objected to this idea during Prof.Mills’ tenure, and I am adding my voice now to the people who are objecting to this idea by telling government to stop it…Lets allow religious groups to do whatever they want to do, but government should concentrate on its mandate by providing jobs and putting up infrastructural developments with such monies,’ he admonished.
Rev. Asante said they are praying to God to help the President deliver his mandate charging him to desist from the populist agenda.
‘I will humbly plead with Nana Akufo-Addo’s government to turn away from these kinds of things, it sounds too populist which is not beneficial to anybody, you have a mandate, we are supporting you, we are praying to God to help you deliver your mandate, stay away from those kind of populist things. If some pastors are objecting to this idea, then we really have to think carefully about the whole thing,… government can assist them (pilgrims) in their visas, but why should it organise these trips?,’ he asked.
He described as unhealthy competition between Christians and Muslims as to who deserve government’s sponsorship to travel to sacred places for religious reasons.
‘Muslims pilgrimage is part of their five pillars, but I think its even wrong for government to sponsor them, but the people involved pay. There is nothing wrong for government to organise the trip to prevent possible chaos, but I don’t think government pays for their trips,’ he said.
The deputy Chieftaincy and Religious Affairs Minister, Paul Essien has indicated that government is not paying for the trip, but only facilitating.