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Opinions Sat, 26 Dec 2009

Churches are Murdering Ghanaians

By Nana Kofi
It is 2:00 am; I have been startled awake, with my chest pounding, head throbbing, and my blood pressure and pulse obviously elevated. This is the time when my “DEEP” sleep should be restoring my energies and electrolytes spent during the day’s activities. The culprit which has denied me of this Creator’s essential ingredient to my wellbeing is a NOISY ALL NIGHT SERVICE in the neighbourhood. I wish this print article could be accompanied by an audio of what I have been and am being subjected to. After 3 hours fruitless attempts to fall asleep, I decided to write this piece addressed to (1) all those neighbourhood churches that have sprung up in homes, especially those at Aforman (or Alhaji); (b) all those drinking bars with blaring sound systems, (c) all those street side “preachers” with loud speakers; (d) all CD peddlers with speakers carts; (e) Apewosika bars and bands at Cape Coast University; and (f) our Moslem brothers with electronic amplified “Call to Prayers”. It is also addressed to our Agencies tasked with protecting our rights, and health, namely, the POLICE, the Environmental Protection Agency - EPA; and you the PUBLIC.
Every hospital in the world (maybe except Ghana) demands cessation of NOISE within its vicinity, because NOISE is known UNIVERSALLY, and from time immemorial to be DETRIMENTAL to one’s health, especially the sick. Our forefathers knew this, and instituted fetish practices to minimize noise. Some of our towns forbid, as taboo, drumming on certain days of the week.
NOISE is “UNWANTED” OR “UNDESIRED” SOUND. I hope the addressees of this article named above, will take note of this definition.
TO THE ONE WHO DOES NOT WANT OR DESIRE THEM, YOUR SWEET MUSIC, HALLELUJAS, PRAYERS, OR SERMONS ARE NOTHING BUT NOISE!!
In recent times, there have been increases in heart attacks, strokes, sudden deaths, and many illnesses attributed to elevated body pressures and pulses. Many researches have attributed these increases to increased noise levels. Residents along the airport-Cantonments corridor can attest to this. NOISE was a major contributor to the creation of “Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA), and it is for this reason (NOISE ABATEMENT) that older airplanes with older noisy engines were either re-engined with quieter engines, or scrapped altogether.
The CD peddler, or the bar operator may not know of this UNIVERSAL TENET, but the preacher or pastor definitely knows. “DO UNTO OTHERS AS THOU WOULD HAVE DONE UNTO YOU”. So my questions to these so called men of God are:
1. Are you aware that in the night MOST PEOPLE and even animals ARE ASLEEP?
2. Would you like to be awakened from your sleep MOST NIGHTS?
3. Why would you hold your services EVERY NIGHT (From 8:00 pm to 3:00 or 5:00 am). I am beginning to suspect the services are a camouflage for some un-holy, illegal activities.
4. Would you quietly allow an intruder into the sanctity, peace and security of your home and repeatedly stab you till you finally succumb to death? This is what your NOISE IS DOING TO INNOCENT PEOPLE. IT IS CALLED MURDER.
5. Since you and congregation do not consider our welfare, would I be justified to throw a grenade or pump noxious gases into your congregation to silence them in order get a decent sleep?
6. I like, and play Ramblers’ or E.T. Mensah’s old highlife music, and classical’s such as “The Planets” by Holtz. You don’t know this because I have not subjected you to my taste. WHAT MAKES YOU THINK I, OR ANYBODY ELSE OUTSIDE “YOUR CHURCH” WOULD LIKE YOUR UNINTELLIGIBLE PRAYERS, MUSIC OR OFFENSIVE SINGING? You, your Soloist, Organist and your Entire choir sound TERRIBLE. Keep them to yourselves.
7. Your congregation numbers no more than 10 to 100 in a 25 ft by 30 ft room. Why use a sound system, with the speakers blaring away? Jesus’ “sermon on the mount” (in an open field) was to more than 5000 people, and he DID NOT USE A SOUND SYSTEM.
8. Would you as an Employer tolerate your workers sleeping on the job? Many Ghanaian workers are prone to sleep on the job because YOUR NIGHLY NOISE DEPRIVES THEM OF THIS ESSENTIAL REST.
9. Would you put your son/daughter on a bus whose driver is known to be prone to sleeping/dozing at the wheels? This is what YOU, WITH YOUR NOISE, ARE subjecting innocent Ghanaians to.
10. I hear you (6 houses away) asking your congregation for “SILENT” PRAYERS. Then you break into this “EWURADE E!, EWURADE E!, EWURADE E! HELABELA! BELAHELA! HELABELA! BELAHELA!” BLARING AWAY.
If you know God can hear “SILENT” prayers, why torment others with your “EWURADE E! HELABELA”?
11 If you were sincere at preaching the word of God, why don’t you scout around to establish the boundary of your voices, and tone them down appropriately, so as not to annoy, irritate, or endanger the health of your neighbours?
12 Better still, why not wall up your church with air conditioners so as to keep your “sweet music and the word of God” within for those inside that want them? A church in Tesano by the police depot is structured this way; no one outside the congregation hears them.
To the Police, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the PUBLIC; Enough is enough. There are laws prohibiting such blatant assaults on our health as well as our rights. This does not require “investigation”; 1. If you, Mr. Policeman/Policewoman hears a noisy service or CD peddler or a street preacher, you can trace it to the source, and act either by confiscating the offending apparatus or asking them to tone down the nuisance.
2. You the Public must be bold enough to confront these SELFISH and THOUGHTLESS individuals. Ghanaians are known to quietly suffer annoyances and provocations, when we ought to be stating and standing up for our rights. We know the mining companies are looting us blind, polluting and destroying our environments; yet we SAY and DO NOTHING. We watch them haul away our gold and other minerals, and only mutter to ourselves about our poverty, polluted streams and farmlands.
3. The Districts should BAN ALL Residential “churches” that violate NOISE laws.
4. The public in general, and taxi/truck drivers in particular must be educated to the dangers of noise to our health. In “developed” countries, one hears tooting of a vehicle’s horns only in extreme circumstances.
Anybody who has witnessed a speaker blow-out due to excessive amplifier output (or volume) will understand the similarity between the human ear and the speaker. When the output or volume of an amplifier is over the speaker’s capacity, the speaker blows out. The human ear also has a limit of how much pressure differential it can handle without “blowing out”. When subjected to excessive noise, the body raises its internal pressure to maintain acceptable pressure differential. Unfortunately, persistent high internal body pressure is a silent killer.
When designing new airplanes, aircraft structures engineers do not only consider metal fatigue whereby repeated cycles of high and low stresses cause metals to crack or break (much like bending a metal wire or sheet back and forth to failure); they also have to consider SONIC fatigue, whereby metals subjected to high noise levels fail.
There are many words that describe a person who does not think beyond his/her immediate wants or needs, and therefore acts without any regard to unintended consequences. It is worth noting that the education levels of most of these NOISE perpetrators are low, and are usually cited in poor neighbourhoods; they are not cited at the airport Residences or East Legon, etc. The Baptist church near St. Ann’s Preparatory school at Tesano may be an exception, where in spite of its affluent location, the parish, manned by such morons, subjects its neighbours to constant “choir music”.
One night, after being thus awakened, I stormed to the offending church and demanded the noise to be reduced. One woman said the noise was justified since they were saving my soul and those of the entire neighbourhood. Another woman said they were not holding an all night, so we should bear with the noise. Another man said they could not interrupt the man of god, once he has a mike in his hand. Fellow Ghanaians, for too long we have allowed people with this warped logic to run our lives. Enough is enough!! Noisy HOME churches must go!
In the least:
1. ALL RESIDENTIAL CHURCHES MUST BE ENCLOSED!! “ALIVE CHAPEL INTERNATIONAL” behind Tesano Gardens is an example of a RESPONSIBLE residential church that must become the standard. ONE BARELY HEARS A NOTE, SCREAM, YELL, OR A BEEP FROM THE CHURCH EVEN DURING THEIR SERVICE.
2. LOUD SPEAKERS MUST BE BANNED IN ALL RESIDENTIAL CHURCHES;
3. WORSHIP MUST BE LIMITED TO NO MORE THAN 2 HOURS A TIME, WITH A 6-HOUR BREAK, AND 4 HOURS TOTAL IN A 24 HOUR DAY. AFTER ALL, IT IS NOT NECESSARY TO CALL “EWURADE” FOR MORE THAN 2 HOURS. “EWURADE” HEARS YOU THE FIRST TIME.
4. LAWS GOVERNING NOISE MUST BE ENFORCED BY THE PUBLIC, POLICE, AND EPA. The Police at LAPAZ outpost admitted to the CONSTANT COMPLAINTS about the ever-present street preacher in front of the ECOBANK, but said THERE WAS NOTHING THEY COULD DO TO STOP HIS NUISANCE.!! THE POLICE IN OTHER COUNTRIES WOULD BE HAULING SUCH PEOPLE IN HANDCUFFS TO JAIL, CHARGED WITH THE APPROPRIATE OFFENCE.
5. SIDE STREET PREACHERS MUST NOT BE ALLOWED TO USE LOUD SPEAKERS. Note there are 6 such side preachers along a ¼ mile of this LAPAZ-ABEKA road. With the different messages, and background music everyday, EWURADE must be pretty confused by mid-morning. London has Speakers’ Corner at the Hyde Park for those that believe they have something to tell the rest of us ignoramuses.
6. THE ELECTRONIC AND PRINT MEDIA MUST EDUCATE AND SENSITIZE US TO THE PERILS OF THIS MENACE OF NOISE IN OUR SOCIETIES.

Columnist: Kofi, Nana