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Otabil is the only man of God - Part 2

Sat, 30 Apr 2016 Source: Kwarteng, Francis

BOB MARLEY: “BABYLON SYSTEM”

“We refuse to be what you want us to be…

“We are what we are: That’s the way it’s going be. You don’t know!...

“You can’t educate I, for no equal opportunity…

“Talking about my freedom, people freedom and liberty…

“Building churches and universities…

“Deceiving the people continually…

“Me say them graduating thieves and murderers…

“Look out now: They sucking the blood of the sufferers…

“Tell the children the truth…

“‘Cause we’ve been trodding on ya winepress much too long…

“And we’ve been taken for granted much too long…

“Trodding on the winepress…rebel…got to rebel, y’all…

OTHER INTERESTING MATTERS ON RELIGION

The clerics we took on in the first installment of the series have a well-paid support team of fraudulent collaborators as well as a brain trust of aggressively conning publicists who work tirelessly around the clock to shield the questionable provenances of the material wealth and finances of these skillful entrepreneurs of theological mammonism.

As well, the formidable defense which the large followings of these theological mammonists present in their behalf frustrates the moral faces of public scrutiny from doing right by society. Gullibility and the grand misuse of the concept of “divine mercy” are part of the creative instruments used to undermine the pragmatic censure of these deeply flawed clerical mammonists.

Notwithstanding the above, American-based Kenyan writer Ngugi wa Thiong’s meticulously shows in one of his most influential books “Something Torn and New: An African Renaissance,” England’s insidiously tactical orchestration of a secret plan to colonize Ireland through Christian proselytization and thereupon export that plan to Africa after its strategic mastering it in Ireland.

That somehow proved successful in many interesting aspects across Africa and Ireland itself, hence the centuries-old sectarian war in Northern Ireland, later culminating in the Irish Republican Army (IRA) Sinn Fein, and the like.

In one of his biographical masterpieces “You Must Set Forth At Dawn,” the Nobel Laureate Nigerian writer Wole Soyinka recounts his daring exploits in Ireland in which he played some role in the Irish attempt to bring lasting peace to their country.

In the book “Of Africa,” Soyinka also looks at the scourge of political Islam, religious terrorism, cultural relativism, comparative religion, Boko Haram and Al-Shabab, post-colonial politics, and the mixed legacy of imported religions into Africa.

In reviewing “Of Africa” for the readership of the “New York Times,” Adam Hochschild, the celebrated author of “King Leopold’s Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror, and Heroism in Colonial Africa,” said the following in part:

“This, I think, is the clash of feelings that agonizes Soyinka. Great scars in African history, for example, have been left by the experience of being plundered, first by slave traders and then by European colonizers…

“And he equates an unctuous cardinal’s 1939 glorification of ‘France’s colonizing mission on the black continent’ with the imperiousness of present-day despots who violently assume for themselves, or their ethnic groups, the divine right to govern. He calls the Janjaweed, the murderous militia backed by the Sudanese government, ‘the Ku Klux Klan of Darfur’…

“How, then, does Soyinka defend Africa against its condescending critics? The main thing he offers up is Africa’s spirituality.’ In contrast to aggressively proselytizing Christianity and Islam, with their Crusades and Inquisitions, jihads and fatwas, African religions are ‘accommodative,’ non-evangelizing and aware, in their incorporation of traditional herbal healing, of the connection between body and soul.

“Priests are not a superior caste. There is no excommunication or ferocity toward infidels. African spirituality has been attractive and hardy enough, Soyinka points out, that it has thrived in the Western Hemisphere…”

THE DYING CATHOLIC CHURCH AND THE CORRESPONDING RISE OF PENTECOASTAL AND CHARISMATIC CHURCHES

Today, and beyond these basic facts of history, past and contemporary, the Catholic Church is battling with Pentecostal and Charismatic churches for what is left of the Christocentric soul, the church.

It is no wonder the Catholic Church’s largely standard Latinized liturgy is gradually being phased out and giving way to a more secularized and modernized multi-instrumentalizing of its onetime repertoire of conservative liturgies in praise and worship—in accordance with the cultural character of a given locality where Catholics practice their faith, given that the authors of the repertoire of these conservative liturgies initially totally ignored considerations for non-Western nativistic (“cultural”) sensibilities. This is the foundation of Eurocentric theocentrism.

It was as though the European God, the purported author of the so-called Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade and of the extermination of Native Americans and Australian Aborigines, among others, was allergic to non-Western nativistic sensibilities and intellectual predispositions. The newfound belief-centric interest in tongue-speaking and dancing as part of the Catholic Church’s praise and worship, today, further lends credence to the ongoing transformation in the Catholic Church.

The dry nature of the acapella-like hymnization, sporadically characterized by one or two instrumental accompaniments, mostly the organ or piano, which once dominated the praise and worship of some Catholic dioceses in the halcyon days of yore, is eventually being taken over by a rich ensemble of instrumental accompaniments and the creative oversight of rich synthesizer programming.

Here then, Pope Francis, although Argentine-born of Italian parentage, was given the papal office for the very reason of reviving the dying the phallocentric church as its global membership, particularly in the West, dwindles and its coffers shows visible signs of drying up in the wake of the child abuse scandals.

Capitalizing on his Latin American background, which the church can proudly boast of as probably having its largest membership constituencies to shore up its dwindling membership, is a brilliant strategic move, and probably also, speaks loudly to the power of regional political religiocentrism.

Thus, considerations for the political arithmetic of geopolitical religiocentrism and the political economy of numbers matter in the power dynamics of encyclical calculations and pontifical projections. The moral and sociological benefits of the Catholic Church’s hard-line position on abortion also accrue to its universalized institutional advantage, of numerical preponderance, over other religious bodies, including Islam. This basic fact amounts to the theory of rational choice in strategic decision-making, a contention lost on the leadership of the New Patriotic Party (NPP). Even more interesting, and perhaps relating to the foregoing arguments, some Catholic dioceses now even endorse tithing, which was not generally the case some years ago.

This collateral pressure, obviously, emanates from the relatively high quality of appealing modernity which some associate with the Pentecostal and Charismatic churches, the increasingly secularization of the Catholic Church and its largely dogmatic theological and doctrinal Eurocentrism, the sensational character of the sexual abuse (pedophilia) scandals in the Catholic Church, and so on. Once again, this is not to say pedophilia is unique to the Catholic Church.

Finally, we should overlook the Catholic Church’s lasting contributions to science. Those few Catholic scientists and Catholic-supported scientists who easily come to mind include Georges Lemaître, Gregor Mendel, Nicolaus Copernicus, Roger Boscovich, Antoine Lavoisier, Galileo Galilei…and a host of other Jesuit scientists. In the main, the contributions of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences to scientific knowledge, research, and discoveries are enormous and difficult to ignore.

As an aside, though, the Jehovah’s Witnesses (JW) is probably the most vociferous critic of the Catholic Church, its traditions, doctrines and theology, particularly on the mythological origins of the Trinity which the JW says the Catholic Church appropriated from the religious canon of Ancient Egypt’s Osiris Myth (Osiris-Horus-Isis) and then introduced into Christianity (see also the so-called “Egyptian Book of the Dead” or Dr. Maulana Karenga’s properly titled “Book of Coming Forth By Day”).

Thus far, the Ghanaian church can boast of Apostle Kwawdo Sarfo (and his chain of “inventions”), the founding overseer of the Kristo Asafo Mission of Ghana whom this author “met” on a few occasions as a child. We need to produce more of the likes of this inventive citizen.

APOSTLE KWADWO SARFO AND BISHOP OBINIM

Still unfortunately, and regrettably, Apostle Kwadwo Sarfo, a James Brown-like character with a conk hair and a Michael Jackson-like character with a bleached face, recently staked a claim to using astral projection as the basis of his scientific and technological inventiveness. It appears that Apostle Kwadwo Sarfo has made good use of the controversial lyrical contents of A.B. Crentsil’s highlife masterpiece, “Anyen,” a maverick song highly expressive of the singer’s righteous indignation against prospects for antisocial solidarity and of his courageous attempt at indicting the crab mentality of Africans, so to speak. It is a powerful song by every standard.

This man, who looks somewhat like the older version of Bishop Obinim, also reminds his fellow citizens that he is indeed “very powerful” and yet says “Ghanaians must try to protect him.” What this antithetical statement exactly means is difficult if not impossible to decipher. In other words, it does not make sense for a supposed Man of God to seek protection from his fellow man rather than from the God he worships. In the end what he says about astral projection (travel) and his spiritual prowess is also true of what Bishop Obinim would tell the public in recent times. Here:

“I can sleep in a coffin for 5 hours and any Angelic spirit will leave my body to stand somewhere and look at the body that is in the coffin.”

Bishop Obinim says elsewhere:

“I can work on two billion people a night all over the world. Yesterday for instance, my spirit went to work on anyone who trust me or is a fan of me and those who have adopted me as a spiritual father. My spirit which is an angel goes to work on them…

“I can’t say that Maame Asomasi maybe I went with my real face. It depends on the kind of problem. For example if I go to thirty million people I can say I just turn into an animal for just two million people they are those who are being afflicted by animals but the others may want a job, child birth, money and a job so for those people, I go with my real face to help them out of their problems.”

And some believe this fabricated utter nonsense! This unoriginal, uncreative madness! No wonder Ghana is in such a dying mess!

The difference between the two is extremely important and worth pointing out: Apostle Kwadwo Sarfo has managed to give us a memorable inventory of great copycat inventions; Bishop Obinim, on the other hand, has given us a dead coffin of “fraudulent” lies and fake miracles.

Granted, it is however not too farfetched to pitch the claim that these Men of God are, assuredly, departing from the purity of Christocentric philosophy. Their public utterances sometimes point to a sophisticated infusion of Eastern mystics into their much-adulterated Christocentric theology, as by their possibly reading the Taoist book “The Secret of the Golden Flower.”

After all, Christ’s connections to the mystical East are not a fact that is widely known among members of the lay public. It is a controversial one, of course. One of the maternal uncles of this author, who headed a delegation on a special visit to India many, many years ago on behalf of the Ghanaian government, the Ministry of Education to be precise, told him [this author] of his being shown a protected sacred place located on a mountaintop in India, where it is believed, Jesus Christ, some Indian traditions and legends have it, once visited and spent time there, and even obtained his great arsenal of spiritual powers.

This esoteric story is the focus of Nicolas Notovitch’s translated work, “The Unknown Life of Christ” (the book goes by other titles: “The Lost Years of Jesus: The Life of St. Issa,” etc.). Then also, Joseph Lumpkin, a prolific non-canonical text author, released “The Life of Saint Issa, Best of the Sons of Man: The Missing Years of Jesus and His Travels in the East.” These works attempt to account for Jesus’ missing years, from the age of thirteen to twenty-nine (readers should also read more about the so-called “swoon hypothesis”). We need to ask these questions!

What is more, the fact that this arcane story is not collected in the canonized catalogues of the books of the Bible does not in any way diminish its historical and intellectual significance. This is partly because the politics of canonization is intrinsically anthropogenic, a human enterprise, and also because there are just too many unanswered questions about the historicity of Jesus that the world is yearning to know. Further, some of the sharp contrasts between the historical Jesus and the biblical Jesus add to the dilemma, as well as the Christ Myth Theory, the writings of Josephus and Cornelius Tacitus, and the New Testament Apocrypha muddle, all of which muddle the debate!

The amazing gaps in the canonized narratives on the historicity of Jesus force certain persons to move in directions that seek to provide some measure of closure. The concept of unanswered (undeclared) questions is not peculiar to the historicity of Jesus and Christianity, however. They are central to all other religions including Buddhism. What we are saying in effect—readers should consider this only as a working hypothesis—is that Men of God such as Bishop Obinim and Apostle Kwadwo Sarfo may be taking some inspiration from non-canonical accounts of this nature. More importantly, we have no idea whatsoever where this idea of autoscopy is coming from!

This is just by the way, however. In sum, those of us who have studied comparative religion, including brief stints practicing Nicheren Buddhism as a child, Islam, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and Mormonism, can say on authority that there is something seriously if not peculiarly amiss in what should otherwise have been the Christocentric theological and doctrinal arsenal of these self-styled Men of God. And as if we are not done, here comes another controversial remark by Bishop Obinim:

“I can withstand the wrath of God 100%.”

But he cannot withstand the “wrath” of the English language when he said: “The only thing I fear is the English Language.” We should not forget that autoscopy and astral projection can be mental disease states. Very soon, and expectedly, the likes of Apostle Kwadwo Sarfo and Bishop Obinim will be running roughshod over the world with stories about their near-death experiences!

BOB MARLEY: THE MORAL IMPORT AND POLITICAL SOCIOLOGY OF “ONE LOVE”

The sociology of religion constitutes a heavily imposed question of moral and institutional complexity on human psychology. Yet comparative religion exposes the commonalities binding, and the contradictions inherent in, all religions. Commonalities exist because of our common humanity and the pool of “universal consciousness” within which the relative commonness of human needs, wants, expectations, fear, vulnerabilities, and so forth, reside. Thus, it makes practical sense to hypothesize that the danger religion poses to human existence exists in its contradictions and how the sociology of human psychology understands and responds to them.

Perhaps Bob Marley’s “One Love” poses one of the most important and serious political, moral and philosophical questions, a lingering question he had always wanted to ask humanity:

“Is there a place for the hopeless sinner who has hurt all mankind just to save his own?”

This sophisticated question is hardly the preserve of geopolitical parochialism! Of course, the question has a ring of universality to it given the globalized nature of religious terrorism and corporate greed, to name but two, and the intrinsic contradictions of religion. And, it is neutralizing these intrinsic contradictions of belief systems for the betterment of society and as a means to improving human relations that the moral contents of “One Love,” as it were, indelibly and unquestionably define the quantum genius of Bob Marley in a universalized collective conscience.

In other words Bob Marley made love, humanism, philanthropy and social solidarity, not religion per se, the centerpiece and defining momentum of human relations. The moral clarity of Bob Marley’s lyrical message which “One Love” represents goes to the very heart of the central thesis of Wole Soyinka’s “Of Africa.” Thus, both men lamented the lack of humanizing morality in the affairs of men. But, unlike Bob Marley, Soyinka thinks African Religion can be used to humanize the world. Yet again, this proposition is a highly controversial and contestable theory!

Having said that, the indigenization of imported religions and here, we should specifically mention Islam and Christianity, has redefined how Africans relate to foreign deities. For instance, Shembe, an Africanized version of Judaized Christianity, a religious body Isaiah Shembe, an autodidact, founded at the turn of the 20 the century, and also a religious body of which the late Rastafarian and international reggae superstar, Lucky Dube, belonged, further reinforces the split psychology or psychotic break of the African collective mind. “Shembe is the Way,” a beautiful reggae song by Lucky Dube, provides some intimate details on the African-initiated “Shembe.”

All these do not, however, directly address the serious question of why many religious folks fear their pastors than the God they worship, as well as holding their pastors in awe. The fear of the priesthood is, indeed, what sometimes breeds pastoral charismatic authority which the priesthood takes advantage of to intimidate its gullible following. This is a big issue in the modern church.

Perhaps a more depersonalized de- hierarchized priesthood, something close to the Buddhist example, will suffice to de-emphasize this dependency complex or completely eliminate the emotional attachment of a congregation to a priesthood, the former of which, more than anything else, feeds on a deeply personalized hierarchical priesthood. In point of fact, the near-limitless powers which the priesthood exercises over its gullible sheep is not dissimilar to the near-limitless constitutive powers which the Ghanaian strain of executive presidency exercises over its gullible citizens. At this point in time, we may fully appreciate why Mutabaruka made the following statement indicting the religious establishment on his memorable, yet influential song, “People’s Court 2”:

“But you [Mr. Religious Belief and Mr. Denomination] are even worse than the politicians…”

THE MORAL IRONY CALLED KENNEDY AGYAPONG

“If any pastor dares to challenge me, I will disgrace them, I always meet them at shows and they come with Escalades with their girlfriends sitting in the front seat…”

And so what? Which pastor dare challenge this attention-seeking chatterbox of an “insane” politician and socialite, a substandard politician, who, is, himself, part and parcel of the general rot that is Ghana, an insane asylum? The fact of the matter is that Ken’s pastors whom he is also daring are not doing anything different from the political scarlet sins of a typical Ghanaian Member of Parliament (MP).

After all some of these expensive cars he claims these pastors drive in with their alleged girlfriends are, in part, bought from money some of these politicians, including powerful and wealthy parliamentarians, steal from the national coffers to bribe as well as to buy pastors’ influence and conscience, and with it or through it their church members’ gullibility and votes.

That is one important way through which the sanctity of the elective franchise is compromised.

The irony: These supposed “girlfriends” could be the daughters, nieces, granddaughters, young wives, aunts, daughters-in-law…of these pastors. And they could be girlfriends of these pastors.

As well. Of course.

But what would his opportunistic interpretation had been if these so-called “girlfriends” had rather sat in the backseats of Ken’s pastors?

No wonder any village idiot can become a politician in Ghana!

This is also why the country may not be heading anywhere in terms of growth, progress, and development. Perhaps, the greatest irony of it all is Ken’s sometimes uncompromising, stubborn defense of opposition moral rot, corruption and gross incompetence, the strategy some gullible members of Ken’s pastors usually fall on to explain away their pastors’ moral depravities. This is not surprising!

Now we even know Akufo-Addo’s relative Ken Ofori Atta, a highly respected leading member of Otabil’s church, ICGC, as well as a successful businessman whose company Otabil once sat as a respected board member, allegedly paid some four Serbians secretly brought into the country to train party security, according to Paul Afoko, the embattled National Chairman of the New Patriotic Party (NPP). And why did Afoko also wait all this while to tell this story now?

One wonders exactly how much of these shady happenings Otabil, an outspoken political theologian, knows about the illegal inner workings of this ethnocentric political party but has conveniently chosen to keep quite over them for whatever reason(s), just so he can keep his highly politically connected businesses smoothly running and in the process not angering his powerfully connected political patrons ! Oh yes, “So Much Things To Says,” sang Bob Marley.

And yes, Otabil is the only true man of God because that opportunistic and slimy entrepreneur of political theology does not criticize the New Patriotic Party (NPP) when he should. Ken’s praise for Otabil stems from this basic fact. The entire world knows that Ken is hiding behind this fact!

For this simple reason, Ken can never escape the lure and claws of moral turpitude. A man who reportedly sleeps on an $80,000 bed should be making a lot of sense when he opens his lavatory of a mouth in public.

In the final analysis, mortality will definitely catch up with all of us someday and therefore we all must have to learn to speak truth to power, learn to be humble, honest, and respectful of others without sex, religion, race, physical disability, political persuasion…Greatness starts from a basic appreciation of these principles. This is why Ghana and Africa had had only one true political quantum genius in the person of Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, the greatest African!

The by-talk coming from his lavatory of a mouth will do him in someday. Kennedy Agyapong had better listen to J.A. Adofo’s (and his supporting band, City Boys Band) “Owuo Mpaso.”

CENTRAL AID

We should not fail to stress that Otabil and his church (and university) have a scholarship fund called Central Aid, perhaps the largest education fund in the entire nation (we don’t know how much the Otumfuo Education Fund, which could as well pass for the largest education fund in the nation, is actually worth), that provides various forms of financial assistance to disadvantaged or needy Ghanaians across the nation. Unfortunately, some knee-jerk critics of Otabil are not even aware of this little success story in the private sector. Yes, we should tell it!

However, determination of potential final receiving targets for disbursement arrangements sporadically suffers from orchestrated episodes of “political” favoritism. We say this on authority because we have highly placed friends and colleagues close to Otabil and within the spectrum of his business concerns. Yet some of these knee-jerk critics see Central Aid fundamentally as an allegorical artifact of “robbing Peter to pay Paul.” These same critics also think Men of God like Otabil use philanthropy to fight back any potential negative perception that funds, such as Otabil’s, come into existence merely when these Men of God fleece members of their congregation.

Worse of all, others have heavily descending upon Otabil for attacking and criticizing homosexuality when some of his church members could be armed robbers, drug dealers, pimps, closet homosexuals, prostitutes, murderers, tax evaders, political criminals and rapists, and assassins who may directly or indirectly be contributing to Central Aid via tithing, offertory, etc.

We have no authoritative opinions on these criticisms and reservations, however true or false they are. Otabil is contributing to easing the financial burden of parents (and the government) meal nonetheless, parents who are seriously financially handicapped and for whom three squares are a nebulous luxury. These parents mostly live from hand to mouth, some unfortunate ones even less so.

Let us all commend him, Otabil, for this bold initiative even if we so much as dislike his politics!

REFERENCES

Adam Hochschild. “Of Africa, By Wole Soyinka.” The New York Times. November 2, 2012.

Ghanaweb. “Otabil Is The Only True Man of God—Ken Agyapong.” April 19, 2016.

Ghanaweb. I Have Supernatural Powers—Apostle Kwadwo Sarfo.”April 22, 2016.

Ghanaweb. “I Can Sleep In A Coffin For 3 Days—Obinim.” April 13, 2016.

Ghanaweb. “I Can Withstand The Wrath Of God—Bishop Obinim.” April 23, 2013.

Ghanaweb. “My Bed Alone Is Worth $80,000—Kennedy Agyapong.” April 20, 2016.

Ghanaweb. “The Only Thing I fear Is The English Language—Obinim.” April 13, 2016.

Ghanaweb. “NPP Brought Serbians To Train Party Security In 2004—Afoko.” April 26, 2016.

Columnist: Kwarteng, Francis