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Opinion An open letter to Pastor Mensah Otabil: hypocrisy isn’t all there is to it

Pressure to conform can ricochet into unspeakable acts of rebellion.

  • Published:
Founder of International Central Gospel Church (ICGC), Dr Pastor Mensah Otabil play

Founder of International Central Gospel Church (ICGC), Dr Pastor Mensah Otabil

(Facebook)

Good day Pastor Otabil,

Your preaching made its way from your pulpit unto the news waves once again. This time your comments weren’t entirely political, so the politicians didn’t jump upon it as much. The subject matter of this week’s news from your pulpit concerned the reasons why some pastor’s children are immoral.  I was undoubtedly happy about one thing you said in your preaching, “But what makes the pastor’s child a bad boy or girl? People say: ‘Well it’s because the devil is attacking [them].’ No! No! No! No! No! It’s not the [devil]. Leave the devil out for the time being; it’s not the devil attacking the pastors’ children”. At the risk of sounding irreverent, I say it’s high time Ghanaians allowed the devil go on a little vacation while we clean up the mess we made. Blaming everything on the devil is too easy; it absolves us of claiming any responsibilities of our own. But enough of the devil-talk; I’ll move straight to the matter hand.

Pastor Otabil, you attributed the moral decadency of most pastors’ children to the hypocrisy of their parents. You correctly mentioned that children do spot hypocrisy a mile away, that pastors who do not live by the precepts of the sermons they preach often have rebellious children. This is a really valid explanation, Pastor Otabil. The validity of this explanation notwithstanding, I have met some men/women of God who are upright both in private and in public; these pastors still have extremely naughty children. Such situations often confound observers, understandably. They ask themselves what could have gone wrong with such kids. To them, these kids have parents who are really godly, not mere posers, who try every trick in the good parenting book in raising upstanding children. When explanations fail, pastors and observers alike toe the next reasonable lane: they blame the devil.

When hypocrisy is taken out of the equation, there is the need for an alternative explanation for the moral degeneration of pastors’ children. That explanation, I believe, is the higher than high moral expectation people have of pastors’ children. I do not think that this expectation is fair at all; I mean do we expect the children of a mathematician to showcase acumen for mathematics at every stage in their lives? If Vincent van Gogh had children, would we expect them to pick up their canvasses and become prodigies of art? Van Gogh may have tried his best to make little Van Goghs, all to no avail. Pastors could be trying their best too. It is unlikely that they have just left their kids to run amok. What we neglect to understand is that every individual, irrespective of the parental style they are brought up with, have the right to choose whatever path they please.

Perhaps, if society stopped expecting the children of pastors to be angels on earth, they will find the space to live in a way worthy of the offices of their parents. Pressure to conform can ricochet into unspeakable acts of rebellion.

 

Sincerely yours,

Daughter of Women’s Fellowship President

By: Dede Williams

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