An explosive episode of Joselyn Dumas’ latest reality show ‘Keeping It Real’ aired on Saturday (December 2nd) with the discussion centred on religion, spirituality and the unfortunate commercialization of both in Ghana.
The actress/TV personality moderated the discussion between the staunchly religious gospel singer Lady Prempeh and the fiercely anti-organized religion but pro spirituality Akosua Hanson.
The lengthy, intelligent conversation was highly nuanced and provided a range of opinions from the host and her panellists as they delved into the issues of religion and its outsized influence on Ghanaians, an influence which is sometimes taken advantage of by some unscrupulous ‘men of God’ to advance their own purposes.
The corruption of religion for exploitative purposes is something that has been discussed over and over in this country, with luminaries like former President Jerry John Rawlings and many others condemning it; and the panel ‘kept it real’ in following a similar vein.
The purpose of a lot of churches in Ghana has become “money, money and money”, Dumas noted, adding that “there’s always something about give when you don’t even have and you’re going to get ten thousand fold [in return]”
At this point Hanson, who is sister to the equally controversial Bulldog (Lawrence Asiamah Hanson), chipped in.
“This is where capitalism has been merged with spirituality and the people who suffer are ordinary citizens.” she said.
“Someone who doesn’t have, she can’t even buy food that day for herself or for her kids, but her last is what she’s going to give because she believes she’s going to sow a seed.”
Joselyn Dumas continued by speaking up for the poor who can’t afford to give in churches but who might feel some pressure to do so based on how some churches frame giving as an absolute must.
“If you have faith of a mustard seed you can move the biggest mountain, I get that. But don’t tell me that when I don’t have any food to eat when I get back home with my children, and I have Ghc 20 in my wallet, you are asking me to give that.” the ‘Potato Potahto’ star heatedly noted.
Akosua Hanson added that churches must go back to the original intent for the offertory, which is to serve as a use for the upkeep of the church – instead of taking people’s money with empty promises some of these pastors can’t keep.
“What’s the point of collection in church?” the broadcaster asked.
“To help the church set up, [pay for] everyday work people do. Pay the bills. So why don’t we tell people that they are giving money for the upkeep of the church.., but not sow a seed and if you do this God will [bless you]. Why not tell them the reality?” she wondered.
Lady Prempeh gave a defence of seed sowing, narrating an anecdote of a church member who sowed a seed with the little she had, hoping God will help her find capital for her business – and some church members contributed to give it to her.
“That is what the church should be doing, we should be helping each other.” she said, adding that the lady might have missed the blessing of the church members’ contribution if she had decided she won’t sow just because she doesn’t have enough herself.
The conversation turned to churches and their entry into other areas of business, such as schools, financed partly by monies taken from the congregation. Joselyn noted that church members who contribute to such ventures should have an advantage over others since they contributed to the venture.
The frank and honest conversation touched on many other interesting topics including the trending issue of gay rights in Ghana.
‘Keeping It Real’ with Joselyn Dumas is a chat show created by Dumas and airing every Saturday at 8pm on GhOne TV. The show is produced by Shirley Frimpong Manso’s Sparrow Productions in conjunction with Dumas’ own Virgo Sun Production