On the question of hypocrisy, there are many angles to find Ghanaians culpable, although we manage to find new ways to display our hypocrisy every single day.
Nothing illustrates this more clearly than the incredible level of support the former ICGC pastor and gospel singer Josh Laryea is receiving from the so-called ‘sophisticated’ Christians brigade on social media since the scandal of his alleged inappropriate affair broke.
In case you’ve been living under a rock, let’s bring you up to speed. Josh Laryea was suspended by the International Central Gospel Church for an alleged immoral affair.
A letter dated March 29, 2017, issued by The Church Council which GhanaCelebrities.Com has seen a copy states among other things that, “The Presbytery has authorised the Disciplinary Committee to look into the allegations levelled against Rev. Laryea”.
It also adds that “Rev. Josh Laryea is being withdrawn from the pulpit and thereby the Doxa Temple with immediate effect. This is to allow the Committee carry out its work uninterrupted.”
Per the statement, a new pastor will be assigned to the Doxa Temple and it urged Rev Laryea to fully co-operate with the leadership of the church in the investigation.
However, Josh Laryea has been receiving a disproportionate amount of support online, in relation to the reaction you would expect from Ghanaians if a preacher as ‘unsophisticated’ as Obinim was involved. When any scandal involves Obinim breaks, you would expect his followers to staunchly defend him, whilst most of the general public at large descends on his back. These moral crusaders often portray themselves as too enlightened for a preacher like Obinim to have influence over them.
Yet, majority of such people have been strongly defending Rev Laryea since the issue popped up. So far we have heard so many defences of Laryea, ranging from ‘these are mere allegations’ to the last resort of any Christian who does not want you to scrutinise the actions of their pastor – ‘touch not my anointed’.
This highlights a double standard at the heart of Ghanaian religious discourse, which has now gotten to such critical levels. It seems that in this country, people’s reactions to scandal is not conditioned necessarily on the truth or not of what’s happening but on the ‘sophistication’ associated to the one accused.
The defence of Josh Laryea has been overwhelming and near unanimous, despite something like a pattern being discerned in his relationships with female congregants. Honestly, try and imagine if this issue of molestation involved Obinim and imagine the sort of responses it would draw online and the narrative that would be drawn.
Obinim would be pilloried, drawn and quartered – dragged through the mud of the court of public opinion. It’s true he has a checkered history, but every case has to be judged on its merits and it rarely happens in his case.
Yet in the case of clean shaven, baby-faced and well liked Josh Laryea, a strong defence is being mounted for him. It raises the important question of how easily duped we are by appearances in this country.
If someone is a serial philanderer and potential molester yet puts on a nice public front, he’s going to get people defending him no matter the case.
So how sophisticated can one really be, if all that is needed to get their support is putting on a ‘pious’ public face? Perhaps such people can easily identify with Josh because such hypocrisy rings true to them – many put on pious faces themselves but in the dark of night, God knows what they engage in.
Issues have to be looked based on the merit of each supposed case, not on our preconceived notions of who we like or do not like. Otherwise, such charges of hypocrisy would always hold water. What is good for the goose must be good for the gander!