Ghana church group ‘linked to radical Christians’

Image copyright Reuters Image caption An estimated 10,000 people marched on a central square in Accra

One of the world’s largest rallies against the LGBT community in Ghana drew crowds estimated at 10,000 people.

The largest protest was held in the capital Accra last week, the United States’ National Security Council said in a statement.

The US-based group, Families for Freedom, is accused of being linked to far-right political movements and Christian groups in the US.

It has been accused of radicalising young people and encouraging violence.

They say they are a “non-partisan Christian public policy organisation”, but it appears to have links to a Christian group in the US called the Liberty Counsel.

The group’s founder, Mat Staver, describes himself as a “public figure for religious freedom and child advocacy”.

When pushed by CNN, Mr Staver refused to deny the firm’s ties to the Liberty Counsel.

“We are not political,” he said.

In Ghana, families for freedom came out in opposition to the bill

Mr Staver also denied that his group was engaging in hate speech.

“We are not engaging in hate speech, but we are expressing a religious viewpoint,” he said.

Local groups previously called on the US to pull its funding from Ghana if it did not approve of the country’s crackdown on gay and lesbian couples, with churches saying that the money would be better spent on healthcare and education.

Gag order

In a statement last week, the US National Security Council denounced the bill.

It said it had no reason to believe that the proposed legislation “will not negatively impact on the reputation and relationship between the United States and Ghana”, it said.

The “African exception to the principle of non-discrimination”, which protects people’s sexuality from discrimination, was needed to work together to stop this violence, the statement added.

The second statement added that US engagement in Ghana and Ghana’s sexual minorities needed to be “direct and substantive”.

It also said that the US was “prepared to work together to stop violence that we have seen rise in the country under the guise of ‘religious or moral values'”.

A social media campaign was also launched in Ghana to “revoke the gag order on homosexual persons” in the country.

A petition to re-register the US department of state’s global promotion of human rights as gender and sexuality special interest included signatures from hundreds of people.

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