Commercial bus preaching has become a popular phenomenon in Ghana especially in urban areas like Accra and Kumasi. Although I am not against preaching in general as I am devoted Christian myself, I believe the practice of preaching in commercial buses should be criminalised for a number of reasons.
1. First, to ensure public safety. As I have already indicated, I am not against preaching. However, preaching in commercial buses has the tendency to distract the driver, leading to minor or major accidents. Some drivers are very zealous about their faith. Therefore, it is possible for them to get enthused about what is being preached while driving, thereby losing focus. Having a divided attention while driving is dangerous and could lead to preventable accidents.
2. Secondly, to protect public health. Bus preaching has the potential of putting passengers at risk of contracting infectious diseases. This is because, sometimes, droplets of saliva from the preachers mouth end up on the faces of those sitting closer to him. This is a conduit for the spread of infectious diseases like covid-19 and tuberculosis.
3. In addition, some passengers consider preaching in public buses as a distraction to their peace of mind. I have witnessed a situation where a passenger was compelled to ask a preacher to minimize his voice because he needed some peace of mind. On a different occasion, the whole bus turned noisy because a passenger requested that the preacher end his sermon because he was suffering from a severe headache and did not want any form of noise. Unfortunately, he was tagged by other passengers as an anti-christ which led to exchange of abusive words.
4. Furthermore, bus preaching may appear like forcing one's religion on others. A typical commercial bus would consist of passengers from different religious background. Christians, Muslims and Traditionalists or even Atheists. Once a preacher starts delivering his sermon, passengers who do not share the same religious belief could be pissed. They feel they are being forced to listen to what they don't believe in. I think everyone has the right to choose what to listen to. However, preaching in commercial bus does not respect this right.
5. Last but not least, preaching in commercial buses has become a disguised avenue for begging. Begging is an illegal act in Ghana. Many bus preachers end their sermon with begging passengers to donate money "to support the work of work of God". This is criminal! My argument is that, if the law abhores begging on the street, just because a person is able to do it in a moving or a stationary commercial bus after preaching cannot legitimize it.
Ghana is a secular state. The 1992 constitution recognizes the right of every citizen to practice the region of choice or joins the association he deems necessary or appropriate. However, actualisation of such human rights must be done in such a way that do not negatively affect others.
It is important to note that criminalising preaching in commercial buses in Ghana will not be a novelty as some countries have already taken the lead. In 2012, Jamaica, a predominantly Christian nation banned bus preaching. Bolivia, a South American country also criminalised the practice in 2017. Russia passed a law in 2016 that made preaching at places either than recognized churches an offence. In China, those who preach in public buses are sactioned by the law.
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