Originally published, December 10, 2012
In an age where the tabloid can shoot people with skin-deep virtues into prominence, less attention is paid to core social values and authentic leadership; regardless of whether it is in the political arena or the religious circles.
The sordid saga playing out in the media over the indiscretions of Bishop Daniel Obinim, Founder of God’s Way International Ministry offers civil society the opportunity to learn to examine with quiet reflections, news which airs with such pulsating emotions.
In a parody of Christian leadership, it serves the interest of society best when the issues and the lives involved in sleazy activities such as is being reported in connection with the current Bishop Obinim “drama”, be scrutinised with piercing reality. When that is done the right lessons are likely to be learnt out of every calamity. This guarantees enrichment of the life of the Society, as the mores- the pillars on which society stands- are made stronger and more resilient.
The Obinim saga acquires a unique and a singular particularity with the attitude and pronouncements of the “Bishop”; who, after having admitted to having extra-marital relations with his junior pastors wife, is donning the victims cap and claiming that the situation of the poor child at the centre of the drama, is due to a curse he invoked in the name of Jesus.
Two observations that ring out immediately over his obnoxious claims are (1) his attempt to manipulate the circumstances and (2) the fact that he has cracks in character.
The Theology Of Blessings And Curses
As I indicated on Peace FM a couple of days ago, some religious leaders instill fear in their followers to gain acceptance and to enslave people. This as a tact is generally employed by some individuals to perpetuate their parochial interests. This tact seems to be common practice among a new breed of “so-called” Prophets to have emerged in this country, who remarkably, have difficulty teaching the “WORD” of God, but are snooty with manipulating skills.
For such, instilling fear has become their stock in trade, in the recruit and retaining their converts.
I dare Bishop Obinim over his claim that the child’s condition is a result of a curse he pronounced on him in the name of Jesus Christ. The infirmity of the child is either of natural causes or the Bishop did so using familiar spirits- witchcraft, in simple terms. If the latter is true, then his actions and pronouncements betray his source of operational power.
If anyone alludes to Elisha, in the Old Testament, ordering out a beast from the bush somewhere, which came to destroy children who were making fun of him, [2 Kings 2:23-24], I cancel this claim, by pointing out the fact that we live in the dispensation of Grace. When a section of Christ’ disciples wanted him to call down fire to destroy a group of people whom they perceived to be “enemies”; the response of Christ was “you don’t even know the Spirit you are working with”. [Luke 9:55] Now that is instructive enough, to every believer.
I believe in the Christian theology of Blessing and Curses, having ministered in the Deliverance Ministry for close to four decades, the issue is not as simple as the ‘Bishop; would have us to believe.
Proverbs 26:2, which states, “like a fluttering sparrow or a darting swallow, an undeserved curse does not come to rest”, raises important questions over, who the real offender is. Is it Bishop Obinim, Gifty Pokua Fobi or the baby? The text in Proverbs 26, precludes the basis for the Bishop’s curse having effect on the child. The child’s sad situation is therefore, not the hand of Jesus Christ as Obinim claims, but a clear signature of Satan.
Again, the admission of the Bishop to having sexual relations with the wife of his assistant Pastor, a married woman, takes his sin across both biblical and traditional moral boundaries. It falls within the category “abominable sins” or “akyiwade” in the Akan language. The Apostle Paul admonishes that such should not be named in the mist of the community of believers. (1 Corinthians 5: 1-6)
So, the bishop’s refusal to have the issue settled amicably, and instead, daring his assistant to go anywhere with the issue, clearly points to cracks in the character. The Bishop should stop playing to the gallery of fanatics and rather do proper restitution to God and the people he offended.
I recommend that the child be subjected to medical scrutiny to establish whether she is actually infirmed. The parents of the child must first tell the world, the condition of the child at birth before the prophet browsed his hand through the hair, ostensibly to curse her.
At this juncture I would like to pose some questions:
- What was the Ante-natal history of the mother?
- Was she regular with her visits to the clinic?
- Were there complications during pregnancy?
- What is the family history of both parents with regards to paralysis? Did the child cry at birth?
- Was delivery normal?
- Was there a prolonged delivery?
A prolonged delivery can lead to lose of oxygen during birth, which in turn could lead to Cerebral Palsy- a chronic paralysis caused by trauma to the brain during or after birth, and its symptoms include the loss of movement or other nerve functions. Pastor Fobi has now indicated on his taped conversation to a friend (Daily Guide, 15th August), that the wife had difficulty giving birth, resulting in her admission of having an affair with the Bishop. How difficult was the delivery? Could that be the cause of the girl’s medical condition?
There are a variety of complications of birth injuries which, may also account for loss of movement or other nerve mal-functions. There are, however some types of injuries, such as bruising and swellings; forceps scars, etc. which may heal in the cause of time. Notwithstanding, if the nerves are torn, the resulting damage may be permanent. Another, issue that needs to be clarified to the public is the mothers’ state of emotional and mental health. Could she have hanged between two “husbands”, a (painful-sweetness) situation of staying with one you do not love- without suffering emotionally?
I call on civil society, particularly; Mrs. Fobi’s extended family members to focus on the plight of the child, considering that she is a precious citizen of this nation.
Let us ignore the ramblings of BISHOP DANIEL OBINIM; and the seemingly selfish attitude of Gifty Pokua Fobi whose only joy in life seems to be the sex slave of the BISHOP, plus the doubtful naivety of her husband, and extend to the baby the warmth of love our religions and traditions demand of us.
As indicated in the opening paragraphs, the occurrence of such situations offer society unique learning situations, the lessons of which will have to inform our personal rectitude in dealing with lawlessness within the community. I have few questions for the adults in the saga.
Was Pastor Fobi at all material time, living together with his wife, in their own home or were “squatting” in a house provided by Bishop Daniel Obinim? What is the condition of service for Associate Pastors in GOD’S WAY INTERNATIONAL MINISTRY, with regards to accommodation? What did Pastor Fobi do about her wife’s frequent requests that she be allowed to visit her father as reported in the Daily Guide of 15th august 2011? Did he ever follow up even with a phone call to the in-Law to know what was going on? Did he at any time ever cared to find out whether his wife had arrived safely at the father’s house and tried extending greetings to the in-law? Was Pastor Fobi ever aware that his wife enjoyed tremendous largesse from the Bishop? Did she? Did the husband ever notice that his wife lived above their means?
How good was Mrs. Fobi at telling stories, to have deceived the husband for so many years?
Is Pastor Fobi sure that he only found out his wife was having an amorous relations with the Bishop at the time when she had difficulty giving birth, or this whole saga is a scam by which both of them benefitted economically? If Bishop Obinim is to pay a whooping 2 billion old Cedis to Pastor Fobi as demanded, how much alimony is due to Mrs. Obinim seeing that Gifty’s relationship with the Bishop was consensual?
Reading her own tapped recordings as published by the Daily Guide, Mrs. Gifty Fobi will have to let the public know why she went ahead to marry Pastor Fobi, when she knew she was, in fact, in love with his “boss”? Today, Bishop Daniel Obinim is at the receiving end, and rightly so, being a Pastor, a moral agent and a leader of a Church, he should have known better. But the question is, would the public’s reaction have been any different, if Gifty had gotten into a relationship with a Phones Vendor, with a few phones on his table?
This case is a test of the resilience of society’s position on the questions of marriage and family. Do we consider them as institutions with any sanctity? The posterity of every society depends on the institutions of marriage and family. And therefore, this should serve as a reminder, to all of us that these objective Institutions, the veracity of which must be held above the whims of all, at all times, since our survival as a community of people depends on the effective functioning of these institutions.
We should not therefore, just sensationalise and discard such recurrent news after a while, but take concrete steps to address the fall out. In this instance our hearts must go out to Mrs. Florence Obinim and her children, for the emotional trauma and public ridicule they might have suffered, but most importantly, I call on civil society to unite around the innocent baby, come to her aid; and ensure for her a purposeful and enjoyable future life as a Ghanaian.
Are we in position to defend the sanctity of the institutions of marriage, as well as, the family?