Anti-LGBTQ+ Christian groups launch sinister campaign to ‘reclaim the rainbow’ in Ghana

People hold up an LGBTQ+ Pride flag

Religious groups in Ghana have sparked controversy after launching a campaign to steal the rainbow flag away from the LGBTQ+ community.

Two groups, the National Coalition for Proper Human Sexual Rights and Family Values and Advocates of Christ Ghana, announced at the end of May their plot to “reaffirm” the rainbow flag to re-enforce heterosexuality and so-called “family values”.

The campaign cites the Bible passage Genesis 9:13 to 16, which describe how God flooded the earth due to sin, then sent a rainbow as a”sign of the covenant between me and the earth”.

It comes after a major research project saw 20 biblical scholars, theologians, ethicists, evolutionary biologists and sociologists come together to disprove the foundations upon which the Catholic Church has built its anti-LGBTQ+ stance.

The resulting study, published in May 2021, said claims that the Bible condemns same-sex relationships are based on misinterpretations and mistranslations. The group said its study should “serve as the final nail in the coffin of biblical and other arguments justifying homophobia.

This has not stopped the two groups in Ghana from using the Bible to attack LGBTQ+ rights.

Moses Foh Amoaning, a lawyer and executive secretary of the Coalition, said: “This is a fight between the almighty and man. Anybody who wears those rainbow colours for the LGBTQI, you will be a target of the holy spirit, you will speak in tongues, the power of god will come after you.”

The LGBTQ+ rights group Rightify Ghana responded on Twitter with a “crying laughing” emoji.

Some of the 21 people arrested leave after appearing in the Circuit Court in Ho, Ghana, on June 4, 2021. (Photo by Nipah Dennis / AFP) (Photo by NIPAH DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images)

The campaign comes a year after 21 Ghanaians were arrested for attending an LGBTQ+ event in May 2021.

They became known as the “Ho 21”, and were detained for 22 days while police tortured, humiliated and assaulted them. They were eventually released after a court granted bail, and were ultimately acquitted.

One of the 21, an intersex person, told Human Rights Watch she was stripped naked, told that she was not a woman and thrown into a men’s prison where police encouraged inmates to rape her.

She subsequently fled the country, explaining: “My life was at risk in Ghana. When [people found out] that I’m part of that 21 arrested in Ho, I had to change my location to another place, I had to run for my life.”

LGBT+ rights in Ghana may deteriorate further if the Family Values Bill currently circulating parliament is passed.

The bill would outlaw almost every aspect of LGBTQ+ life, and would even make advocating for LGBTQ+ rights a crime punishable by jail.