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President Deplores Expensive Funerals   
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President John Evans Atta Mills has appealed to the clergy, traditional authorities, and the media to wage a relentless crusade against expensive funerals which have a negative impact on the development of society. In a speech read for him at the golden jubilee celebration of the St. Paul's Methodist Church at the weekend, President Mills said some expenses associated with funerals were not worth it.

"After everything has been done in the most expensive fashion, families were left with debt to clear, mouths to feed, school fees to pay and utility bills to pay," he said. He described a typical Ghanaian funeral as "preserving the body of the deceased in the morgue, performance of seventh-day rite in some communities, setting a suitable date for the burial and funeral rites which were done to accommodate all those in the Diaspora which could take anytime from two weeks to three months or in some cases six months or more". President Mills stated that apart from that, endless meetings were held to select an appropriate photo of the deceased and to decide who pays for what to announce the death.

At the burial service, priests would also not resist taking offertory twice or even thrice, and after burial lunch, drumming and dancing are held at the funeral grounds whilst dinner for a selected few and finally the family gather to share debt from the display of opulence during the bereavement, he stated. President Mills, therefore, called for a critical look at expensive funerals which depicted opulence and not humility which was the hallmark of Christianity. He said in the 1990s, some churches and traditional authorities decided that funerals were becoming expensive and therefore banned wake-keeping but a few years down the line, funerals had become far more expensive than in the 1990s. "There is the need to redefine some of our cultural practices if we are to win the war against poverty and intensify education on the dangers of social vices which is fast gaining currency in Ghanaian communities," he added.

He said some Christians were losing focus of their spiritual needs and replacing them with desires of the flesh, contending that "many people make the attaining of riches and status their only purpose in life and as an end in themselves". That, he said, had led some people to sacrifice their youth, health, family life and spiritual values in pursuit of such things. He said vices such as Sakawa, occultism and cyber fraud were gaining roots in the society especially among the youth who were the most vulnerable in terms of morals; and called on Christians to train the youth so that they will not depart from the virtues and values espoused by Jesus Christ when they become adults.

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