We recall stories of religious charlatans of past ages preying upon the vulnerable and uninformed. The famous “Witch Hunts” of by-gone eras cause us to shiver while moments later we breathe a sigh of relief that that was in the distant past and that they do not happen anymore.
In this season of joy and peace, the following is most sobering. Children in Nigeria are being beaten, abused and abandoned by the hundreds every month in the name of Christ. The claim is that these children, some are infants, are witches.
Here is a quotes from the article: “Pastor Joe Ita is the preacher at Liberty Gospel Church in nearby Eket. 'We base our faith on the Bible, we are led by the holy spirit and we have a programme of exposing false religion and sorcery.' Soft of voice and in his smart suit and tie, his church is being painted and he apologises for having to sit outside near his shiny new Audi to talk.”
In a second quote the pastor justifies his actions: “'We know how they operate. A witch will put a spell on its mother's bra and the mother will get breast cancer. But we cannot attribute all things to witches, they work on inclinations too, so they don't create HIV, but if you are promiscuous then the witch will give you HIV.'”
From this link you will read that thousands of children have been abandoned, tortured and killed by their Christian parents and pastors. These heinous acts are being perpetrated by evangelical Christians in the name of Christ! Innocent children are being blamed for normal unfortunate things that happen in life. They are being blamed for droughts, job losses, accidents, illness and disease. Can you imagine the terror and confusion these children suffer as they try to understand why their parents hate them enough to beat them, abandon them or even try to kill them. As you will be aware from other postings I am deeply dismayed by spiritual abuse issues, and this story is a prime case of blatant and subtle spiritual abuse on so many levels.
I recognize that I am so far removed from the situation that I cannot intervene and take a discarded child or two or thee into my home. I recognize that this is another country and another culture. Yet I cannot help but raise my lonely voice and raise questions. Though this spiritual abuse in its most extreme form has been going one for years, where is the outrage from our religious press? A great cry goes out about The Golden Compass and emails fly forth about the Church being threatened by a children’s tale, yet there seems to be utter silence on this horrendous tragedy.
Where are the voices of our Church leaders around the world calling people to pray for the children and to give money to help provide care and comfort for these children? The essence of my humanity cries for these children and I cannot just say, “That’s too bad but there is nothing I can do.” Our faith tradition believes in the importance of prayer, but it also believes in the value of action and social justice.
I will do what I can. First, to draw their attention to the issue I am going to email a copy of this blog to my COs and Divisional Commander. Second, I am going to try to find an agency that is providing shelter, food and education to these victims of spiritual abuse and for the next year send them a monthly gift.
Third, I am challenging each reader of this blog a question, what are you going to do to help draw attention to this disgrace to the attention of others?