Monday, December 17, 2007

A Sobering Matter in the Season of Peace and Joy

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?


Eric said...

As a Christian, I denounce all perversions of what the Bible teaches. I wholeheartedly, and categorically denounce the despicable practices you have shown a light on. This is not Christian! This is not what the Bible teaches! These children need to be protected from the people who would wrap their own ignorance, fear and superstition in some sort of 'legitimacy' and have chosen to pervert the Bible to do that. This is the first that I had heard of this outrage and I will do my part to spread the message. Where can I read more about this?

Evie said...


In paragraph 5, click on the phrase, "abandoned, tortured and killed." That links to an article in the UK newspaper, The Guardian.

Barbara said...

This is disgusting. Thanks for letting me know about this. I know that it will be in my thoughts. I don't know what I can do, but at the very least, I will educate myself more on this.

Dave said...

Barb....drawing it to the attention of others and encouraging them to tell their friends and church leaders is a start. The Salvation Army is not yet responding to this situation.

Catharine said...

I have a very hard time dealing with and tolerating abuses to children, the elderly, animals and other less fortunate. I firmly believe that the health of a society is how it treats its most vulnerable citizens. Jesus expects us to treat others with love. When Christians use religion as a means to abuse others or abuse a system I get angry. No wonder there are people around the world who do not understand religion when there are so many abuses of it.

Stephen said...

This is not Christianity! It is perversion to the enth degree! This is the first time I have heard about this situation. It's no different than the Jim Jones situation in South America all those years ago - powerful cult like personalities that pervert faith and manipulate the weak, ignorant and the vulunerable. It is also obvious that the supersticious past of their culture is playing a distinct role in this horrifying act.

One needs to remember that in this culture, children are seen as disposable. They are not always seen as an asset to one's life. They are not cherished. If my life life and that of my children is threatened, I will give my life to preserve theirs. However in many African cultures this is not necessarily the case. It may sound surprising as one should think it would be an instinctive element of human life. But self-preservation is the base instinct of humanity. When there is a famine or some natural disaster that threatens life, it's the children that are abandoned first to the elements or killed - you can always have another child.

We need to be careful to equate such a henious situation as Evangelical Christian - even though it may look, sound and smell as Christian. It's the same as the Mormon faith - it sounds, looks and sometimes tastes like the Christian faith - yet beyond the outer skin level, there is virtually no similarities.

True faith - is what was demonstrated by the early church - where human life took on a whole new form - of dignity and respect. Women were valued and lifted up. Jesus chose to reveal himself first to women. Jesus embraced children when popular culture tried to shun them. That is the standard - that is the very root behaviour of the Christian faith. Let's not pretend what is happening in this area of Nigeria is Christian. It needs to be exposed for it's falsehood and it's absolute debased and perverted ways.

It's important that is exposed to as wide an audience as possible. This is worthy of international attention - on the government level and within the church level. I am astounded by the defeafening silence on this matter!

David, have you forwarded this info on to Army in your sphere of influence? Has this article been cooberated? I will google this and see what I can find and then I too will forward this info on. As you know I send a weekly "E-Chat to my congregation and to many others who are associated and will share this info.

I am hot under the collar about this one!

Kelli said...

I have been researching this for a while and have created three petitions that let our voices be
heard. Please sign them for the children.

Thank you,