Monday, December 17, 2007

Quote of the Day: Joe Knows Witches

(((Nigeria; African Evangelical churches and practices; hunting child-witches; witch hunting and "deliverances" no more "essentially" Christian than sharia tribal honor practices "essentially" Muslim)))

Pastor Joe Ita of Liberty Gospel Church in Eket, Nigeria sez:

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. [ . . . ] We are the only ones who really know the secrets of witches.

Yeah, it kind of sounds funny, if you haven't been reading the horrifying descriptions of child mutilation and murder. Rich churchmen like Joe make tons of money charging parents for the "deliverance" of their children from witch-spirits. Of course, it turns out it's not enough to kill the children:

Parents don't come here with the intention of abandoning their children, but when a child is a witch then you have to say "what is that there? Not your child." The parents come to us when they see manifestations. But the secret is that, even if you abandon your child, the curse is still upon you, even if you kill your child the curse stays. So you have to come here to be delivered afterwards as well.

My point about sharia has always been that there is nothing "essentially" Muslim about it. It's not the Qur'an, and in fact early Islam was precisely all about overcoming certain aspects of tribal bullshit, like, for example, the abandonment and murder of female infants. Not that Muhammad was modern, just that murdering a woman for being raped is not some integral part of Qur'anic or even Muslim logic, without which the whole thing would fall apart or be unrecognizable. This witch hunting strikes me in a similar way:

Although old tribal beliefs in witch doctors are not so deeply buried in people's memories, and although there had been indigenous Christians in Nigeria since the 19th century, it is American and Scottish Pentecostal and evangelical missionaries of the past 50 years who have shaped these fanatical beliefs. Evil spirits, satanic possessions and miracles can be found aplenty in the Bible, references to killing witches turn up in Exodus, Deuteronomy and Galatians, and literal interpretation of scriptures is a popular crowd-pleaser.

Even if you think the "tribe/s" question is/are American and/or Scottish evangelicals and pentecostals, the point remains the same. Further, in Africa, there are not the same mitigating political, social, and cultural factors that at least prevent freaks who think their children are witches from burying them alive. Most of the time, anyway.

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1 comment:

Kelli said...

There is a way you can help. 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 for posting this, the more the word about this gets out the better.

Thank you,