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Hoosier Musings on the Road to Emmaus

Monday, October 19, 2009


I am a Christian.

This means that I believe in God in all those complicated, messy, Triune forms. All that Nicene Creed stuff? Yes, all of it-- without crossing my fingers even once. I try to be a faithful disciple of Jesus Christ. I fall way short of perfection, but I'm glad to keep plugging away.

I know-- you've already figured that out, yes? This is not shocking news.

But this is:

Churches involved in torture, murder of thousands of African children denounced as witches

The idea of witchcraft is hardly new, but it has taken on new life recently partly because of a rapid growth in evangelical Christianity. Campaigners against the practice say around 15,000 children have been accused in two of Nigeria's 36 states over the past decade and around 1,000 have been murdered. In the past month alone, three Nigerian children accused of witchcraft were killed and another three were set on fire...

I am angered and ashamed beyond words of the evil done by purported Christians-- those "brothers" and "sisters" enmeshed in a warped, manipulative "discipleship" that has nothing to do with following the Prince of Peace.

There's a scar above Jane's shy smile: her mother tried to saw off the top of her skull after a pastor denounced her and repeated exorcisms costing a total of $60 didn't cure her of witchcraft. Mary, 15, is just beginning to think about boys and how they will look at the scar tissue on her face caused when her mother doused her in caustic soda. Twelve-year-old Rachel dreamed of being a banker but instead was chained up by her pastor, starved and beaten with sticks repeatedly; her uncle paid him $60 for the exorcism.

Israel's cousin tried to bury him alive, Nwaekwa's father drove a nail through her head, and sweet-tempered Jerry — all knees, elbows and toothy grin — was beaten by his pastor, starved, made to eat cement and then set on fire by his father as his pastor's wife cheered it on.

The children at the home run by Itauma's organization have been mutilated as casually as the praying mantises they play with.

So, all you eager schismatics-- tell me again how "Global South" Christianity is somehow more faithful, more vibrant, more aligned with the Gospel than what we practice in mainline America.

Go ahead-- just try.


Blogger Young fogey emeritus said...

From thy followers, good Lord, deliver us.

These are Pentecostals not Anglicans.

I don't see the logic of comparing some ex-Episcopalians who'd rather not have gay weddings in their churches and thus are leaving for other Anglican provinces (the question whether they can do that is a whole conversation in itself and I haven't got a dog in that fight) and setting up their own denomination they want to be a province, and claim to own those churches (debatable but understandable given Episcopalianism's semi-congregational polity), to people who torture children in God's name.

October 19, 2009 8:31 PM  

Blogger Jane Ellen+ said...

I was not referring to the narrow issue of same sex unions per se, but the wider supposition in some circles that the practice of Christianity is healthier in African/non-Western cultures than in our own (see writings by Philip Jenkins, Lamin Sanneh and others). This belief was seized upon and has often been touted by schismatics, but actually predated any movement toward re-alignment.

No, the folks in the article weren't Anglican; but Abp. Akinola's history (actively supporting imprisonment for the crime of being gay, or inciting violent response to the Cartoon riots) indicates that neither he nor those he leads are exempt from complicity in several sorts of abusive behaviours. Just how abusive, I don't know; but it seems to me to be at the very least following the same path-- using a warped interpretation of Christianity to justify evil and even brutal actions.

October 19, 2009 9:50 PM  

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