Christian religious extremism hits the American psyche when a fundamentalist church-- Assemblies of God, which thinks Harry Potter is the gateway to Satanism, while facing charges of child abuse requests a $500,000 earmark from the federal government. Or when Sarah Palin is cleansed of witchcraft by a Kenyan Assemblies of God minister. This form of religious extremism when exported to Africa kills people and causes rampant child abuse.
For decades, fundamentalist evangelical churches have sprung up throughout Africa. Some are affiliated with American congregations, while others are a bit more free form; all claim belief in Jesus. Many of them of share a common hysterical belief in "witchcraft."
"Witch" gets misinterpreted as anyone who is different, weaker, who can be scapegoated for one's troubles. Heck Sarah Palin and her pals "prayed a witch" out of Alaska. And the prayer group gleefully recounted the results.
In Akwa Ibom State, the center of the Nigerian child witch hysteria, the State Governor, Chief Godswill Akpabio, lamented:
The church will torture children and some of the churches will pretend to use oil to try and remove witchcraft from a child. So far we have we have 165 children some of them are not up to 9 months old who have been thrown away by their parents because the church said those children will bring them misfortune.
The Governor has taken a firm stance, declaring
The churches are busy deceiving people in many aspects including avoiding deaths. We have to do something to re-strengthen the Child Right Law. We must fight against the abuse of children and ensure proper education for them.
Analysts trace the phenomenon to poverty which drags parents to Churches and other spiritual centres to seek prosperity...Further investigations show that such parents are usually ready to pay anything to the spiritualists to "deliver" their children from the "grip of the devil."...In some cases, all that is needed for parents to begin to suspect their children of witchcraft, is a manifestation of certain "strange" behaviour. Others are "identified" any the presence of an "inexplicable" illness afflicting them.Strange behaviors for the Assemblies of God?
Smoking Drinking Drugs Homosexual behavior Staying in room alone Dressing in black (fingernails, lipstick) Body piercings Demonic symbols on jewelry & clothes Music (Marilyn Manson, Godsmack, Korn) Books (Majick, Harry Potter) Unusual scars and burns on right hand Time to send Trey or Tiffie to Teen Boot Camp.
Or time to crack down on "religious" abuse of children at home and abroad.
Lisa Derrick is La Figa at Firedoglake.com