Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Witches in Africa

Apparently it has become something of a competition between some Christian groups in Africa to identify and punish 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.

...Sam Itauma of the Children's Rights and Rehabilitation Network said it is the most vulnerable children — the orphaned, sick, disabled or poor — who are most often denounced...

"Even churches who didn't use to 'find' child witches are being forced into it by the competition," said Itauma. "They are seen as spiritually powerful because they can detect witchcraft and the parents may even pay them money for an exorcism."
I hear evangelicals in my denomination and others speak glowingly about the growth of Christianity in Africa and how this is the hope for the future of the church, and a haven for those in this country wanting to find a more comfortable adjudicatory fit.

We stopped burning witches in this country hundreds of years ago and have made continual , if slow and hard-fought, progress in human rights for minorities, women, and gays. And this is the Christianity they want to take us back to. (And no I am not saying any one I know endorses this kind of behavior, but this is the spirit of much of the celebrated African Christianity - ant-gay, anti-Muslim, anti-woman, anti-witch.)

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