Atrocities are, unfortunately, not new to Africa. The Sudanese province of Darfur is currently the best-known part of that continent where atrocities are an everyday occurrence. Some 15 years ago it was Rwanda. One would think that Christians in Africa — being members of what is claimed to be “the religion of love” — would be alleviating that violence rather than adding to it. But if you thought that, you’d be wrong, because the truth is, they’re perpetuating violence of their own there. The AP reports via MSNBC on the phenomenon of Christians torturing and even killing people they claim are “witches” (WebCite cached article):

The nine-year-old boy lay on a bloodstained hospital sheet crawling with ants, staring blindly at the wall.

His family pastor had accused him of being a witch, and his father then tried to force acid down his throat as an exorcism. It spilled as he struggled, burning away his face and eyes. The emaciated boy barely had strength left to whisper the name of the church that had denounced him — Mount Zion Lighthouse.

A month later, he died.

Nwanaokwo Edet was one of an increasing number of children in Africa accused of witchcraft by pastors and then tortured or killed, often by family members. Pastors were involved in half of 200 cases of “witch children” reviewed by the AP, and 13 churches were named in the case files.

The funny thing about this is that it’s entirely scriptural! If you put together Mosaic-Law admonitions against witchcraft, e.g.:

There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, one who uses divination, one who practices witchcraft, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer (Dt 18:10)

with Jesus’ own demand that one turn on one’s own family, e.g.:

He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. (Mt 10:37)

then you are bound to have people turn even on family members who are condemned as “witches.” It’s simply a natural consequence of those words, and is unavoidable so long as those words are revered.

Worse than that, though, is that there is actually a perverse incentive in place for Christian pastors in Africa to find people to denounce as “witches”:

“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.”

These pastors are using “witchcraft” accusations, then, as a source of self-aggrandizement, and as a form of extortion. How nice of them to do that, given that they’re representatives of “the religion of love.”

The question is, are occidental Christians — who are generally willing to condemn the (Muslim) Janjaweed of the Sudan for their massacres of non-Muslims in Darfur — also willing to condemn what their co-religionists are doing in other parts of Africa? I’m only hearing an eerie silence.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,