‘They brought young children unto Him …’ 0

Christian missionaries have exerted themselves zealously to spread their faith in Africa. Christianity, they most sincerely and passionately believe, will improve the miserable life most people lead on that benighted continent. Let’s look at the improvement it has wrought.

From the Los Angeles Times:

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. Some of the churches involved are renegade local branches of international franchises. Their parishioners take literally the Biblical exhortation, “Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.”

Other Christians protest:

“It is an outrage what they are allowing to take place in the name of Christianity,” said Gary Foxcroft, head of nonprofit Stepping Stones Nigeria.

The bleeding-hearts brigade make excuses:

For their part, the families are often extremely poor, and sometimes even relieved to have one less mouth to feed. Poverty, conflict and poor education lay the foundation for accusations, which are then triggered by the death of a relative, the loss of a job or the denunciation of a pastor on the make, said Martin Dawes, a spokesman for the United Nations Children’s Fund. When communities come under pressure, they look for scapegoats,” he said. “It plays into traditional beliefs that someone is responsible for a negative change … and children are defenseless.”

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.

The United Nations is being as useful as ever – making not the slightest difference:

Nigeria is one of the heartlands of abuse, but hardly the only one: the United Nations Children’s Fund says tens of thousands of children have been targeted throughout Africa….

American members of the same church plead ignorance …

The Nigerian church is a branch of a Californian church by the same name [Mount Zion Lighthouse]. But the California church says it lost touch with its Nigerian offshoots several years ago.

“I had no idea,” said church elder Carrie King by phone from Tracy, Calif. “I knew people believed in witchcraft over there but we believe in the power of prayer, not physically harming people.”

… while Church authorities say they’re too big to do anything about it:

The Mount Zion Lighthouse — also named by three other families as the accuser of their children — is part of the powerful Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria. The Fellowship’s president, Ayo Oritsejafor, said the Fellowship was the fastest-growing religious group in Nigeria, with more than 30 million members.

“We have grown so much in the past few years we cannot keep an eye on everybody,” he explained.

Read the rest of the LA Times article if you can stand the sickening details of the torture inflicted on children by their parents and pastors.