A colleague sent me by WhatsApp a news video reporting the death of 27 people after drinking ‘jik’, a household bleach, during a Sunday church service in South Africa to cast out demons.
In that video was another news item. A pastor had told his congregants to fight each other (actual fisticuffs) in order to cast out demons. They believed it, and they did fight!
Both happened in 2019.
These were not the first of such incidents. On September 14, 2018, six worshippers died instantly after drinking the bleach. Recently, the same prophet made his church members drink Dettol, claiming the disinfectant would heal their sickness.
A newspaper quoted him as saying: “I know Dettol is harmful, but God instructed me to use it.” And the church members believed him! Because he was a “man of God”.
From one of the East African countries, a pastor is seen on video having sex with a young woman in a swimming pool as other members of the congregation look on! They had been told that sex with the pastor was God’s way of solving her problem. And they believed it!
In ‘civilised’ Unites States of America, Jim Humble, founder and “archbishop” of the Genesis II Church of Health and Healing, has been promoting a bleaching agent as a religious sacrament that “has the potential to overcome most diseases known to mankind.” Humble is a former Scientologist who reportedly claims to be a billion-year-old god from the Andromeda galaxy.
Inside our own country, Ghana, a video has gone viral in which a popular “man of God” is kissing a female congregation member in full view of all. In another video, a prophet has bathed in a barrel of water and is giving out the “sanctified water” to his congregants to drink.
Now they are doubling money in church and fetish shrines. Mallams are also doing same.
It is not the brazenness of the crime that shocks me; it is society’s seeming helplessness in the face of crimes committed in the name of religion, all because of a 1992 Constitution that guarantees everyone the right to worship the deity of their choice and to congregate for the purpose of worshipping this god.
What type of democracy or freedom permits this? If democracy is rule of the law, am I being told that there are no laws regulating religion?
These ‘prophets’ cannot be men of God; they are criminals. Worse, they are mentally unstable, with borderline mental disorders that have not been medically diagnosed for treatment. These are people who should, in civilised societies with strong governments, not be allowed even 100 metres near sane men and women.
They are taking advantage of human desperation, especially by women: women, because they are the triple burdened — their own burdens, the burdens of their irresponsible husbands and burdens of their children born out of these harrowing marriages. That is why women outnumber men by as much as 10:4 in any religious gathering. They are fodder for the greed of these unstable men in cassock and collar.
Some of these “men of God” have, as I heard someone describe them, become “gods of men”. Among their clients are politicians seeking power, tycoons, sports and film celebrities in society. I wrote it before and I repeat for emphasis that this was the state of affairs in Guyana that provided fertile ground for the operations of Reverend Jim Jones, the “Man of God” who masterminded the Jonestown Massacre in which a total of 918 Americans died from drinking cyanide on November 18, 1978. This ‘Man of God’ moved with the high and mighty and powerful in politics and business.
A study I conducted shocked me. I found that in Ghana, many of the people who follow these “prophets” are not necessarily looking for salvation through Jesus Christ; they couldn’t be bothered if the pastor proved to be a Satanist. God does not matter to them; they are in ‘church’ for a miracle, a prophecy, for visa, for a child. If a ‘miracle’ does pop up, they don’t want to know if it is from God or satan.
We face a clear and present danger. As Ghanaians did when they faced threat from galamsey, as government did when signs predicted imminent bank collapse, we need to act now to save us from these mad men.
We cannot ban churches but we can make laws that forbid the sale or mass consumption of foods or liquids recommended by prophets.
Source: Graphic Online