Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Evangelical Healing Or Sanctified Manslaughter? British Deaths Allegedly Result From Nigerian Preacher's Scam.


Before Cortez conquered Mexico, there were over 25 million Meso-Americans living in western North America (from Alta California down to Chile). 100 years later, there were only 1 million Meso-Americans. Many were killed off by the diseases (mostly STDs) unknown to them, many died in slavery, and some died simply because they were considered "heathens" occupying valuable land. In a sense, what Cortez had really brought along from Spain (besides missionaries and soldiers) to the Americas was the plague of Western Civilization. 

In the realm of underdeveloped countries, only Nigeria has ever been able to return the favor: it has unleashed such a plague of scams upon the rest of the world, that it even has a particular scam named after it and the penal code that prohibits it: the Nigerian 419 scam*.  

And now, it's getting back at all those missionaries who told Nigeria it was going to hell for scamming everybody: it's exporting another version of evangelical Christianity.

At least three people in London with HIV have died after they stopped taking life saving drugs on the advice of their Evangelical Christian pastors.
The women died after attending churches in London where they were encouraged to stop taking the antiretroviral drugs in the belief that God would heal them, their friends and a leading HIV doctor said.


The "churches" were linked to a Nigerian humanitarian/televangelist, Temitope Joshua, who has dubiously claimed to heal people of HIV/AIDS, cancer, paralysis and a myriad of other illnesses (he also treats dwarfs as well, but I haven't been able to find out how). He also listed (by Forbes) as one the five richest pastors in Nigeria.

God is good, especially if you’re a Nigerian pastor with some business savvy. These days, millions of souls, desperate for financial breakthroughs, miracles and healing, all rush to the church for redemption. And while the bible expressly states that salvation is free, at times it comes with a cost: offerings, tithes, gifts to spiritual leaders, and a directive to buy literature and other products created by men of God.

The Pastor of The Synagogue, Church Of All Nations (SCOAN) - yes, that really is its name - Joshua also owns Emanuel TV, a Christian television network, and is close friends with Ghanaian President Atta Mills. He is also known as a  great humanitarian, establishing schools and rehabilitation programs, but it is no great surprise that his donations (upwards of $20 million) mysteriously outstrip his fortune (estimated at $15 million). He also has a history of giving "scholarships" and cars to winning football players on his team. 

If this sounds like an amalgamated profile based on some of our own "prosperity gospel" leaders, my guess is that Joshua comes close to being the offspring of Pat Robertson and Bishop Eddie Long. With Benny Hinn as the Godfather.

And it gets better: legends have sprung up around him, abetted by SCOAN and its website; probably the best of which is that his mother carried him in her womb for 15 months and that his birth was predicted one hundred years ago. Joshua has no known education in religion or theology, no Masters of Divinity degree. His "calling" is based upon his testimony alone. 

Whatever his fame and prominence in Nigeria, Joshua is now fostering "healing" in Britain, South Africa, Ghana and Greece (which, alas, can no longer afford him), hence, the deaths in the UK. 

The Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria has denounced Pastor T.B. Joshua as an "impostor" and seriously questions his life, calling and ministry, but evidently this denunciation has done nothing to decrease his popularity. It is all the more evident that corruption and con men overflow in Nigeria to such a point that seepage onto the rest of the world was inevitable. 

*I'm ashamed to say that I've almost fallen for one myself, but after the first 50 or so, I don't read past the Line "My name is ______ from the _____(bank/embassy/wealthy family) of Nigeria. (or Lesotho)" 


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