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)" 

The Morality Of OWS: U.S. Marine Sgt. Shamar Thomas vs. The Christian Right Establishment

(Author's note: This article has just hit #1 in OpEdNews! Please help me spread the word by clicking on to the link and telling everyone to do the same - it's more important than promoting this blog. Thanks for your wonderful support)

 As Occupy Wall Street (OWS) passes the one-month mark, people on both sides are proclaiming their stance on its morality, but one very imposing African-American ex-marine has captured the hearts and minds of people everywhere.

This weekend, United States Marine Corps. Sgt. Shamar Thomas from Roosevelt, NY faced down over a dozen NYPD officers and gave them hell about their brutality that has been plaguing the ‘Occupy Wall Street’ movement.

As he posted on his YouTube video:

I was involved in a RIOT in Rutbah, Iraq 2004 and we did NOT treat the Iraqi citizens like they are treating the unarmed civilians in our OWN Country. No one was brutalized because our mission was to 'WIN the hearts and minds.' why should I expect anything less in my OWN Country.
As a man who loves his country and its citizens, Thomas may have intended to point out the particular immorality in the NYPD's handling of the protesters. But an underlying sentiment was stronger: the morality of OWS itself.

And according to some of today's Christian leaders, the OWS is very, very IMmoral:

Renew America claims that President Obama will take the ultimate reins of power, using OWS as a pawn in his attempt to take over America. They are afraid that the Obama administration will cancel the 2012 elections in order to establish a dictatorship.

Pat Robertson said that OWS was a "cruder expression of Obama."

Bryan Fischer alleged that Nazis were working to bolster the Occupy Wall Street movement in tandem with Democrats and Communists.

At the Values Voters Summit, Tony Perkins (Family Research Council) and his band of "social conservatives" actually prayed for Divine intervention:

"May God prevent these radical organizers from stirring revolution and distracting voters from the elections and keeping watch on our elected leaders."
Maybe they thought God would smite the protesters with a plague or a tiny tornado to whisk away the tent city.

But now that we have people like Rev. Jesse Jackson in the fray, the OWS scenes across the country (and the world) have come to look more like the class struggle that it was intended to be. The latest question may now be: to what extent are churches going to be involved?

No doubt, there will be some harsh words to be said from conservative churches (like the Southern Baptist Convention) to progressive ones such as Most Holy Trinity Catholic Church in San Jose, CA: it withdrew over $3 million from its Bank of America accounts and deposited the money in a local credit union. The reason given was not only solidarity to OWS, but a fiery rebuttal to all the foreclosures endured by it parish of 7200 people. St. Andrew Episcopal Church in Saratoga, CA is following suit with a withdrawal of $150,000 from Wells Fargo. Both are part of PACT (People Acting in Community Together) which now represents 25 congregations and 50,000 people.

The dichotomy will not be lost on the general public: various religious institutions will either be for "social justice" or against it.

Of course, the entire fracas boils down to money: those who need it, and those who want to keep it. The Christian Right's denominations may become one in supporting the 1 percent because, that is, after all, where their money comes from. It also behooves them to keep people poor and nix secular social programs since the poor used to depend upon church charity for survival. In effect: victory against the OWS movement would be a win-win situation for people like Tony Perkins, Pat Robertson, and rising conservative Southern Baptist star Pastor Robert Jeffress.

If the country has a sense of deja vu in all of this, it may be because it's now expecting to see scenes involving protesters and water hoses. Sgt. Thomas has made us look back and wonder on which side morality will stand.