Churches involved in torture, murder of thousands of African children denounced as witches
By KATHARINE HOURELD - LA TIMES VIA AP
Added: Sat, 17 Oct 2009 23:00:00 UTC
Thanks to C. Lovatt for the link.
EKET, Nigeria (AP) — 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."
"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.
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."
Nick Cohen - The Spectator Comments
To be a racist in Britain, you do not need to cover yourself in tattoos and join a neo-Nazi party. You can wear well-made shirts, open at the neck, appreciate fine wines and vote Left at election time.
Brendan O'Neill - The Telegraph Comments
The rebranding of circumcision as 'child abuse' echoes the ugly anti-Semitism of medieval Europe
AFP - - Comments
Circumcising young boys on religious grounds amounts to grievous bodily harm, a German court ruled
Katherine Stewart, R. Elisabeth... Comments
Religious Extremism In Public Schools: R. Elisabeth Cornwell & Sean Faircloth interviews author Katherine Stewart
NBC News - MNSBC Comments
A Roman Catholic church official was convicted Friday of child endangerment but acquitted of conspiracy in a groundbreaking clergy-abuse trial
Katherine Stewart - The Guardian 36 Comments
How Christian fundamentalists plan to teach genocide to schoolchildren