Monday, September 22, 2008

Sarah Palin's Pastor Problems.

It turns out that Palin's pastor has actually carried out witch hunts. And that's not a metaphor, he actually accused someone of being a witch and told her to get out of town.

That's crazy talk. And yet that's the man who Palin says laid hands on her and helped her to win the election.


Alex Fear said...

I'm not a fan of Sarah Palin by far, she's just a cynical attempt by McCain to reach out to embittered Hillary supporters.

However, to be fair, Africa is home to many supernatural happenings, not just Christianity and Islam.

These witches and witch-doctors are not your stereo-typical middle-ages brand of witch that people associate with black cats and cauldrons. They are not typical new-age 'white' witches you see in Western culture.

Whether you believe in superstition and curses or not, African witch-doctors are basically your African version of a hired hitman. I've had this explained to me by some Nigerian friends.

People go to these witch-doctors and pay them to have curses put on their enemies (eg. a neighbour they dislike or have argued with). The neighbour may then find out about the curse and go to another witch-doctor and pay them more to lift it (and also curse the original person). It's basically a racket that these witch-doctors have on the community - like the mafia.

In some cases if people experience a run of 'bad luck', they will also assume that they've been cursed (not just that it's normal to have bad days). So they'll go to a witch doctor who will tell them (of course) that they've had a curse and charge them to lift it.

These are the same witchdoctors who tell people to sleep with female virgins to be healed of aids- which leads to rape of children and babies. The same witch doctors come up with lots of different evil kinds of stuff to cure things.

Like I said you don't need to believe in this stuff to see how bad it is. Therefore, it's a good thing that a Christian minister would seek to prevent this. Normal people are too scared to approach a witch doctor obviously. This pastor is simply calling on God to help him put an end to it.

It doesn't involve dunking people in water and that kind of nonsense. They simply confront the demon and demand it leaves, or they are running the witch-doctor out of town. No one is being persecuted or killed in this instance.

As for the other things the churches are doing, they are trying to bring education and build infrastructure alongside the other charities out there. They want to put an end to superstition and witchcraft as much as any rationalist or materialist would.

Kel said...

I take your point Alex, but there is no indication that Mama Jane was any kind of witch at all, indeed, the story is that Mama Jane was simply a fortune teller and that Muthee wanted to take control of the town - in order to establish his church - and saw this as a way to do so.

"Muthee wanted to get control over the town of Kiambu, Kenya - a place just outside of Nairobi. Not content to set up a church and slowly gain the trust of the local inhabitants, Muthee decided to get publicity and gain political power through a piece of cruel theater.

Muthee chose a local woman named Mama Jane who happened to work as a fortune teller. Mama Jane had never caused much trouble before, but she was an important target for Muthee, because she was a close associate of town’s leaders. Muthee accused Mama Jane of being a sorceress - a witch who was engaging in spiritual warfare to curse to town of Kiambu.

Muthee’s proof of Mama Jane’s witchcraft? There had been three car accidents in the neighborhood of the clinic where Mama Jane worked. That, said Muthee, was sure evidence that Mamma Jane was a witch."

Had he been motivated by the kind of actions which you rightly condemn, I would agree, but there is nothing to indicate that this is what he was doing.

The indication is that he used this woman to discredit the town's leaders and establish himself as the town saviour to make it easier to establish his church.

Alex Fear said...

It's true that there have been cases of Christian ministers who have used their influence to commit crimes and sin. I have also been told of this by the same Nigerian friends from before.

I visited the link you posted for irregular times, and I've tried to find an original source for the story- but so far he links only The Nigerian Tribune which is a bland article calling for intellectual Africans to think critically, the other is an article direct from Prayer Links Ministries which, if you read, is a rather less exaggerated account which goes to say that the 'witch' was originally influencing the authorities against the church.

I've tried googling Mamma Jane but have found nothing outside of the same politically charged articles using this story to smear Sarah Palin.

Don't get me wrong, I don't disbelieve Palin has dirty laundry, I just don't believe this is it- it's simply a low attempt to do a Jeremiah Wright on the republicans.

We can't really say what went on between this pastor and witch - I've only read the second-source articles, so I think we need to approach this with a little skepticism.

Also, I don't understand why they are calling the pastor a witch-hunter, when their defense of the woman is that she's not a witch but a fortune teller. Even then, it's odd to see rationalists defending fortune tellers.

For the record, any African witch hunter who goes after the witch-doctor in this article gets my praise:

Threat to Albinos

Kel said...

For the record, any African witch hunter who goes after the witch-doctor in this article gets my praise:

Threat to Albinos

I'm with you 100% on that Alex. And I only linked to that article because I couldn't find the one which Olbermann was referencing in the London Times. It was the fact that they were writing about it which gave the story credibility to me.

Although I notice that the Daily Mail also have a story along very similar lines and they are a very right wing newspaper.

It is the fact that both the Times (if Olbermann is to be believed) and the Mail have referenced this which makes me think, as they are both natural supporters of the Republicans, that this might have legs.

Although you might be right, there might be nothing to it...