Thursday, 3 August 2006

The cult of the burnt fornicator - religious abuse

Churches should be sanctuaries not prisons [1]

The worship of Moloch

When I read on NaijaBlog that a church was making some of its congregation pass through the fire for their sins, I dismissed it with the thought that this was related to the worship of Moloch and left it at that.

Well, on further research it appears this was a more serious issue that now includes charges of a homicide and other counts of attempted murder.

There is no doubt that religious cults do thrive in Nigeria, especially where people are offered seemingly quick-fix solutions that lead to other deeper problems as the people are absorbed into cultist and socially unacceptable circumstances.

Charlatans as Reverends

Anyone, can rise with any title and declare themselves the megaphone of God for these times and people can be taken by spectacular shows and illusions that depict supposed miracles, they are milked of all their wealth and well-being with the promise of safety and deliverance.

Indeed, when in a church, one should in ways submit to the leadership of that church, but in the wisdom that includes understanding clearly that this leader can be trusted to do what is right. It is called discernment.

Only fools tread

Unfortunately, as sheep lead to the slaughter, many forfeit their God-given mental faculties to submit to lies and Old Testament foreboding which fills the congregation with self-loathing, fear, low-esteem and subservience.

Leaders in the church are supposed exercise authority that exudes leaderships, mercy, mentoring and grace. They are to lift up their people so they can go out and face the world with a sense of purpose, self-worth, integrity, honour and trustworthiness.

Sometimes, some of the congregation falls to temptation or heinous sins like fornication or adultery, it is a time to come together and counsel them and strengthen them to move on from the guilt of sin, if that is the prevailing doctrine to a state of absolution and sense of redemption.

Burning the sinner

To now hear that jerry cans of petrol were poured over offending fornicators and then they were set alight leaves one bereft of composure. Wherever this quack Dr and fraud got this teaching from escapes me – witches might have been burnt in the past but witchcraft is not fornication.

Separating the church from the state

Regardless of church doctrine, it is no more in the remit of the church to mete out the kinds of punishment that exemplified the Spanish Inquisition; the law is managed and administered by the state.

The church or any other religious organisation should defer to the state on matters of crime or civil justice where the society would have determined the punishment for the crime as their legislatures would have proposed after a fair trial.

The worst the church can do is excommunicate members who refuse to abide by the rules of membership. A church must not convene a kangaroo court and mete out punishments as if it were a court of law carrying out the affairs of the state.

One of many victims of religious abuse

In this case, Ann Uzoh King ultimately lost her life having suffered serious burns, a victim of cult movements in Nigeria that get no scrutiny from the authorities because followers and adherents have been brainwashed into thinking these rotten organisations are for their good.

Any right thinking person would know that these acts are completely wrong – however, is it any wonder that like opium, religion does deprive one of complete control of ways, means and heads?

References

Attempted Murder: King Granted Bail, Re-Arrested

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