Love Thy Neighbour: August 2003 Archives

August 25, 2003

Well that cured it.

United States: A man is in custody after an eight-year-old autistic boy died during a religious ceremony to try and heal him.

During the hourlong session, the boy's feet and hands were restrained by his mother and other church members who prayed intensely for his violent tendencies to cease, the pastor's wife said.
He just passed away, Pastor David Hemphill said of the boy. God is a mysterious person, and if he wants to call a life back, he does.

But the police aren't buying that:

Circumstances are suspicious because most 8-year-olds don't just die. Unless there's a medical condition -- which we're unaware of at this time.
Haynes added that the boy did not die of natural causes.

The same church, Faith Temple Church of Apostolic Faith in Miwaukee, was investigated in 1998 after a 12-year-old girl suffered cuts and bruises after being hit with a stick by her mother during a service. No charges were brought in that case. Leaders were trying to heal boy who died during prayer, pastor says - CNN (US), 24th August 2003.

August 22, 2003

Keeping the children of the stupid stupid.

Namibia: Parents are threatening to remove their children from a primary school because they are convinced that witches are behind the deaths of three children last year.

It is now believed that the alleged culprits are accused of harnessing the power of an invisible blood-sucking zombie which can cause a sudden death whenever it craves for more blood.

This information was provided by witchdoctors. The appropriate ministry has pointed out its policy that nothing other than educational matters should be brought on the school ground and noted that it did not recognise witchdoctors as any sort of authority. Witchcraft fears at Katutura school - The Namibian, 22nd August 2003.

August 21, 2003

Witch beliefs in Ghana

Ghana: The Ghanaian Chronicle has published an interesting article about witch beliefs in Ghana, including a interview with a soothsayer and witch-hunter.

Maku stands confidently and elegantly. She is tall and dark, with a piercing pair of eyes and a powerful voice. She covers her body with hundreds of beads, chains, trinkets, bracelets, rings and other heavy ornaments. She wears her hair in natural dreadlocks, either dangling around her waist or wrapped in headgear. Instead of drinking water from pipes, she drinks rain or stream water, which she calls holy water.
My powers were given to me from God. I don't spill human blood. I only cleanse society of evil, she stresses.
A licensed practitioner and government-accredited soothsayer, Maku says she has been practising for over 40 years. She also insists that she is a Christian. To prove it, she recites the Apostles' Creed.

Not everyone in authority approves.

Many people strongly object to Maku's suggestions. They argue that witchcraft is a state of the mind. Ebenezer S.K. Agorvor, who has been a social worker with the Department of Social Welfare and Community Development for 38 years, says soothsayers are a nuisance to society and should be jailed for stigmatizing people.
I have worked in 11 local government areas across the country, and I think it is high time the rights of witches were protected, he says. He contends that many of these soothsayers must be stopped before they cause more havoc. When it comes to soothsayers, he says, the watchman also needs to be closely watched.

A profile of a soothsayer - The Ghanaian Chronicle, 20th August 2003.

This charming man

Australia: A local councillor has declared that a Satanic cult is trying to take over the city of Casey. His evidence? A single Wiccan lives in the area. Rob Wilson read out a statement on local radio urging vigilance, saying the presence of a witch a matter of concern for all Casey residents. When challenged, he told Victorian Premier Steve Bracks in a letter:

If people want me to represent paedophiles or Satanists or drug dealers, I'm sorry, but I want to represent the best interests of the whole community

The woman he has targetted, naturopath Olivia Watts, has filed a complaint with the Equal Opportunity Commission of Victoria. She says she is not looking for sympathy, but stress from the harassment has had a detrimental effect on her health.

I'm just looking for people in authority to realise the personal effect these allegations have, she said. These are real people's lives that they're playing God with.

Cult claims 'torment' - Cranbourne News, 21st August 2003.

August 17, 2003

Shut up or get out

The Observer newspaper has obtained a Vatican document from 1962, instructing bishops to cover up allegations of sexual abuse by clergy or face excommunication.

The 69-page Latin document bearing the seal of Pope John XXIII was sent to every bishop in the world. The instructions outline a policy of 'strictest' secrecy in dealing with allegations of sexual abuse and threatens those who speak out with excommunication.
They also call for the victim to take an oath of secrecy at the time of making a complaint to Church officials. It states that the instructions are to 'be diligently stored in the secret archives of the Curia [Vatican] as strictly confidential. Nor is it to be published nor added to with any commentaries.'

The document was discovered by a Texan lawyer acting on behalf of people abused by Catholic priests, and has been handed over to the US authorities. He said It proves there was an international conspiracy by the Church to hush up sexual abuse issues. It is a devious attempt to conceal criminal conduct and is a blueprint for deception and concealment. Vatican told bishops to cover up sex abuse - The Observer, 17th August 2003.

August 11, 2003

Flagellation brought up to date.

Japan: Police have raided the Panawave Laboratory's headquarters as part of their investigation into the death of a member. Bruises were found on the back of Satoshi Chigusa, a 40-year-old professor who did on Thursday, and an autopsy concluded that he had died of a combination of heat exhaustion and traumatic shock.

Police said they suspect stick beating was a cause of Chigusa's death. According to the police, one of the group's customs was to hit each other mainly with wooden sticks with the intention of protecting their leader, Yuko Chino, and themselves from electromagnetic waves.

Police raid Pana Wave HQ over member's death - Japan Today, 11th August 2003.

'Witch' hacked to death in India.

India: A man has handed himself into police in Orissa after a 60-year-old man was tied to a tree and hacked to death by people who believed he had caused diarrhœa by witchcraft. Suspected 'witch' hacked to death - Sify News, 11th August 2003.

August 5, 2003

Mensa candiates at it again

United States: Three men attacked a Sikh family outside their New York home after shouting Go back to your country, bin Laden. Police think it might be a hate crime. 3 men beat NYC Sikh family - Washington Times, 5th August 2003.

August 1, 2003

Using superstition to fight superstition

India: Many parts of India have problems with murders related to witchcraft accusations. Many states are dealing with it through awareness programmes, and improving access to medical services, but in Maharashtra they are different. Instead, they have decided to give credence to the murderers' beliefs and have made witchcraft illegal - instantly declaring that it really is possible to make someone ill through magic - and have banned the informal medicine which is the only sort most people have access to. The bill is being promoted as a measure against superstition, which would be funny if it didn't give official status to the prime excuse used by those who murder women. Ban on black magic in Maharashtra - Sify, 1st August 2003.

Bits and pieces

The Nielsen Haydens have been busy. First Patrick has a brief rant about the hypocrisy of the Catholic Church and its stance on gay relationships:

Yes, you read that right--letting children be raised by gay couples who love them would actually mean doing violence to them. Unlike, you know, raping them and covering it up. Definitely, these guys are just brimming with authority on the subject of doing violence to kids.

Teresa has discovered an interesting take on the book of Mormon.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries in the Love Thy Neighbour category from August 2003.

Love Thy Neighbour: July 2003 is the previous archive.

Love Thy Neighbour: September 2003 is the next archive.

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