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Interesting documentary on Evangelical influence in Africa


tigerchild

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This is about the influence of spiritual warfare type of Evangelical churches in the Congo becoming toxic as the fear/suspicion/abuse is turned on children. While it's not about white people coming in and hurting the locals, it does make me curious if American/European charismatic evangelicals have had something to do with it at some point. I know there's a lot of interplay/$$ going on with fundie churches supporting Christian leaders in a handful of African countries that support capital punishment for gay folks, ect. And given the nature of colonialism I can't help but think there's been an effect there as well.

What really made me think in this film though is how destructive the fear-based/spiritual-warfare based brand of evangelical Christianity is in the American church as well. :( It's used as an excuse to beat children, and commit sadistic acts against them of incredible emotional, spiritual, and physical violence. It's too bad that people will look at this, I think, and say, "Well, only those Africans would do that" but look at the "schools" for wayward evangelical kids, the children beaten to death a la Pearl, how walkaways and questioners are treated, the fear placed in families so that they need to isolate themselves or else be given over to the devil...and how often that abuse is looked over because it's Good Christian White People doing it. :(

I dunno, I am maybe hormonal or something, and it's late...but just some thoughts after watching "Witch Child" (british documentary about a certain type of Evangelical Church in the Congo and the UK that uses witchcraft (that they say is rooted in traditional practices, but when the host goes to explore what those practices are, the traditional non-Christian people are horrified at how it's being used by the churches to gain power/influence/$$ and commit abuse) as an excuse to eviscerate families, cast people out of community, and and to abuse.

Sounds pretty familiar, huh? Sometimes I feel like I have so much to answer for, from my past in this kind of church. I'm sure we sent $$ over to help the "godly" in Africa, so for all I know I have funded some of this, even there.

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I don't know. It's a very complicated and murky situation. I'm sure that there absolutely has been negative influence from Western missionaries. No question. The boarding schools that missionary kids were sent to are nothing to brag about, for most of mission history. The founder of Compassion International has a tragic, heartbreaking history with those schools and is vocal about the problems with them and the failures of "mission culture", at least when his parents were in Africa.

But at the same time, what I've seen as troubling in some African evanglical churches, I have seen *African* evangelicals defending with "Well, it's just our culture! You can't possibly understand." This includes the physical abuse of congregants--slapping, beating, even parading them naked as a punishment for sexual misconduct. :/ In Ethiopia many native evangelicals strongly maintain that FGM is a necessity in their country, in opposition to Western missionaries pointing out that it is absolutely *not* part of faithful Christian living in terms of Scripture and historic doctrine. I don't think it's a racial thing, but it may be a cultural thing.

The cult my husband is involved in, from watching their videos, seems to be practicing some type of syncretism. They picked up many aspects of Christian evangelicalism, but carried in the whooooole traditional religion mythology and merged it with Christian ideas about demons. What happens in many of their services is indistinguishable from what you'd see at a witch doctor's ritual, except that the word "Jesus" is liberally sprinkled in at the church one. In an interesting reverse, the leader is using social media to export his version of Christianity to the West and has a growing following in Europe and America, as well as in some parts of Asia and the East.

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