Saturday, February 27, 2010

Christians turning belligerent Haiti

Following up on my last article on the hipocrisy of Christian charity, on the heels of the massive 'charity' display in Haiti are news of a Christian mob attacking and pelting with rocks Voodoo practitioners at a Voodoo ceremony for the victims of the quake.

The self-interest I alluded to in my previous post was frankly exhibited by Pastor Frank Amedia of the Miami-based Touch Heaven Ministries in the above cited article. He had this to say:

"We would give food to the needy in the short term but if they refused to give up Voodoo, I'm not sure we would continue to support them in the long term because we wouldn't want to perpetuate that practice. We equate it with witchcraft, which is contrary to the Gospel."

According to the article the Christians even pissed on some of the sacred symbols of the Haitian religion. There is now fear of a religious war exploding between Voodoo practitioners and militant evangelicals, who oftentimes bribe people into converting to their religion or else they would deny aid.

Keep in mind that this is still happening well into the post-colonial era, and whatever negative things might be said of Voodoo, we know that it was during a Voodoo ceremony that the cry for independence was heard and it was thanks to Voodoo that slavery was abolished and independence was gained in Haiti, making it the first black nation and the first free nation in the hemisphere of the Americas. Voodoo is, naturally, very important to the identity of many Haitians, even if just for the historical value of its symbols and legacy.

If the Haitian crisis does evolve into religious warfare, maybe it's time to begin an international dialogue about how we should forbid religious groups with evangelizing agendas, or religious groups of all stripes, from being involved in major charity operations in the future. If they sincerely want to help, they should do so via the international aid organizations that are in place, whose work should be streamlined via cooperation with local community centers.

To introduce bands of millitant Christian bullies into a country already in ruins and where religious violence was the last thing that they needed was definitely counter-intuitive, and should not be acceptable in the future.

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