Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Witchcraft Wednesdays: Paralyzing Menstruations & Church-Run Sex Orgies

Witchcraft (1964).
One of the most common complaints about governments anywhere is that they just don't do enough to solve problems. They often only seem interested in maintaining power. Well, let's start off this week's Witchcraft Wednesdays with a politics story that is bloody ridiculous.

Have you heard the news about the Bahraini Justice,  Islamic Affairs and Endowment Minister Shaikh Khalid bin Ali Al Khalifa wanting to stamp out witchcraft and sorcery? Surely he means belief in sorcery? What? No, I guess not.

Bahraini MP calls for government to stamp out witchcraft and sorcery
A Bahraini MP has accused his nation’s government of failing to stamp out ‘sorcery’ and ‘witchcraft’, which he claims was recently used by a woman to paralyse her husband in the Middle Eastern state.
And how, exactly did this wife -- why is it always a woman in these places? -- paralyze her husband?
"There is one case of a Bahraini wife who went to someone because she wanted her husband to be obedient. 
"He (the witch) told her to mix her period blood with his food, which eventually caused her husband paralysis. He has been in that state for the past seven years." 
Her crime: wanting her husband to listen to her -- maybe even take her advise. EVIL! We all know husbands are supposed to be the bosses according to the Islamic Affairs minister.

So, I guess she must be a very bad cook, because there is nothing toxic about a little blood. And notice the underlying contempt with menstruation in this story that you really would come to expect in any culture so influenced by the Quran.
2:222 "They question thee (O Muhammad) concerning menstruation. Say: It is an illness, so let women alone at such times and go not in unto them till they are cleansed. And when they have purified themselves, then go in unto them as Allah hath enjoined upon you."
Islam's got a problem with menstrual blood. Apparently, the stuff is downright evil. Naturally, it's all completely ridiculous.

He seems to be calling for an outright witch hunt. I suppose any women who bleed monthly could be considered possible suspects.
Mr Bugais called on the authorities to round up alleged practitioners and witches, who he claims charge clients large amounts of money for their supernatural services
"But people can contact us and we will take legal action immediately against those committing such acts."
Onto other news. Hey, did you hear about the big sex orgy at the RMG Independent End Time Message Church in Zimbabwe?

Zimbabwe: Court Told of Sex Orgies At Gumbura Church
ONE of the six women allegedly raped by RMG Independent End Time Message Church founder Robert Martin Gumbura (57) has recounted how group sex orgies were performed at the pastor's residence and how Gumbura thwarted her efforts to escape the sexual abuse.
She said one would lick Gumbura's toes, another would kiss him while he would be having sexual intercourse with the third woman at the same time.
Why is it always the apocalyptic End Time churches? On a serious note, the church is alleged to have been a horrible cult and over 10 women have come forward to press charges.

Anyway, the tie-in to witchcraft here is that Mr Gumbura had apparently earlier accused the court witness of being a witch because someone else's kid had died in the church. It's really not a pretty picture.

Remember I mentioned the big conference being held in Papua New Guinea to curb witchcraft killings? Well, there's an interview with a PNG pastor on Radio Australia about what's been learned at the conference and if there are any practical policies that may help curb the violence.

More police one answer to sorcery killings in PNG

Yes, the answer appears to be more police - with the caveat: they don't have enough police as it is. Oh, and the police they do have are so superstitious that they stand idly by while the violence against suspected witches is happening.

After Reverend Jack Urame, director of the Melanesian Institute, said that it was agreed to increase the police presence in tribal communities and actually further empower the community tribal courts, the interviewer countered with:
But it has been suggested has it not that some of the incidents, that the police stood back, they were there, stood back and allowed these incidents to unfold. So how do you deal with that particular issue and it may well be that the police themselves believe in sorcery?
So, after reading this interview, I see some problems in PNG:

  1. Villagers in tribal communities believe in witches and witchcraft.
  2. The police in these regions often believe in witchcraft.
  3. People who are considered highly educated and who occupy high positions in PNG also seem to believe in witchcraft.
  4. Even so-called people of science, medical doctors and nurses, believe in witchcraft!
And something that's not really mentioned here but I thought I'd add in is that, like in Africa, it's very likely that evangelical Christian groups also believe in witchcraft! And even if they do not explicitly do so, their book can be cited as proclaiming witches as real and insufferable to live.

With this false belief so prevalent you would think that secular education would be the obvious solution. The interviewer touches on the apparent paradox that even the well-educated -- often in Western institutions -- upper classes still hold on to witchcraft belief.

Now, to what degree do you think the problem is being exacerbated by the fact that educated people, some in high places, I believe are themselves believers in sorcery. So when we talk about the argument about education improving the situation, it appears even those who have a good education still believe in something which the rest of the world's thinks is just outdated?
Of course, this isn't surprising at all. Just look no further than modern day religions in the west for a whole plethora of irrational belief. So the only solution here is a program of early secular, science-based, evidence-based education, like at the Kasese Humanist Primary School in Uganda.

The good reverend agreed. But it's unlikely he himself realizes that, at core, the problem is superstition and his own religious text could be used to undermine any positive efforts.
That I think is the biggest challenge, because people have the right to believe in what they believe and so but I think after we change the way they report sickness and death and that in times of crisis like that in the community. Because I think we have to do more awareness and we have to do I think more education, so the people see things and interpret things in a different way, because we continue to put cultural lenses when we experience crisis in the communities. So we have to put I think the scientific lens as well, because that is what is lacking.
More science, less religion, if you please.

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