If you are a religious person, you might not want to read this post. Please know that I am not writing to offend or disrespect anybody’s right to choose, I am writing based on my own personal experiences living in Ghana, West Africa.
I wrote previously here about religiosity in developing countries and in particular to how I felt Maslow’s hierarchy applied in the context of developing countries being the most religious according to the world scale on religiosity.
I shared tonight on my Facebook how pissed off I get when these televangelists from Nigeria, Ghana and South Africa share those ridiculous “type amen” posts and vulnerable people type amen in response for promises that simply cannot be fulfilled by typing amen!!!!
The reason I get so pissed off is that I have seen first hand what these so called prophets and pastors do in West and South Africa. In Ghana, where 85% of the population is Christian (the remainder are muslim) everybody goes to church and churches are everywhere. I mean EVERYWHERE! Churches run 7 days and nights a week, sometimes until sunrise. Not just Sunday services, daily services. On our suburban street alone there were 2 churches alone. If it wasn’t the church pastors screaming about hell fire at the people day and night, it was the mosques calling prayers at some ungodly hour in the morning.
Some of the churches are the most incredulous buildings you can ever imagine. I am not even talking about Nigeria here, where churches are acres in size and hold 1,000,000 people. And don’t get me started on South Africa where they women pay for “blessed” sanitary items and water and forced to perform acts at the pastors whim such as eat grass (see image at bottom of this post). Reggie Yates did a fabulous documentary on the most notorious pastor there, called “The Millionaire Preacher” on his Extreme South Africa series, well worth a watch.
So all of this would be fine, as everybody should be free to choose their religion – EXCEPT that these churches and pastors operate as a law unto themselves. They do nothing for the people or the community that support them. The pastors live in mansions, drive fancy cars, have the best clothing and jewellery, children educated abroad, you get the idea. They are often womanisers as women are promised special healing or blessings for certain acts. Everybody knows about it and nobody does anything about it as they appear to have more power than the government. Nobody questions where the money goes that the people tithe each week. Everybody knows. Nobody questions. Can you imagine!?
Pastors charge exorbitant money for prayers, consults, family blessings, ceremonies, healings, good luck, financial blessings, business blessings, birthing blessings, spirit and demon exorcism – you name it. TB Joshua from Nigeria has a 24 hour television station running constantly taking donations. He is a whole other story.
Everybody knows in Ghana that the best business is church business. If you want to be rich, really rich, go into the ministry. Guaranteed to be the best income you will ever earn.
I saw a Ghanaian televangelist once perform a “miracle” on a woman who had apparently been pregnant for 20 months. One prayer from him behind a screen, a splash of blood later and the baby was born – a fucking miracle alright. I saw another where a girl had apparently never walked a day in her life, cured with a swift prayer and not only was she out of her wheelchair but dancing like she was on broadway. I was in a restaurant watching this spectacle, gobsmacked and burst out laughing. I didn’t realise that everybody around me was truly mesmerised and believed what they saw.
The really sad part of this for me is how the poor people who can barely feed their family are treated. Would you believe that their seat in the church directly relates to how much money they contribute each week. Can you imagine a person who just wants to worship can NOT go to church if they don’t have money that week!!?? They simply can’t go. I was absolutely mortified the first time I heard this.
I am sure I won’t be popular for writing this, but I can assure you that I am definitely not the only person who feels this way. I am tired of these beautiful vulnerable people looking for answers and hope being taken advantage of in this sickening way.
Education and personal responsibility are the only way to save this once great continent.
Religious brainwashing and domination are not.