Questionable Motives

December 26, 2009

Isn’t religion all about love?

I come across this description all the time, usually by well-pampered middle-class white folk who think their various innocuous religious interpretations of caring, compassion, and love represent the ‘mature’ version of modern religious belief. Any religiously-inspired action that defies this caring and compassionate version of god-inspired love is almost always dismissed as nothing more than an ignorant fringe element that does not represent the true meaning of faith in god… no matter how prevalent or abhorrent the religiously-inspired actions are. In this way, the religious believer can erect a false barrier between actions that are not about showing the love and actions that are, claiming the former is not caused by faith in god – in spite of religious faith being the direct and admitted root cause of the latest atrocity – while the latter is ONLY caused by faith in god. It is a neat trick. God gets only good press, so belief in god must therefore be only about the love.

It is the same story when believers attribute the miraculous survival of one person in the midst of a disaster to god’s benevolence while conveniently attribute the mass death and widespread destruction of a disaster to either natural forces or as god’s justified punishment – usually as a response to something about homosexuality. So here’s a fun little activity to try.

Try singing out a loud ‘Praise God!’ in response to news of  a mounting death toll from the latest mudslide, avalanche, flood, famine, tsunami, hurricane, tornado, cyclone, volcanic eruption, earthquake, or fire, and see what kind of response you get: people will think you’re rather sadistic, and understandably so. But sing out a loud ‘Praise God’ when one person survives this onslaught of the indifferent forces of nature and believers will not criticize your sadism because they don’t see the flip side of the beliefs. They only see what gives their god good press. This kind of belief has nothing whatsoever to do with love and everything to do with maintaining duplicity, which is dishonest. Religion is all about being dishonest in one’s attributions about god.

So it is without surprise that the forces of ‘love’ once again do battle in the name of honouring god…

In Nigeria, religious fundamentalism holds sway. Both Christian and Islamic fanatics are holding the nation hostage. They seek to foist their dark, retrogressive vision on the country. They show total disregard for human rights and basic freedoms including the right to life, freedom of thought, association and expression.

In July, religious fanatics once again unleashed mayhem in Nigeria. On the 29th, a Wednesday, a mob of about 200 people from the Liberty Gospel Church invaded the Cultural Centre in Calabar Cross River State. The Cultural Centre was the venue of a public symposium on witchcraft and child rights organised by the Nigerian Humanist Movement and Stepping Stones Nigeria.

Incidentally, the attack by the Liberty Gospel Church happened at the same time as the Nigerian police and the army were doing a battle with an Islamic sect called Boko Haram in Bornu State in Northern Nigeria. This fanatical group had declared a war against the state. They attacked and beheaded police officers and civilians in a violent campaign to foist their own version of sharia law on the country.

The picture is about Jane (left) and Mary, in Eket, Nigeria, who had been accused of being witches. Jane’s mother tried to saw off the top of her skull after a pastor denounced her and Mary’s mother doused her in caustic soda. There are THOUSANDS of such abused children and we have religion to thank for it.

You can feel and see more of the love by reading the report here.

So what, right? These religious nutbars are somewhere in Africa and the whole place is nuts.

Well. Guess again. Sarah Palin thinks the world of these religious nutbars.

An African evangelist, Pastor Muthee has given guest sermons at the Wasilla Assembly of God on at least 10 occasions in his role as the founder of the Word of Faith Church, also known as the Prayer Cave.

What has this to do with Palin?

She said, As I was mayor and Pastor Muthee was here and he was praying over me, and you know how he speaks and he’s so bold. And he was praying “Lord make a way, Lord make a way.”

“And I’m thinking, this guy’s really bold, he doesn’t even know what I’m going to do, he doesn’t know what my plans are. And he’s praying not “oh Lord if it be your will may she become governor,” no, he just prayed for it. He said “Lord make a way and let her do this next step. And that’s exactly what happened.”

Yup. The lord works in mysterious ways, mysterious being code for sadistic.

The pastor speaks of his offensive against a demonic presence in the town in a trailer for the evangelical video “Transformations”, made by Sentinel Group, a Christian research and information agency.

“We prayed, we fasted, the Lord showed us a spirit of witchcraft resting over the place,” Pastor Muthee says.

After the spirit was broken, the crime rate dropped to almost zero and there was “explosive church growth” while almost every bar in the town closed down, the video says.

The full Transformations video featuring Pastor Muthee’s story has recently been removed from YouTube but the rest of the story is detailed in a 1999 article in the Christian Science Monitor, as well as on numerous evangelical websites.

According to the Christian Science Monitor, six months of fervent prayer and research identified the source of the witchcraft as a local woman called Mama Jane, who ran a “divination” centre called the Emmanuel Clinic.

Her alleged involvement in fortune-telling and the fact that she lived near the site of a number of fatal car accidents led Pastor Muthee to publicly declare her a witch responsible for the town’s ills, and order her to offer her up her soul for salvation or leave Kiambu.

Says the Monitor, “Muthee held a crusade that “brought about 200 people to Christ”.” They set up round-the-clock prayer intercession in the basement of a grocery store and eventually, says the pastor “the demonic influence – the ‘principality’ over Kiambu –was broken”, and Mama Jane fled the town.

According to accounts of the witchhunt circulated on evangelical websites such as Prayer Links Ministries, after Pastor Muthee declared Mama Jane a witch, the townspeople became suspicious and began to turn on her, demanding that she be stoned. Public outrage eventually led the police to raid her home, where they fired gunshots, killing a pet python which they believed to be a demon.

It is this kind of religious nonsense, this is the kind of attributed thinking that powers the faith of people like Palin, and it ain’t about love. Religion is just as much about superstition, fear, and intolerance.

Read more of this travesty here.




  1. This is not religion, this is some nut case – believing in witches and killing innocent people? You have no right to generalize here!

    Comment by 4amzgkids — December 31, 2009 @ 7:25 pm | Reply

    • What I am pointing out is that those who accept unjustified religious beliefs with credulity tend to accept other kinds of unjustified beliefs like the existence of demons. After all, if one accepts the reality of a supernatural critter here called god, the what’s the big deal about accepting another supernatural critter there called a demon? There is no difference in the underlying assumption that revelation and personal testament is all one needs to ‘prove’ these kinds of claims.

      More importantly, I am pointing out that what appears to many people to be superstitious nonsense in the organized casting out of the demonically possessed is in fact part and parcel of a broken system of thinking about the world not just in some far away place but close enough to have a significant impact on thee and me in the form of political candidates like Sarah Palin. She believes in this superstitious nonsense and she condones this kind of superstitious nonsense and she promotes this kind of superstitious nonsense. By extension, so too do those who vote for her, and that’s not some far away problem but a problem that is up close and personal for each of us.

      Comment by tildeb — December 31, 2009 @ 7:45 pm | Reply

  2. This article is from gay and lesbian Hello….These people despise Republican, Religious pro-lifers so why would you ever believe such nonsense!Why don’t you look to Sarah Palin to see what she actually believes??? We have discussed how liberal media/groups/newspapers, etc…are very biased and how they exaggerate and do not give you all of the facts. IT seriously needs to be outlawed here. The main stream liberal media now wants everyone to believe exactly what they believe and they only show you that information. You need to watch a less biased news channel – one where you get to decide based on the facts – I thought that’s what you were all about. As for this crazy article – there are sick people out there, you can’t blame God and the church for that – it’s everywhere! The mother that tortured her children – has serious issues as well as someone that claims to be a witch. The church does not kill people possessed by demons or that claim to be witches – this is nonsense! I can see where non belief in God though causes a lot of hatred and judgment based decision making. Cause for alarm!

    Comment by 4amzgkids — January 1, 2010 @ 5:53 pm | Reply

    • You assume this article is nonsense. What if it isn’t? And if you want to truly outlaw very biased sources that do not give you all the facts, then may I help you chain up the doors to every church in your area? It’s the least I could do to help enforce a very sensible law.

      If you actually read the G&LH article, you would know that they make no such remarks about Palin. And not only should gays,lesbians, and transgendered people think poorly of American Republicans but poorly of anyone who would deny them their civil rights. The sexual orientation of the site’s authorship does not mean the report is nonsense; very similar reports come from a host of heterosexual authors, too. Leaders and members of the Liberty Gospel Church have directly participated in identifying people and children as ‘witches’ and have acted in various ways in support of maintaining and promoting these superstitious beliefs but now have gone so far and have had the audacity to launch a lawsuit against those who oppose their anti-witchcraft beliefs. (I cannot attest for the sexual preferences of those authors on the following site:

      What is surprising to me is that this story involves the maiming of thousand of children in the name of superstitious nonsense, supported financially by evangelical Americans who assume that anyone who purports faith in Jesus is automatically worthy of financial support. You label the authors of the report ‘sick’ but fail to attribute supporting these folk as anything other than ‘lies’. Not only that, but one of the worst offenders is a man who was invited to speak TEN TIMES at Sarah Palin’s church, and that’s why I posted her response to this man’s presence. Was Palin outraged that her church would support a man who advocates for the maiming and killing of children? Nope. She was impressed by his willingness to support her in her gubernatorial ambitions before she even told him about them. Such is the redeeming power of Christ in Palin’s world, a person who has ambitions for the White House and who has found rich support from evangelicals and other religious people.

      Having heard Palin speak to the issues of the day for several months and read many of her interviews, I know that Palin is superstitious and vindictive twit. Her faith in Jesus does not alter that accurate assessment, nor her anti-gay position, nor her right-to-life position. She in her comfy-doodle you-betcha ignorance (wink) is a menace to us all.

      Comment by tildeb — January 1, 2010 @ 10:05 pm | Reply

  3. Here you can get the facts on what she believes. I honestly thought you were beyond all of this nonsense!

    Comment by 4amzgkids — January 1, 2010 @ 6:12 pm | Reply

  4. Thanks for the link, 4. Let’s see:

    Teach creationism alongside evolution in schools: Strongly Favors topic 4
    Supports teaching intelligent design in public schools: Strongly Favors topic 4
    Committed to providing strong education, including morals: Strongly Favors topic 4
    ABC method: back to basics, plus patriotism & ethics: Favors topic 4
    Let parents opt out of schoolbooks they find offensive: Favors topic 4
    Pledge of Allegiance with ‘Under God’ is good enough: Favors topic 4
    Opposes explicit sex-education programs: Favors topic 4
    Declare a National Day of Prayer in Alaska: Strongly Favors topic 4
    The Bible has profoundly influenced America: Favors topic 4
    Recognize America’s historic and founding Christian heritage: Favors topic 4

    As I wrote, she’s twit. Thanks for more evidence but, really, I’m all full up.

    Comment by tildeb — January 1, 2010 @ 10:11 pm | Reply

  5. Your article above states “You can feel and see more of the love by reading the report here.” when I clicked on this link it took me nowhere but showed me the info. As for Republicans denying gays their rights? What rights are you talking about – marriage??? They are free to be gay and live their lives – no qualms. As Christians we are taught to love our neighbors as ourselves – to not judge people but to accept them for who they are. I’m not sure where you get your information from but it is very biased so you should really, really look to both sides – that’s the only way to make a reasonable, intelligent decision. I thought you already did this but from the articles I’ve been reading on your site, that’s the furthest thing from the truth. I would like to know where you read that evangelical churches finance witch hunts/killings and I would also like to know where you read that Sarah Palin supports a man that leads these things – She either did not know or someone has twisted the story – I’m sure of that! She is PRO-LIFE not into killing! You must be reading liberal/biased information. I don’t understand why she’s a twit for supporting the things above it is what she believes in – as you support things you believe in. However, I did not send you to that site for that purpose – I sent you there so you could learn about her in lieu of making sweeping generalizations about her and this church person that SUPPOSEDLY is into witch hunting! She’s not anti-gay – against gay marriage – but that’s a moot point. You are obviously a biased liberal that doesn’t seek the truth.

    I also noted in one of the articles you mention something about middle class white folks? Bigotry?? Religion is prevalent from the poorest up through the wealthiest, most affluent classes of people. Please research!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Comment by 4amzgkids — January 1, 2010 @ 11:52 pm | Reply


    Comment by 4amzgkids — January 2, 2010 @ 12:12 am | Reply

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