Blessings for sale
|by Kristine Steakley|
Just to prove that it isn't just the Episcopal church that struggles with orthodoxy, the Washington Post's On Faith section features this story about the popularity of Pentecostalism in Africa. Where the people are dying from disease and starvation, the miracles and prosperity promised by sometimes unscrupulous preachers has an understandable attraction. And the prosperity promised to unscrupulous preachers has, perhaps, an equal attraction:
The pastor touches an old woman, she faints. Then out come the collection envelopes. Minimum is 100,000 Uganda shillings ($62.5), although the poor can give as little as 10,000 to receive a blessing...
Francis Adroa gave her car to a Ugandan church promising to cure her of HIV/AIDS. The miracle failed, she got sicker. And she's now a pedestrian.
Moses Malay heads a Ugandan organization helping what he calls victims of "pulpit fraud" after quitting a church whose pastor claimed divine powers.
"I saw people robbed and I participated. How do they do it? Simple. They instill hope, they nurture it, they reap."
Greedy preachers in fancy cars are one American export the African people could very well have done without.