Wednesday, September 17, 2014

It's Vampires, Not Satan!

Witch hunters are still unfortunately common in much of Africa. Recently, Nigerian evangelical Helen Ukpabio has threatened to sue two British activist groups. Ukpabio was accused by the two groups of writing that young children why cry at night are possessed by Satan, but she claims these comments are inaccurate and inflammatory. In fact, she wrote that such children were possessed by "vampiric witchcraft spirits." Which, in the context of throwing around baseless witchcraft accusations, is clearly such an important distinction that it merits a massive lawsuit.

The evangelical Christian, who claims to be a former witch herself, has drawn criticism for exploiting superstitions and potentially harming children. Among other things, she believes children under two years old who cry in the middle of the night might be possessed with black, red and vampire witchcraft spirits.

But Ukpabio, whose ban from the UK was made on the grounds of child protection, is now threatening to sue the British Humanist Association (BHA) and the Witchcraft and Human Rights Information Network (WHRIN) over the wording of complaints against her, which confuse possession by Satan with vampire spirit possessions.

The associations accused Ukpabio of writing: "a child under two years of age that cries at night and deteriorates in health is an agent of Satan". However, the Christian preacher claims it is "vampire witchcraft spirits" the children would be possessed by, not Satan. She is considering a defamation claim as the public may now believe her to be an "evil woman".

In fact, the saddest thing about this story is not arguing about the distinction between vampires and Satan. Given the nature of African witch hysteria, the distinction could very well be highly significant to an angry mob. No, the saddest thing is how Ukpabio has apparently built an entire ministry around demonizing normal childhood behavior. I know from personal experience that children under two years old sometimes cry at night, often when they're sick - and it has nothing to do with possession by vampires or Satan or anything else. They just feel bad and have no other way to ask for help.

Technorati Digg This Stumble Stumble

No comments: