Killing Kids for Luck, Money … and the Word of God

There are times I wonder “How does anybody even GET such ideas?”

From the BBC, a report from Uganda:

Schoolchildren are closely watched by teachers and parents as they make their way home from school. In playgrounds and on the roadside are posters warning of the danger of abduction by witch doctors for the purpose of child sacrifice.

The ritual, which some believe brings wealth and good health, was almost unheard of in the country until about three years ago, but it has re-emerged, seemingly alongside a boom in the country’s economy.

The BBC news team

posed as local businessmen and asked around for a witch doctor that could bring prosperity to our local construction company. We were soon introduced to Awali. He led us into a courtyard behind his home, and as if to welcome us he and his helpers wrestled a goat to the ground and slit its throat.

“This animal has been sacrificed to bring luck to us all,” Awali explained. He then demanded a fee of $390 (£250) for the ritual and asked us to return in a few days.

At our next meeting, Awali invited us into his shrine, which is traditionally built from mud bricks with a straw roof. Inside, the floor is littered with herbs, face masks, rattles and a machete.

The witch doctor explained that this meeting was to discuss the most powerful spell – the sacrifice of a child.

“There are two ways of doing this,” he said. “We can bury the child alive on your construction site, or we cut them in different places and put their blood in a bottle of spiritual medicine.”

Awali grabbed his throat. “If it’s a male, the whole head is cut off and his genitals. We will dig a hole at your construction site, and also bury the feet and the hands and put them all together in the hole.”

For me, there is something weirdly poignant in the fact that another superstition salesman, Pastor Peter Sewakiryanga of the Kyampisi Childcare Ministries is the often-quoted spokesman in stories on the subject.

Seeing the pitches for donations, and the story-details of 7-year-old victim Allan Ssembatya, puts me in two minds.

One is that child sacrifice is a horrifying thing and any ally is welcome in publicizing and stopping it. So, more power to the Kyampisi Childcare Ministries.

Second, I’m always disturbed at church-based missions in places like Africa. I can never lose the suspicion that some significant part of these campaigns are for the benefit of the organization, or for the benefit of Christianity itself, rather than the victims pictured.

We have started providing free and accessible education to the needy children from the ages of 3 to 10 years. we provide them with basic necessities like clothing, food, scholastic materials, medication and Bible study programs.

I don’t want to speak too strongly against the organization, or its efforts, in case it discourages donors from helping end child sacrifice.

At the same time, I wonder where the donated money goes. How much to this campaign, how much to victims … and how much to the church and further proselytizing?

Because in a sense, if the church makes money off the campaign, or gains influence it uses for its own purposes, it too is sacrificing children.


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