Hey preachers, leave those tribes alone!

Hey preachers, leave those tribes alone! January 23, 2019

THAT’S the message imparted this week by Stephen Corry, Director of Survival International following news that an American missionary had been detained by the Brazilian authorities for allegedly entering the territory of an uncontacted tribe.

Image via YouTube

Corry, above, said:

Fundamentalist Christian American missionaries must be stopped from this primitive urge to contact previously uncontacted tribes. It may lead to the martyrdom they seek, but it always ends up killing tribespeople.

I’m sure the “martyrdom” he alluded to concerns the death of John Allen Chau, who was killed two months ago by members of the protected Sentinelese tribe after landing on their Indian Ocean island to convert them to Christianity.

Steve Campbell, a missionary with the Greene Baptist Church in Maine, was reportedly questioned by officials from FUNAI, the Brazilian government’s Indigenous Affairs Department.

The church’s website carries a photo and short bio of the Campbell family:

 

The “Jon” referred to is Jonathan Campbell, who – with his wife Rosa:

Are hard at work translating different books of the Bible for the Jamamadi Indians of Brazil.

Campbell is reported in the Brazilian press to have entered the territory of the Hi-Merima tribe, using a local guide who had participated in a recent FUNAI expedition.

FUNAI is the National Indian Foundation, a Brazilian government body that establishes and carries out policies relating to indigenous peoples. It is responsible for mapping out and protecting lands traditionally inhabited and used by these communities.

He reportedly visited tribal camps that FUNAI had located as part of their work to monitor the uncontacted tribe’s territory.

Campbell has allegedly defended his actions by maintaining that he was teaching members of a neighbouring tribe, the Jamamadi, how to use GPS, and that entering the territory of the Hi-Merima Indians was the only way to reach his destination.

Image via YouTube

Survival International points out that Brazil’s deranged Christian President, Jair Bolsonaro, had appointed an evangelical preacher, Damares Alves, above, as the new minister in charge of indigenous affairs, and she is the least likely person to interfere with missionaries, as she herself is one.

Last year the Guardian reported that Brazil’s then President-elect vowed to abolish the country’s human rights ministry and replace it with a newly-created ministry headed by Alves. The new ministry will oversee women, family and human rights – and also the country’s 900,000 indigenous people.

The plan announced by the far-right Bolsonaro prompted outcry from feminist groups, indigenous activists and LGBT campaigners, who feared it indicates that human rights will be downgraded under the incoming government.

The homophobic Alves is a lawyer who co-founded a group that evangelises in indigenous communities, so she is likely to encourage other missionaries to attempt to contact uncontacted tribes.

Survival International says:

Uncontacted tribes are the most vulnerable peoples on the planet. Whole populations are being wiped out by violence from outsiders who steal their land and resources, and by diseases like the flu and measles to which they have no resistance.

Attacked by an evangelist called Campbell

As an aside, I was once hospitalised by an evangelist called Campbell. I was just 18, working at a small bank in South Africa, where Campbell was a senior executive. I was putting some papers in a low level file when he opened the vault door above my head. When he asked what I was doing, I  quickly got up off my knees, hit the back of my head on the open steel door, and – bleeding profusely – pitched forward on my face. I yelled “Jesus fucking Christ!”

Campbell, screaming “blasphemer”, began kicking me, and continued to do so until other staff hauled him off. I was taken to hospital with three broken ribs, and the gash in my head required ten stitches.

And, to cap it all, when I returned to work I received an official warning from the manager, called Henderson, who – with Campbell standing by – berated me for “provoking” my assailant. “Mr Campbell is a man of God, and if you ever curse in his presence again you will be sacked,” I was told.

My response? “Fuck you, and fuck Campbell” and I walked out, never to return.

I later learned that Campbell had resigned too – to become a missionary in in the Congo. News reports later said that he had vanished completely, and that his family was concerned for his safety. He was never found.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • barriejohn

    But how else are they going to learn the Good News about Jesus?

  • Raging Bee

    By finding Heaven on their brand-new GPS?

  • Broga

    Under the guise of their Christian sanctity they trample underfoot every other belief, habit, cultural practice that does not accord with their diseased superstition. That “happy Christian family” is a bundle of toxins that will destroy, and exploit, the remaining traces of ways of life that have endured for centuries.

    Look at the effects of 2,000 years of Christian belief on the world and tell me why it is so important to spread its poison.

  • Jennny

    I’m ashamed now that for the many years I spent supporting big bible translation missions, Survival International was the enemy. Every ethnic group in the world needed to god’s word in their mother tongue. So S.I. was of the devil, wanting these ethnic groups to stay in darkness. I go right back to the ‘mid-century martyrs’ and was thrilled to see scantily dressed tribespeople in jungle clearings with portions of scripture in their hands. I wonder now if x-tianity lasted in those places, as alien as it was to their own traditions and culture. I hope not. Good for you Mr Corry, keep on saying it!
    Edited to add: And martyrdom for such a great cause was wonderful…but I always secretly wondered, even when I was so fervently fundy, why so many missionaries died, or their child died of a tropical disease, or they were invalided home long before their translation task was finished. If god was so powerful why was didn’t he surmount all the obstacles and let missionaries get the job done that he was supposed to have called them to do?

  • mnpollio

    “I later learned that Campbell had resigned too – to become a missionary
    in in the Congo. News reports later said that he had vanished
    completely, and that his family was concerned for his safety. He was
    never found.”

    No loss.

  • Cali Ron

    Excellent source of protein for the tribesmen.

  • Cali Ron

    I propose we translate Hitch’s writings, spread them around the tribes and nip evangelicalism in the bud. They will learn all they need about jesus and Christianity.

  • Broga

    You deserve credit for breaking free and seeing what was really happening. . I like Desmond Tutu’s comment,

    “When the missionaries came to Africa they had the Bible and we had the land. They said ‘Let us pray.’ We closed our eyes. When we opened them we had the Bible and they had the land.”

  • Cali Ron

    On my list of favorite quotes, Broga.

  • Brian Davis

    Make sure that you use the “avoid tolls” option. Otherwise it takes you past a bunch of donation hungry preachers.

  • wannabe

    Wikiquote says this quote is originally from a play by Rolf Hochhuth but that Tutu sometimes used it as a joke.

  • barriejohn

    As I’ve said before, we all had our copies of “Through Gates of Splendour” and “The Triumph of John and Betty Stam”. It’s difficult to envision now the way that these people were idolised in that era, but the following gives an idea of the level of that hero-worship and veneration:

    http://fivemartyrs.blogspot.com/

    Missionaries endured staggering hardship in those rain forests. Sometimes they could not fly and, in order to reach isolated groups, had to travel over land by foot. They hazarded unpredictable rivers by canoe to reach poorly mapped territories where fear-ridden tribal peoples lived. Knowing what we know, our surprise is not that so many died, but that so many other missionaries have survived.

    See? “Fear-ridden tribal peoples”, living in “darkness” and “ignorance”, just waiting for the enlightenment that the Gospel would bring!

  • barriejohn

    I often think of Sid James’s classic comment, when he and Tony Hancock were supposedly watching Red Indians on a TV Western: “There they all go; riding over the hill and driving home in their Cadillacs”, or words to that effect!

  • Jennny

    Yup, you said it all. And I read and re-read those books and idolised them too. I even got permission, when asked to choose a book prize for good work at school, to choose Gates of Splendour…others chose dictionaries or Shakespeare…I thought it was such a good witness. Ha Ha!

  • Jim Jones

    Campbell, screaming “blasphemer”, began kicking me, and continued to do so until other staff hauled him off. I was taken to hospital with three broken ribs, and the gash in my head required ten stitches.

    Did you report this to the police or sue him in civil court?

    Or arrange an ‘accident’ for him?

  • Jim Jones

    Drop off a crate of barbecue sauce.

  • Broga

    It was no joke for the victims.

  • wannabe

    The best humor is rooted in truth.

  • Broga

    I heard the stories of the heroic missionaries when I was at Sunday School. We had one visit us and he terrified us, young children, with stories of our “black hearts” and the only solution was to “Take Jesus into your hearts.” Not much idea of how we could do that and he didn’t help. I accepted my mum’s advice when I got home, “Load of rubbish. Ignore him.” And I did.

    I later read about the missionaries spreading VD through the South Sea Islands. You may remember the book. I have forgotten its title. Discovering atheism, or at least the initial impetus to learn about it, when I was about 15 was so exciting and refreshing. That was like throwing off a strait jacket or getting out of a dungeon. I was free.

  • Broga

    I loved cowboy films and still do. In my early days the “Indians” road round the wagons, screaming and waving their bows and arrows while the heroic settlers who were there the steal their land, and slaughter the buffalo, shot them with rifles. My taste has matured, I hope, to films like “Lonely are the Brave” which has some depth to it.

  • Broga

    True. That is what makes it so funny and personal.

  • Sophotroph

    I love a story with a happy ending!

  • barriejohn

    My father loved Westerns, but I never liked them even as a boy, as they seemed so unrealistic. However, films like Shenandoah are a different kettle of fish, though they don’t offer the sheer escapism that the traditional films do. (We both loved The Wild Bunch, btw. They don’t make ’em like that now!)

    PS He took me to the cinema to see Shane when I was quite young, and it went right over my head. I can appreciate it now. I also realise now that both my parents took me to the cinema to watch films that THEY wanted to see – hahah!!!)

  • EllyR

    I wonder how many of the god people martyrs ended up as dinner or lunch… https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/1ed7b79811cc9abbaf355c724773d1696638a3ca83cd9eb97988ba281a592cf8.jpg

  • EllyR
  • EllyR
  • EllyR
  • #GodIsImaginary dot com

  • Broga

    I have read that when they were included in the diet they were too salty.

  • Broga

    They have to support their luxury lifestyle while extolling the virtues of poverty.

  • Broga

    I liked Shane. The book was even better. The power came from what was understood but not stated. Films today seem to be made for slightly backward 12 year olds. I have begun keeping an eye on Channel 81 for the old films with a narrative and realistic characters. An example, for me anyway, is “The Servant” with Dirk Bogard. Another: “Elmer Gantry” with Burt Lancaster.

  • Trellia

    Shenandoah is awesome, and so immensely quotable. I’ve used the ‘He’s the only man I know who started at the bottom and went down.’ to describe Trump many a time.

  • persephone

    Not enough.

  • Arun Hun

    A bullshit article by a POS – moron, without missionaries, you’d be still like Sentinelese – in the forest – braying like donkey without modern comfort – u r a moron of first class order

  • Arun Hun

    spineless traitor –

  • Arun Hun

    moron, you should thank Christian faith for the enlightenment it brought to you. ever heard of the myth of noble savage? think a bit, dimwit

  • Arun Hun

    u dimwit, u r still alive due to the christian faith those people changed those savages – or else u will be in one of those boiling pots, think a bit, use ur brain for ur own sake – u know the meaning of logical thinking, jackass?

  • Arun Hun

    u dimwit, u r still alive due to the christian faith – or else u will be in one of those boiling pots and becoming dinner for some ‘noble’ savages – ponder my words, dimwit

  • barriejohn

    You’re the dimwit. The Sentinelese seem a contented people, enjoying a peaceful, self-contained and environmentally friendly lifestyle. The very advanced Indus Valley Civilisation came into existence at least three thousand years before Jesus was even heard of!

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indus_Valley_Civilisation

  • Broga

    Another deluded fool. Does your carer know you have access to a computer? Have you stopped taking your pills? You have my sympathy.

  • Berlzebub

    Ladies and gentlemen, do not feed the troll.

  • Broga

    You must get help. You are totally unhinged. The bible is full of contradictions and idiocies. The idea that Jesus dad i.e. Joseph who wasn’t his dad, had to follow his ancestor David who died a 1,000 years previously for some census which never happened is bonkers. Don’t you know anything about your bonkers bible. It is a load of fiction, endlessly re-written, and dreamed up initially by illiterate desert tribes. What language do you think it was written in? The King James English, I suppose.

    Go to your doctor and tell him you have these delusions and that you need the help of a psychiatrist. He may want you locked up immediately in the interests of your own safety. But in the long run it will be worth it.

    You provide some cheap laughs here but enough is enough. It really isn’t fair that you continue to offer amusement when you need help.

  • Arun Hun

    pity you

  • Arun Hun

    pity you – feel so sorry for you

  • Broga

    Arun: I warned you not to stop taking your pills. You perhaps need a stronger dose. See your psychiatrist. Also, does you carer know that you have access to a computer? At least lie down in a dark room for a time. I am a sentimental and sympathetic person – especially to my dogs – and I cannot help worrying about you.
    Have a nice day. And take it easy on the sleeping tablets. It is easy to overdo them.
    Kind regards.

  • Berlzebub

    Don’t care, and does Byung-Hun Lee know you’re using his likeness?
    https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0496932/?ref_=tt_cl_t6