Riswa: Crazy stuff 'mzungus' do in the name of religion

  • Popular belief is that African faithful do all manner of odd things in churches
  • However, whites and other races too engage in strange activities

Africans have always been criticised for being overly religious and doing crazy things in the name of religion.

Take the case of a controversial South African pastor, Lesego Daniel of Rabboni Centre Ministries, for instance.

The man of God, not long ago, made his congregation eat grass so as “to be closer to God”.

Before that, he had made them drink petrol, claiming that he had miraculously turned it into holy pineapple juice!

Closer to home, cases have been reported of pastors sleeping with barren women to help them conceive.

Other crazy cases like of Kanyaris of this world caressing women’s breasts in the name of blessing them, too, have been reported.

Basically, the catalogue of weird things Africans do in the name of religion is quite lengthy, with many exposing the continent to ridicule and embarrassment.

However, as it turns out, Africans are not alone. Mzungus and non-Africans in general also do bizarre things all in the name of religion.

Exorcising demons from possessed people, places

If you, for instance, thought exorcism was a preserve of Africans, you are in for a rude shock.

Mzungus too, believe in exorcising demons from individuals and places which they believe are possessed.

Among the Jews, there is a strange traditional ritual called Kaparot, which entails grabbing a live chicken by the shoulder blades and running around a sinner’s head three times.

This, they believe, symbolically transfers the sinner’s wrong doings to the chicken.

Once they are done with the ritual, the chicken is slaughtered and given to poor families.

Despite animals right activists fighting the practice and terming it mistreatment and cruelty to animals, and even suing some Jews, it is still practiced in many places, especially in Israel.

It gets nuttier. Tales have been told of spiritual specialists, let’s just call them waganga (witchdoctors) who are paid to handle a range of activities and practices which, among others, include communicating with spirits.

The waganga, like their African counterparts, boast in adverts that they can diagnose and cure human suffering, with some claiming the ability to curse and cause suffering.

Some of our sources reveal that these folks claim to have the ability to control the weather by for instance stopping rain, and can interpret dreams.

Where pastors preach while nude

Asians also have strange sects that practice things that would shock you.

For instance, in parts of Belgium, Hong Kong, Canada, Japan and the United States, there are members of the Jain community, originally from India, whose senior monks wear no clothes while preaching.

Interestingly, they never consider themselves ‘nude’ per se.

They console themselves, and convince non-believers, that they are ‘wearing the environment’.

Tales have been told of other mzungu sects whose religious beliefs don’t allow them to undergo blood transfusions, even in cases of emergency.

Not long ago, a story published by the Daily Mail went viral.

The story was about an Orthodox Jewish man photographed covering himself in plastic bag while on a plane because his faith forbids him to fly over cemeteries!

It was reported that the man was a Kohein, a religious descendant of the priests of ancient Israel, who are banned from flying over cemeteries.

The descendants are shunned from flying over cemeteries and being in contact with the dead because contact with the dead is believed to inflict him with impurity. So the plastic bag was meant to provide him a potential barrier from the impurities/dead.

Of course he had punched holes in it to enable him breathe otherwise he would have died after running short of oxygen!

Curious passengers craned their necks and strained over their seats to get a good look.

Beneath his plastic wrapping, the man was dressed entirely in black, and appeared to be wearing a Jewish skullcap, the Daily Mail reported.

It was also reported that members of this sect are expected to abstain from coming into contact with the dead, which includes a prohibition on visiting cemeteries except for the funerals of close relatives.

Ultra-Orthodox Jews, the report went on to say, follow strict guidelines which include gender segregation in public.

Not long ago, it was reported in various UK-based media outlets that a woman sued an airline after its staff moved her to the back of a plane when an ultra-Orthodox man refused to sit next to her on religious grounds.

Save the planet, kill yourself

Elsewhere in India, there exist ‘Church Of Euthanasia’. This is more of a protest movement than a true religion. The church’s main agenda is to reduce world population.

Perhaps inspired by India’s huge population, at any opportunity, the pastors discourage faithful from giving birth.

While the group does not condone murder, they do promote their only commandment, “Thou shalt not procreate” encouraging believers and others to engage in suicide, abortion and non-procreative sexual acts.

“Save the Planet, Kill Yourself” is one of their most famous and controversial slogans.

Bottom line is, ours is a mad world.

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