Thursday, 27 November 2008

To Uganda, with ignorance

The island’s efforts to export evangelical misery to Africa got an extra boost this week, though you wouldn’t know so from reading the Education Department’s press release at
Yes, on the face of it looks like a worthy project, but to know what’s really going on you need to know who Abaana really are.
You can find that out at
Starting to get the picture?
A key point to note is this is a Northern Irish evangelical charity. These have a murky history not known to anyone who hasn’t studied the sectarian conflict, and in particular the Loyalist tradition of abusing public funds meant to heal sectarian division and rebuild communities.
Briefly, in the 1980’s any biblebasher in the North could get public funds by claiming to run a ‘peace and reconciliation’ project - so many did. Background checks were minimal, Westminster was working flat out to support anything which got Ulster unemployment down and inevitably Loyalist local government departments looked after their own first.
All they had to do was use the magic word ‘bridgebuilding’ and UK government and charity funds rolled in –staff wages, office equipment, even rent-free offices in purpose built small business centres. Evangelical churches got so used to it some of their congregations have never needed another job – even though they were the root of sectarian hate in the first place.
Then peace broke out so they had to look further afield, and the Isle of Man is perceived as an easy target.
You should also take a really close look at the role of evangelical churches in Uganda. For example, consider the growing problem of evangelicals who accuse small kids of witchcraft, bag small fortunes ‘curing’ them until the parents run out of cash, then slope off leaving the families to get driven out of the village or lynched.
But surely that doesn’t involve Western evangelicals, and certainly not Manx ones?
Yes, it does! Just a few years ago I interviewed a Peel pastor who had a nice little earner going over there. Once or twice a year he went over to ‘cast out spirits’, ‘cure’ AIDS….and split the profits with an African partner church. Even my highly religious editor was so embarrassed he wouldn’t run the rantings of this lunatic as a story.
You also need to know that the teacher who introduced this project to St. Ninians moonlights with Port St Mary Living Hope Community Church's infamous ‘youth ministry’. In fact she’s one of the little clique who enable their pastor to have open access to schools and even pupil records. And yes, this is the same pastor who was the subject of complaints for pestering girls in their early teens with text messages. See previous postings for more on that!
Will the Education Department ever stamp this crap out?
I doubt it. Not if the alternative to easy publicity for bogus charitable projects they know no-one will ever investigate involves real research, properly thought through policies or employing qualified professionals at the going rate.

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