Nigerian Pastor to Visit Australia

By Mal Vickers

I’m not necessarily anti-religious. However, when a religious issue crosses into something so thoroughly against reason and potentially dangerous to human life, I think it’s time to speak out.

Melbourne is scheduled to play host to a Nigerian pastor named Pastor Enoch A. Adeboye who will speak at two evangelical events on 12 & 13 November 2013. The visit to Melbourne is part of a tour of other Australian cities and the Pacific Islands.

Pastor Adeboye (via Wikipedia)

Pastor Adeboye (via Wikipedia)

A pastor visits Australia; no big deal, you might think. Pastor Adeboye has 98 thousand followers on Twitter, 1.2 million ‘likes’ on Facebook, is head of a church that claims to own 14 thousand branches in 160 countries and owns a private jet.

Now, add some interesting comments about homosexuality and the existence of witches and you have some understanding of why I’m concerned.

This is a skeptic blog; however, I’ll try to work through the evidence and apply some critical thinking.

Here’s a comment attributed to Pastor Adeboye:

“Same-sex marriage is an anathema to the will of God for human beings to be fruitful, replenish and multiply on earth. Anything contrary to that is evil….If this evil is allowed to stay, there will not be newborns again in the world. As the older generation dies, will there be a new generations to succeed it? Even plants and animals have new generations to succeed them.”

How does this claim stack up against the evidence?

One of the premises behind this statement is that if homosexuality is allowed and tolerated in society, the idea of homosexuality will spread to take hold of everyone, the result – “there will not be newborns again in the world”. Where is the evidence for this?

In contrast to this view of reality, the people in the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) community in Nigeria, Adeboye’s home country, are persecuted and killed. Nigerian politicians have passed a law banning gay marriage.

Another premise in Adeboye’s statement is that homosexuality is unnatural. He mentions ‘plants and animals’.

Sexual orientation has been studied extensively in both humans and animals. The bad news for people who argue that homosexuality is unnatural is that homosexual behaviour has been observed throughout the animal kingdom.

Then there is the Appeal to Authority logical fallacy. It’s “…the will of God…” no less.

What evidence does Adeboy deliver to support this statement? Apart from a connection to a higher being, no additional evidence or reasoning that I can find. That’s a big problem when it comes to trying to understand what he’s saying and why.

Adeboye has a huge following in Nigeria. A number of sermons held in massive venues can be found on You-Tube. Adeboye isn’t the wealthiest of the Nigerian pastors; that reputation goes to David O. Oyedepo.

The news of Pastor Adeboy’s impending visit came to me from prominent Nigerian humanist and skeptic, Leo Igwe. Leo has had a long association with the Australian Skeptics. He’s given us valuable consumer warnings about the many scams, particularly financial scams, involving a ‘Nigerian prince who urgently wants to deposit some money into your account’. Leo is also very concerned about widespread homophobic hatred and the branding of people as witches in Nigeria and other nations.

To be fair, amongst the volume of material produced by Adeboye, it wasn’t easy to find anything about witches. This is from a summary of one of his sermons written by a Nigerian blogger.

“Every evil force that is trying to block your way shall be cleared out in Jesus name”.

“AMEN!”

“If God be for you, witches and wizards cannot stop you!”

To me, this appears to be a perpetuation of the myth that witches exist. The comment certainly doesn’t help in trying to stop the vilification, torture and death of women and children branded as witches in Nigeria and other countries. Readers might like to visit this webpage by Stepping Stones Nigeria, a volunteer organisation trying to address the entrenched belief in witches and also support the families and children affected.

It might be best if I give you a statement direct from Leo, who living in Nigeria, understands the issues well. You can make up your own mind about the worth of Adeboye’s impending visit to Australia. Quite clearly, Leo is deeply concerned and so am I.

Leo Igwe:

“This is another reason why you should raise your voice in protest against Pastor Enoch Adeboye’s planned tour of the Pacific in November. We need to end witch hunting around the globe. Witch persecution ended in Europe and most parts of the western world centuries ago. But this violent campaign continues in many regions of the world mainly due to the activities of some Christian churches, pastors and other religious actors. To stop witch hunting, witch-hunters must be check mated and stopped. Witch finding initiatives must be nipped in the bud. Witch hunting movements must be exposed. Witchcraft claims must be challenged and critically examined. Any scheme to export witch hunting goods and services to other countries and regions must be opposed.

By protesting this evangelical tour, you will be drawing attention to a process that is likely to compound efforts to eradicate witch hunts in the Pacific region.

Witch hunting is a problem in Africa and among Africans. Witch hunting is also a cultural scourge that is ravaging many countries and communities in the Pacific region. Recently cases of witch hunting in Papua New Guinea-one of the countries Adeboye is visiting-attracted worldwide outrage and condemnation. The people of Papua New Guinea and other countries in the region would not want to have another spiritual movement that will add or compound this problem. They do not need an evangelical group that will revive or re-ignite these savage beliefs and practices. The people of the Pacific region would not want any pastor or church to export or extend a Christian-Pentecostal-coated African witch hunt to the region. The pacific brand of sorcery is bad enough.

Witchcraft beliefs pre-date Christianity in Africa, African people have been engaging in witchcraft accusations and witch findings before Christian missionaries arrived the shores of the region. Christian missionaries condemned witch beliefs and practices and coerced Africans to abandon the pagan beliefs and embraced the Christian faith. Witchcraft entrepreneurship has been the business of witch doctors, not Christian clerics and churches. But today things have changed. Witch finding is now the business of Christian clerics and churches, particularly Pentecostal charismatic churches. Evangelical pastors, like Enoch Adeboye, are the modern day African witch doctors. They bind, ‘cleanse’ and cast away the demonic spirit of witchcraft.

Many African priests and pastors have, in the quest for spiritual relevance, material wealth and prosperity, competition for members appropriated the roles of witch doctors and turned their churches into witch hunting spiritual movements. They have made witch finding and deliverance part of their spiritual business and industry. Pastor Enoch Adeboye is a stakeholder in this business. He is one of the clerical gladiators in the imaginary warfare of witchcraft and sorcery in Africa. Adeboye is a witch believing pastor, and his church- the Redeemed Christian Church of God- is a witch delivering spiritual movement.

Adeboye devotes his sermons to denouncing the witches and wizards in the families and communities. He organizes ministrations and gives prophecies against witchcraft and other imaginary diabolical agents threatening the lives and estate of the church members. Pastor Adeboye delivers sermons proclaiming God’s superiority over all witches, occultist and diabolical agents in the communities.

These sermons are literally misguided and inciteful. They are evangelical propaganda crafted to poison family and social relations. Adeboye’s sermons contain gospel narratives that reinforce witchcraft mentality and enchantment in the minds of the people. The activities of Pastor Adeboye and his Redeemed Christian Church of God instil witchcraft fears and anxieties. Their evangelism nourishes witchcraft suspicions and insinuations. Adeboye’s ministry recharges witchcraft images and imaginaries, and spreads witch frenzy, panic and hysteria. His sermons drive church members to attribute their problems to evil spirits or to evil magic and machinations of enemies within the families and communities.

Is this the brand of evangelism Pastor Adeboye wants to extend to the Pacific region? If Nigerians have allowed themselves to be manipulated and exploited by this virulent form of evangelism, does Adeboye and his church members think that other parts of the world will condone it?

The evangelical charade of the Redeemed Christian Church of God should not be taken to other countries. It has no place in an enlightened society. But those who decide- for some reasons- to take this virulent form of Pentecostal Christianity and spiritual abracadabra to more civilized countries should be ready to face ridicule, protests or prosecution.”

A number of people and community groups, similarly concerned about Adeboye’s views and his evangelical tour of Australia, have got together and set up an on-line petition to try and halt the tour.

Leo Igwe, Australian visit 2011

Leo Igwe, Australian visit 2011

7 Responses to Nigerian Pastor to Visit Australia

  1. benny says:

    This is interesting, it is good to let you know that I have lived in Nigeria for 3 decades so I know what goes on. The man Leo Igwe is not known by anybody, he is not a leader of thought, he certainly belongs to the idealess and opportunist groups. Australians shoupd not be carried away by informations that can not be verified easily by them and I think you have to get a second source to balance your information before publishing them. Leo may be correct in certain things but Leo did not tell you that same sex marraige was banned in nigeria not because of adeboye but because of the culture of the people. About 4 weeks ago, the minister for justice in nigeria declared to the UN congress in germany that the nation will not succumb to any pressure from the UN or western powers to legalize homosexuality because it is not part of their culture……that statement has no biblical intonation, it is loud and clear. The minister of justice gave a condition to legalize Iit – The UN have to convince the majority that its proper.
    Believing that witches exists is somehow ridiculous but I need to tell you from what I saw in my days in africa that mystical powers exists. I wonder how you will feel if you know that you are in sydney and some people are conjuring powers to see you in a screen from melbourne. If you think this is not real, I think you will have to launch out on expedition to africa.

    Furthermore, killing of witches when I was in africa is not done by churches, it is the people outside church that believes in that act. Churches do pray against witchcraft s and I seems to have nothing against that because witches invade ur privacy without your knowledge, they manipulate your thoughts and do all manners of bads to get you down. This may sound unreal, take expedition and go to africa, seek to know and make yourself a guinea pig for the experiment, you will come back with different stories and that is if you are still intact.

    My conclusion having read this publication is in different ways. Leo is either an atheist trying to put all antics to pull a theist down. Leo may be a gay trying to hit back at his opponent. Leo could be a competing clergy from the same region or have ideological differences with what holds under Redeem church.
    The obvious is that leo is not sincere in his his comments, perhaps he has decided to be myopic about certain issues.

    • malvickers says:

      “The man Leo Igwe is not known by anybody…”

      Errr… I’ve met Leo. Leo has visited Australia and given talks to many people, mainly skeptic groups in Melbourne, Sydney and Canberra. What are you saying exactly?

      “…mystical powers exists.” Evidence please?

      “…conjuring powers to see you in a screen from Melbourne.” Evidence please?

      “…manipulate your thoughts and do all manners of bads to get you down.” Seriously?

  2. chidozie says:

    what is the evidence that you are leaving in reality and not a dream?…Skeptic you say, come to Nigeria and even in Australia where you are there are mystic powers…Everybody have a religion and yours is science..What ever you put your faith and trust in becomes your religion and till date science is a belief system based on principles and laws that have been tested in the physical…Religion is a belief system based on rules and laws tested in the spiritual and physical…I am a Nigerian and i can tell you from experience..Not all proofs are evident by physical experiments like science do in a Lab but you can come over to Nigeria and you can get some good evidence..Occultism and rituals are part of every society and cultist in Australia can teach you about spirituality….That is if you go to them and ask for evidence….The man Leo Igwe is not known anywhere in Nigeria..At least i lived 25yrs in Nigeria after my birth and i never heard of him…As for homosexualism, why are you people forcing Africans to accept a strange practice into their culture?…Have any African country gone to Australia or America or Uk and ask their parliament to change any of their existing laws?…why are you people trying to make us think and live like you people….Homosexualism is considered an abomination in Africa and we don’t want it…..I am so surprised why you guys don’t go to Saudi Arabia or China and force them to accept homosexualism….why not go to Pakistan and fight for the rights of homosexuals?…why are you people obsessed with oppressing the lesser developed countries? The same people your government oppressed with colonialism and now you want to oppress us with our organisations and filthy promises of aids…Please, I am an Africa, and 99.999 percent of the people in Africa hate homosexualism and we would not change our society ….Please stop educating us…Keep your homosexualism within yourselves

    • And you keep your dumb pastors and superstitions to yourselves. Why is this buffoon Adeboye bothering the people of the South Pacific? LGTB Nigerians are suffering with the stupidity of superstious people like him. Nigeria needs to stop exporting the prosperity gospel and the unfounded belief in rituals. There are no mystic powers in Nigeria – only government corruption and the desperation of those denied access to electricity and Nigeria ‘s wealth.

  3. Abayomi Owoade says:

    Mr Mal Vickers. I believe in freedom of speech. Here we are listening to your view and believe against Pastor Adeboye. Why then would u start a campaign of “Witch hunting” against Pastor Adeboye? I believe u should let people listen to him and make their choice and decision. Pastor Adeboye i believe should be entitled to his opinion just like u and to try and stop him seem like u are the one running from the truth.

    • malvickers says:

      Hi Abayomi, I’m not campaigning against freedom of speech – that is a mischaracterisation of my arguments. I am putting forward alternative views to those of Pastor Adeboye. Loe Igwe is also putting forward alternative views. “Running from the truth” what truth would that be exactly?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: