A news article tripped across the wires this morning concerning Aids sufferers who had died because they stopped taking their life-saving drugs on the advice of their pastor or whatever title they choose to give themself. God’s Will would save them instead. There are always two-sides to a news story and there was likely more to know in this but the premise seems clear enough.
There are so many angles to take when reacting to this, each requiring a person of sound mind to shake their head from side to side in utter disgust.
Issue could be taken with the individuals themselves who chose to believe in the preacher but then you might also learn that it was the same preacher or one of similar heritage who suggested that the use of protection in pursuing sexual relationships was the devils work. Strange that the threat of the devils work was never quite enough for them to suspend the promiscuous activity but the use of protection was. Perhaps they felt it was a double jeopardy and that one sin was easier to explain than two. Whatever people chose to believe is in their hands inevitably, one mans medicine man is another’s poisoner.
I turn to the pastor for my vitriol as we expect them to carry more intelligence and awareness of the world about them, such that they would have some responsibility for the impact of their words of stupidity. My first instinct is to look for money changing hands as the motive for such shady operation. The con merchant often knows no depths in the pursuit of profit. This I would understand more if these individuals were offering a vision of hope that would keep the punters returning for another day, but something that would kill off the money trail like this makes me wonder whether they are as deluded as those that queue to listen to them. I say this only because I can’t see where the profit lies in killing your customers. It is hoped that some of the others following in the queue consider turning around and looking elsewhere for solace but I suspect the pastor in question will have an answer to the obvious questions. Something along the lines of God’s punishment and if you hand over a little more money, we will make sure that God’s sees fit to overlook your previous misdemeanour.
Do I believe the pastor to be evil? Given that evil corresponds to a religious negative then it’s perhaps not the right word. Perhaps the better way to examine their motive is to question whether the pastor is either guilty of murder or manslaughter. The legal debate would fall on whether he deliberately intended his victims to die or whether it was simply an indirect result of his words. Sadly it is unlikely these portrayers of death will see a court for their actions but I wish they would. Only then might we begin to see that such preaching of ignorance is as much a crime as inciting religious hatred or conspiracy to murder.