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About jonbirch

animator, illustrator, character designer, graphic designer. music producer/recording musician. co-owner of PROOST. proost.co.uk
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54 Responses to 593

  1. Lewis says:

    Wow, that’s actually sickening.

  2. subo says:

    oooh, this is so BAD, it’s so heartbreaking to know children are being treated like this

  3. sarah says:

    Thing is there IS a lot of witchcraft in Africa but these people aren’t handling it very well (to say the least). Deliverance is done by prayer and fasting (on the part of the deliverer).

  4. sarah says:

    OK I know I’m going to have to qualify that statement about “Africa”, there is witchcraft in Britain too.

    God’s bigger than all of it. :-)

  5. jody says:

    this is terrible – it is easy to say that it’s all nuts and there’s no witchcraft. but i agree with sarah that there is witchcraft and spiritual stuff

    however what this looks like to me is a projection of the inner guilt/turmoil of the adults onto the most vulnerable.

    barnardo’s have recently released a video about the demonisation of children in this country – which can be found here on den’s blog http://dennisthemennis.blogspot.com/ which shows that this is more a human condition than an african one.

  6. Schmikey says:

    is this not what we do to ourselves and our children?!

    i know that it’s not generally so blatant and aggressive, but…

    don’t we bring our children up beleiving that as a human they are tarnished by sin, that they are a sinner. we are told this every week in church (atleast at the churches i am accustomed too). every week we are called to a recognition of our sin and repentance and acceptance of the God’s love and forgiveness.

    is that not the basis of christianity. “I… i… a… am a, a, a… sinner”

  7. Schmikey says:

    sorry, correction. “basis” is not the right word to use above. but you get my point, right?

  8. beckyw says:

    Man – I cannot believe that. How can anyone do that to someone else…and in the name of Jesus? How can God stand us humans? I haven’t done anything that sick but I guess anytime I hurt another person God feels that hurt. How can he bear the hurt he has to deal with? Why on earth did he create us humans? When will Jesus come back? Sometimes I think I have something bad to deal with in life, but for others, my life is a dream…I wish Jesus would come back for their sakes.

  9. beckyw says:

    Schmikey…you’ve got me thinking seriously about that. We’ve got a baby who’s growing up fast and we want her to know Jesus…but I don’t want to damage her! I know I’m not perfect but I think I’ve got a fairly balanced view of myself as a sinner but accepted, forgiven and loved. I hope I can pass that on to her.

  10. zefi says:

    I heard that St. Augustine of Hippo said that to believe in the existence of witchcraft is heresy.

  11. James says:

    Zefi, it depends how you mean believe. Believe that people practice witchcraft? we have to believe that it is a fact. Now whether you believe that that witchcraft actually works is another thing.

    As to whether it is a real thing that people can do or not isn’t the point I guess. And I am not going to make a statement on whether it is or not.

    Anyway back to the subject. I Cannot believe that people are acting in this way. It’s hard enough to believe that it was done in the past never mind going on whilst we all sit here typing. And to pick on children in this way only makes it worse.

  12. Schmikey says:

    beckyw – if your concerned about it then i’m sure i won’t end up being a problem for you or your daughter ;-)

  13. Ruth E says:

    I was almost in tears when I watched this show. I am continually shocked at what people do “in the name of Jesus”. I’m sure he’s disgusted that his name is associated with all this.

  14. grendal says:

    The percentage of the bible that speaks of witchcraft is so minimal compared to treating our fellow man/woman/child with kindness, and dignity. The 4 gospels don’t mention anything about witchcraft and, for me, if it such an aspect of spirituality isn’t clearly taught or practiced by Jesus then i say dispense with it!

    BTW, love your graphic design work!

  15. Bo says:

    The caption under the comic is accurate.
    A witch is someone who use demons to achieve their goals (or attempt to do so).
    And the thought of using your status as a pastor in the church of Christ to bring great suffering to an innocent child, just to increase your personal material wealth – it’s so disturbing that I doubt the origin of the thought is entirely human.
    Yes, those leaders are witches indeed.

  16. subo says:

    how did we get to this horrible distortion of Gods message of Love?

    Jesus spoke thoughtfully to the demon possessed he met, he didn’t dispute the possession, and he didn’t victimise the possessed.

    The ministry of deliverance, is a ministry of bringing people into a knowledge of God’s love for them, by loving them ourselves.

    These children though are innocent, so not only is the church failing in it’s call to go out in love and care to children, it’s also using ungodly acts and calling them righteous, and abusing vulnerable children in the name of God who loves them!

    I hope the worldwide church challenges this behaviour until it’s stopped – here’s to keep plugging their cause

  17. Dorian says:

    Jody says: “however what this looks like to me is a projection of the inner guilt/turmoil of the adults onto the most vulnerable.”

    Jody, I think you are thinking about this too “westernly,” to make up a word. Our pop-psychology categories are unique to our culture, what is happening in this situation is not a problem of modern, western, psychology but of centuries and centuries of, well, witchcraft, animism, and paganism. Those categories are so deeply seated in Africa.

    That is not an excuse, it doesn’t make this any less horrible, it simply shows the starting point and how we will have to approach it and the seriousness of the problem which the church will have to face. This is a sad story indeed.

  18. dennis says:

    Yeah to me Africa or Not its the same the world around. That program enraged me! My daughter Jess was amazed at the ability of human beings.

    Ive always thought of myself as an ambassador of Children & YP. God help these people when one day they will be accountable for what they did.

  19. andyp says:

    Where I work, people were talking about this programme the day after it aired. Several had gone straight to the website, some admitted to being in tears throughout it.

    Interestingly, for a heavily non-Christian (mainly Asian) department, not one person commented that it showed what a terrible thing religion (or specifically evangelical Christianity) is. Everyone could see that these “pastors” were way outside the belief system they claimed to represent, and sickened by their inhumanity.

    Me, I’ve got it stored away on the PVR for a day in the future when I’m strong enough to watch it. I feel I need to see and face things like this. Just not right now.

  20. subo says:

    “a projection of the inner guilt/turmoil of the adults onto the most vulnerable” – isn’t it possible that there’s some truth in this?, in that the depth of fear in the adults permits this stuff to keep going?

    it’s reinforced by a gross belief system, though I think it’s perfectly observable in other cultures, we might not call children ‘witches’, but I’ve seen children called all kinds of things they’re not, by people who are afraid of letting go of control, and are afraid of looking into their own hearts

    I guess I think it’s worth exploring the psychological dimension, and seeing how fear and belief work together, to challenge this stuff

    sadly though, there’s plenty of ‘psychological theories’ that play their own role in creating ‘witch hunts’, that paralyse compassion and prevent justice

    in my view we need to remember the humanity of ourselves and the Nigerian Church, in order to challenge this stuff. It is from our own experience of hope coming via compassion, that enables us to offer a glimmer of understanding – enough to say ‘it doesn’t have to be like this!’

  21. sarah says:

    The other thing is they shouldn’t charge for deliverances. That’s not how you do it. Like Dorian said, it’s a problem they need to tackle but they need to look to Jesus to help them and not do it in their own power.

    Sas :-)

  22. subo says:

    too right, charging for any kind of praying sucks, – it just goes against the whole concept of praying

  23. zefi says:


    You missed my point.

    But it’s ok.

  24. Robb says:

    what a terrible thing religion (or specifically evangelical Christianity) is.

    Hmmmm… people around here consider me to be an evangelical.

    Too flippin right they are outside of their belief system. This is what evangelical Christianity is doing in Africa. Not those charlatans!!

  25. I’m glad you’ve said that Robb.

    I just think of my brothers and sisters who are running hospitals and clinics to try and meet the needs in so many countries across the world.

    I never saw the program, but know a bit about the issue already. It really sickens me. One of the most harrowing points of my uni studies and research was having to hear the stories from midwives of their experiences caring for women who had been ‘circumcised’.

  26. matybigfro says:

    how easy it is to start pointing the finger (better ignore where the other three are pointing) and calling people charlatans and not the same as us.

    Now here me right i’m not defending these people or saying what they are doing is coming from sound biblical reading.

    But we don’t know them and we don’t know their hearts, for many of them they maybe just caught up in a very mixed up belief system in which they think they are doing the right best thing and maybe doing it for in their mind good reasons and righ motives.

    Its easy to see the witch in others but what about ourselves, i’m sure we’re all guilty at times at letting our convictions or beliefs batter or hurt others. Is it not just as easy to brand that non-fair trade shopper as a comsumerist witch as a supernatural one. Whethers its sexuality, charity, enviromentalism or justice issues its easy to villiefy others based on our convictions of what is right wrong, good and evil.

    even right beliefs handled wrongly can do harm

    I very much believe that those leaders have got much evil in their hearts causing this, my conviction comes from what i see when i’m honest about much of what is in my own heart.
    Is it not worth being carefull how far we try to distance ourselves from those we would want to brand evil lest we start to suspect that we are somewhat righteous ahd without darkness.

  27. beatthedrum says:

    This is heartbreaking and so wrong.

    However we have to look at the background to this, there are such things as demons, they do manifest themselves and cause no end of problems, particularly in shamanistic societies in africa. I have talked to many christian mission workers in africa who have been faced with such things. It is not pleasent or fun to deal with.

    I am NOT condoning what is happening to the children it is so wrong, and Jesus can save, heal and nurture them back to fullness of life in Him, but in love and grace not beatings and accusations!

    Jesus is the answer to these issues no mans medling. Only HIS power, HIS love and HIS grace can help these people.

    We are his vessels to do this but only by mirroring Him who is our Lord and King.


  28. Robb says:

    Hmmmmmm….. nope, I stick by the word ‘charlatan‘.

    The parents or siblings of children torture them in an attempt to kill them or force confessions from them to admit that they are witches…

    Influential preachers from the more extreme churches brand the children witches or wizards and exploit their desperate parents by charging them exorbitant amounts of money in return for exorcising the spirits.

    In fact, I would say I have seldom seen a more clear cut case for calling someone a ‘charlatan’. In face, is the word strong enough? Most charlatans merely claim skills or knowledge. They don’t torture you first.

  29. Robb says:

    for “In face” read “in fact”…

    Stupid black plastic unreadable keyboard…

  30. jody says:

    hi dorian

    i understand that there is a lot more to it than i can know – because i am western, i do have a particular understanding of psychology.

    but we are all human beings, who have psychological elements to us wherever we are. these might be expressed in pouring out our fear and hatred on small children, or in finding a group of people who make us feel we belong by excluding those who are not like us.

    I don’t believe in a separation of the spiritual and the secular. it may be that an understanding of psychology helps me to understand my own (and sometimes others) responses to situations, like my own fear, worry, anxiety, joy, anger, strength. Or my response to others – for instance if I realise that I am reacting to a particular person in a certain way because they remind me of my father. Or my response to God – if I love God because he is my ‘ideal image’ of a human being, but have done little to explore what it means to be in relationship with the living God who is not (to quote the apocryphal words of Barth) ‘Man writ large’.

    Of course in Africa there are the deep workings of psychologies which have experienced abusive spiritualities – it is still the response of the mind to those spiritualities which are expressed in actions which we would deplore, isn’t it?

    blessings, Jody

  31. Hayles says:

    I think we are underestimating the role of greed in all of this. Demanding a year’s wages to deliver a child who is accused of being a witch? There is clearly a lot more going on here than a confused belief system. Once a child is accused, that’s it; pay up or your child is cast out, tortured, killed. I think this has as much to do with corruption and abuse of power as it does with beliefs.

  32. matybigfro says:

    Like i said do you know there heart and know they are making these things up to take advantage and make money or have you made sure that they simply are doing something they belive to be God mandated.

    you don’t have to go far round UK christianity to find a christian leader who believes he has God given abilities and is on a GOd given mandate to do somesort of God given thing of another.

    You equally wouldn’t have to look much further to find innocent people hurt by the same thing

  33. Robb says:

    No, I don’t know their heart. But then I don’t know the heart of anyone who is killing children. The exact same arguments could be applied to Charles Manson.

    I still won’t condone it. I certaily won’t excuse it. I can’t sweep it under the carpet on the basis of “cultural difference”. I still think that it is an abuse of the name ‘Jesus’.

  34. Jonathan says:

    Matybigafro (26) writes:
    [i]how easy it is to start pointing the finger (better ignore where the other three are pointing) and calling people charlatans and not the same as us.

    Now here me right i’m not defending these people or saying what they are doing is coming from sound biblical reading.

    But we don’t know them and we don’t know their hearts, for many of them they maybe just caught up in a very mixed up belief system in which they think they are doing the right best thing and maybe doing it for in their mind good reasons and righ motives.[/i]

    A bit like slave traders then??

    Some things are simply inexcuseable, regardless of cultural sensetivities.

  35. zefi says:

    Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaketh.

    Or in this case, out of the abundance of the heart, the hand doeth?

  36. zefi says:

    Uh, Jonathan, if you’re trying to italicize em, use <i> and </i>. If you never meant to have them italicize, just ignore this. :)

  37. subo says:

    Sometimes I think it’s good for all Christians to remind our selves that “we are made in the image of God”, to let ourselves know we have something of God within us.

    and we are supposed to be looking for God’s revelation within each other

  38. Bo says:

    There’s really no need to look for elaborate answers to why these “evangelical” leaders do their evil acts.
    Greed is their motivation, plain and simple.

  39. jonbirch says:

    yep… it’s greed, greed, greed. it’s evil, wrong, manipulative, crackpot… it is murder, torture, abuse, bullying… it is utterly, utterly despicable in every way. let’s not hold back from out fury… fury is what it deserves.
    the solution is a lot more complex… the blend of christianity and animism as been boiled up in a cauldron and used to curse the lives of many children in the most horrendous way. those at the top of this chain of horror know what they are up to… if for some strange reason they don’t, this is not an excuse in any way.

  40. Jonathan says:

    thanks zefi – I was using ubb code D’oh!

  41. zefi says:

    Now, whatever happened to “not judging?”

  42. Robb says:

    What Jon said – and yet I seem to be vilified for suggesting it is a wrong idea!

  43. Hayles says:

    I’m not sure what the tone of that comment is zefi.

  44. zefi says:

    I am unsure of it myself hayles.

  45. subo says:

    this is a beautifully evocative image, and brimming with emotional resonance

    it’s a powerful image for the current situation, and also effective in capturing a more general concept of destructive child-rearing

  46. Mike says:

    Wow. I am truely shocked. This is a classic example of a clear abuse of power by Pastors. What is sad is that other Christians are not stepping in to stop it.

    Thanks for bringing this too us.

  47. to think of this going on every day… in Jesus name.

    i feel sick. those poor poor children.

  48. matybigfro says:

    I just want to go on record and say what is happening is evil, wrong and totally disgusting and perpetrated by leaders driven by evil.

  49. Mike says:

    If it is ok I would like to use the graphic you created in a post? I really want to call attention to this issue.

    This subject has effected me big time.

  50. Pingback: Kiwi and an Emu.

  51. jonbirch says:

    of course mike. no problem. :-)

  52. Dave Carrol says:

    Short sighted man.

    Spend some time in West Africa. Just so you know… it’s kinda real.

  53. Abidemi Sanusi says:

    I write as a Nigerian and evangelical Christian. Witchcraft is real, but the self-professed bishop in the programme and others like him in Africa are NOT Christians. There is nothing Christian about mixing your blood and alcohol and giving it to a terrified child to drink to ease the ill-founded fears of illiterate and poverty-stricken parents.

    Many, many evil wo/men do things in Jesus name in Africa. It’s unfortunate that they can hide under the guise of the evangelical/charismatic church because those churches are unregulated unlike mainline denominations which have strict theological training and accountability structures.

    I could go on but can’t be bothered. I’m too ashamed as a Nigerian and Christian. Heck, read my blog post about it instead http://christianwriteruk.blogspot.com/2008/11/false-religion-false-prophets-false.html

    P.S. I am not soliciting blog followers.

  54. jonbirch says:

    thank you abidemi sanusi… there are things in my country to for which i am ashamed too. bless you.

    dave carroll… i’m not saying there are no witches in west africa… just that these children are not… and those who abuse them as in this specific and terrible situation are doing a profound evil.

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