Feature Article of Friday, 3 August 2012
Columnist: Asempa, Kwame
For many thinking people, who are not handicapped by sensationalism and blind loyalty to cult figures, why an educated and intelligent person like President Mills would seek the company of the self-styled Nigerian prophet T.B. Joshua, is problematic. Many questions crop up naturally. Did President Mills go to the Nigerian prophet to seek healing? Did Mills waste precious time and energy in the counsel of Temitope Balogun Joshua, instead of seeking immediate medical attention? Cancer is a disease that needs prompt and aggressive treatment. There is no time to waste or play around with the sugar-laced promises of self-styled prophets
The British police investigated the Nigerian prophet based on information that he had asked people, terminally ill people from cancer, and AIDs to stop taking their medications and rely solely on his prayers and miracle spring water. Many have died as a result of putting their health and life in the hands of famous tele evangelists and other faith healers. On a healing crusade in Portland, Oregon, Benny Hinn, one of the most popular and wealthiest tele evangelists in the world claimed to have healed a 10yr old boy, Ashnil Prakash, who suffered from two brain tumors. For many who believe in the power of the faith healer, it was a day of triumph and celebration. His poor family was ecstatic and pledged thousands of dollars to Hinn. Seven weeks later Ashnil died, from the same illness Benny Hinn had supposedly eradicated miraculously.
Marco Siewkumar was also proclaimed healed by Benny Hinn at a miracle healing crusade in Queen’s Park Savannah, Port of Spain, in Trinidad. The man suffered from hypertension, heart disease and kidney failure. His healing was broadcasted around the world on Christian television cable channel by Hinn. Among rapturous applause at the packed stadium, Marco was paraded on stage and triumphantly declared healed by Pastor Hinn. What the adoring fans at the stadium and the faithful millions who watched on TV did not know was that Marco would die 33 days later, after the so-called miracle healing, from the same ailment.
These deaths are kept a secret from the world of believers. Millions of dollars pour into the bank account of the faith healer, as he becomes more popular and tons of afflicted people troop to him for miracles. In Africa, thousands die like Ashnil and Marco without any notice or attention. The few courageous Christians who dare raise any alarm, are warned by fellow Christians, not to touch the Lord’s anointed. To say many have died at the hands of Prophet T. B. Joshua, Obinim and others is not far-fetched. Was our dear president also a casualty?
Another famous American tele evangelist, the Rev. Peter Popoff, who almost single-handedly popularized the free miracle spring water business, was exposed for faking miracles. Asked why he would lie and trick, many afflicted, sick and dying Christians, Peter Popoff said it was all entertainment. He went into hiding for a couple of years but he is back on TV today, with a large faithful following, and still claims to have healing powers from God. Millions in donations from believers has not stopped.
There are more prophets in Ghana today than in the entire Bible. Nigeria, probably, has more prophets than Germany, Israel, Italy and the USA all combined. How come a small nation like Ghana has so many prophets? Have all the stage magicians, Opera-square tricksters and school drop-outs become prophets? When JSS drop-outs like Prophet T. B. Joshua are worth over $20 million, it is a no-brainer that money is the attraction, and not the message of Christ.
In one of his scripted and plainly fake videos on You Tube, Prophet T.B. Joshua claims to have raised a man from the dead, just like Jesus raised Lazarus. So is Joshua going to raise President Mills, his “spiritual son”, from the dead? That would be the miracle of the century. This time the death certificate would not be fake, the rolling cameras would not be those of Joshua’s paid sycophants, but those of CNN, BBC and the New York Times. We are waiting.
If our dear president went to see Joshua for healing, we should be careful pointing fingers at Prof. He was a fair president and a good man. When one has a medical condition that doctors find puzzling, with death staring one in the face, desperation and fear can make one seek help from the most questionable places. One becomes a sitting duck for quacks, charlatans and all manner of money-hungry con men. Our blame and anger should be directed at those who make a living off the pain and suffering of others, and not at the victims.
Did Jesus and his apostles make money off the suffering and misery of physically and mentally troubled people? No! They were selfless and humble. I don’t know if there is a name for those whose profession is to dangle false hope in the face of the troubled, sick, dying and destitute, out of greed and a hunger to inflate their egos and wield power over the weak. Psychologists would have to find stronger words, than socio-path and psychopath, to describe such cold, callous and heartless sub-human species.
By Kwame Asempa