I Suppose Rachel Maddow Will Blame Ugandan Child Sacrifices on Christians as Well


Looks like those  Christianist Ugandan puppets of the Christian right are at it again:

JINJA, Uganda — Caroline Aya was playing in front of her house in January when a neighbor put a cloth over her mouth and fled with her.

A couple of days later, the 8-year-old’s body was found a short walk away — with her tongue cut out. Police believe she was offered up as a human sacrifice in a ritual killing, thought to bring wealth or health.

“If it is a sickness you try to treat it, and if they die that is one thing,” said Caroline’s father, Balluonzima Christ. “But when you slaughter a person like a goat, that is not easy.”

The practice of human sacrifice is on the rise in Uganda, as measured by ritual killings where body parts, often facial features or genitals, are cut off for use in ceremonies. The number of people killed in ritual murders last year rose to a new high of at least 15 children and 14 adults, up from just three cases in 2007, according to police. The informal count is much higher — 154 suspects were arrested last year and 50 taken to court over ritual killings.

Children in particular are common victims, according to a U.S. State Department report released this month. The U.S. spent $500,000 to train 2,000 Ugandan police last year to investigate offences related to human trafficking, including ritual killings.

The problem is bad enough that last year the police established an Anti-Human Sacrifice Taskforce. Posters on police station walls show a sinister stranger luring two young girls into a car below bold letters that call on parents to “Prevent Child Sacrifice.”

Human sacrifices have been recorded throughout history and occur still in many countries, including India, Indonesia, South Africa, Gabon and Tanzania. One traditional healer in Uganda, when asked about the phenomenon, pointed to the story told in the Bible’s book of Genesis, when God asked Abraham to sacrifice a son.

Hear that Rachel? Maybe you can pin this on Christianity anyway! I mean if you ignore the fact that according to Christian myth God stopped Abraham from actually sacrificing his son (it was a test of faith) and then declared human sacrifice evil. Granted, I’m not a Christian and haven’t been to a church outside of weddings or funerals in decades but I don’t remember any Christians I know promoting human sacrifice.

The truth of the matter is that this is a darker magic, the kind you run into when you have a thriving community of practitioners competing for clients. Some of those clients are going to be criminals, as will some of the practitioners. Mexico has had a spate of human sacrifices by those in service to drug gangs. Uganda is no different, a market place full of healers, witch doctors, priests and priestesses of almost forgotten gods and the petty sorcerers who fill the gaps between.

It is an oft ignored fact that even here in America the conscientious practitioner of what is known as the occult is in constant battle, philosophically, metaphysically and sometimes even physically, with the people less scrupulous in their practice. Witchcraft, real witchcraft (not the live action role playing game much of American neo-Paganism has devolved into), is a messy business full of desperate people looking for easy fixes to their problems from people whose esoteric knowledge promises little reward aside from experience of the numinous. The money is there however; botanicas in NYC are full of protection oils with homemade labels picturing guns and knives sold to people who live in bad neighborhoods, instructions for rituals designed to hide you from creditors, and spells to make judges look favorably on you.

In Uganda the scene is assuredly similar. That great Fraternity of Night has membership standards that are, shall we say, loose? The petty wizard need only have the curious nature that drives him to seek out various recipes and formulae, and unlike the simple folklorist a desire to put them into practice. There’s no overarching morality to the practice of Witchcraft aside from the acquisition of power and the preservation of ancient knowledge. In places like America where most people share a set of Enlightenment values and most people (myself included) happen to believe in gods that extol goodness and condemn wickedness, the depravity of human sacrifice is rare and likely to incur the wrath of more than just the secular authorities. In Uganda this may not necessarily be the case:

The sacrifices are also linked to a deep belief in traditional healers, or witch doctors, who can be found practically every half mile in Uganda.

At the end of a winding dirt road on the edge of Kampala, Uganda’s capital, barefoot children scurry past a sign advertising the abilities of Musa Nsimbe, who goes by the trade name Professor Gabogola. The sign in front of his small wood hut reads like a panacea for the world’s woes.

“A traditional healer with powers over spirits. Solves all cases, demons, thieves, tooth decay, madness fevers, appelipse, genital affairs.”

Sunlight streams in like tiny laser beams through holes in the metal roof of Nsimbe’s shrine. Smoke fills the air. Furry hides cover the floor. Animal horns are arrayed before Nsimbe, who chants, hums, murmurs, shakes and bangs his head against the wall in a furious calling of the spirits.

The 38-year-old Nsimbe — a father of 14 children with two women — says it’s possible that some witch doctors carry out ritual sacrifices, but that he does not.

Another traditional healer, 60-year-old Livingstone Kiggo, said sacrifice is part of the healer’s tool kit — sacrificing a goat, sheep or chicken is considered a call to the spirits, to people’s ancestors. But killing humans is not part of the practice, said Kiggo.

He blamed sacrificial deaths on people who “want to destroy the work of traditional healers.”

“Those are killers. They are not healers. They are killers,” said Kiggo.

In 2008, Kiggo said a man approached him offering to sell a child. He went to the police, who set up a sting operation and snared a man trying to sell his nephew for $2,000. Police and advocates point to several cases where impoverished parents or relatives have tried to sell children to witch doctors for money.

Some Brujos will no doubt have sympathy for Livingstone Kiggo, fighting the good fight against some unscrupulous competitor so depraved that he or she sells the blackest magics, the vilest evil imaginable. Worse for Kiggo is that no matter how his conflict with the others turns out he and the healers are indelibly tainted in the public mind by the works of the perfidious. This is ever the curse of the Magician.

But how is this war of Witches even possible if Uganda is basically controlled by some Evangelical conspiracy as Rachel Maddow proclaims? How is it that Maddow and company explain how practitioners line the streets of Uganda even as The Family secretly controls the country?

The Maddows of the world live in comfortable obliviousness to the true horrors that stalk the world they just barely live in. For Rachel Maddow, and the sheltered and stunted fan base that hangs on her every word, a group of Evangelical hippies can seem to cast a shadow darker than anything they have ever experienced, but that is because they have never truly experienced shadows. In their post-modern cloisters they imagine a world where the root of all evil is not in those who would dismember a child to cure a disease, but in people for whom they have a personal dislike. They don’t like right leaning people in general, right leaning Christians in particular, so they become The Enemy. It’s a comfortable war they wage, against an enemy who won’t harm them. In the meantime there are people in this world so evil that they will castrate young boys to make philters from the severed part.

I’m not a Christian myself but it sounds like Uganda could use the influence of Evangelicals, or at least Uganda’s children could.

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