Pentecostal pastors in Kenya encourage HIV patients to burn their medication in favor of prayers and “miracle blessings” that will supposedly “cure” the patient.
The “cure” is not free, however, and some shell out their life savings to receive the “miracle blessings,” often with tragic consequence.
A disturbing report reveals that pastors at some Pentecostal churches will invite people infected with HIV to come forward for prayers and “miracle blessings”, after which the person’s anti-retroviral medications are burned and the individual is declared to be cured.
I believe people can be healed of all kinds of sickness, including HIV, through prayers,” said Pastor Joseph Maina of Agmo Prayer Mountain, a Pentecostal church on the outskirts of Nairobi. “We usually guide them. We don’t ask for money, but we ask them to leave some seed money that they please.”
And what happens after the patient pays for the prayers, burns the medication, and yet the illness persists and worsens? According to Gabriel Amori, coordinator of Uganda’s INERELA+ chapter, an international, interfaith network of religious leaders living with or affected by HIV, “Pentecostal pastors often tell people that a lack of faith is the reason the prayer healing isn’t working.”
“The patients do not actually get healed, but they try to believe they are to prove they have faith, even if there is no clinical proof,” he said.
Terry Firma at the Friendly Atheist notes: In an extra-cruel twist, the dupes of this deadly scam are often recruited to bring more sick customers into the church.
INERELA+ reports that 10 people a month on average pay for the “miracle cures” in Nairobi, and have documented over 2,000 such cases throughout Kenya.