Child-Witch Stigmatisation in UK Churches to be Highlighted by Channel 4 Tonight

Channel 4 Dispatches is tonight broadcasting a documentary on child-witch accusations in churches in the UK (8pm, or 9pm on Channel 4+1). From the blurb:

Dispatches goes undercover in some African churches in the UK, where evangelical pastors perpetuate a strong belief in witchcraft. They preach that some people are possessed by evil spirits, and that these spirits bring bad luck into the lives of others.

The only way to rid the possessed from the witchcraft spell and lift their curse is to ‘deliver’ them: a kind of exorcism that can be very traumatic. Some pastors charge significant sums of money to perform these deliverances.

Often it is children who are denounced as witches by these pastors, and this labelling can lead to the physical and emotional abuse of those children at the hands of their families. In extreme cases it has led to the deaths of some children.

In parts of Africa, branding a child a witch is now outlawed, but in Britain this practise is perfectly legal, despite the fact it can have horrific consequences.

Dispatches reveals just what goes on behind closed doors in these African churches, exposing the pastors who exploit the religious beliefs of the most vulnerable.

This comes in the wake of two Dispatches documentaries on child-witch stigmatisation in Nigeria (see here and here; the first was also shown in the USA in May). However, the UK context also got some attention in a BBC documentary in 2006, which I blogged on here. That programme concentrated on churches with links to Congo.

4 Responses

  1. […] Richard Bartholomew informs us of a Channel 4 Dispatches programme to be aired tonight, on the traumatic and sickening subject of child-witch accusations in churches in the UK! Dispatches goes undercover in some African churches in the UK, where evangelical pastors perpetuate a strong belief in witchcraft. They preach that some people are possessed by evil spirits, and that these spirits bring bad luck into the lives of others. […]

  2. I’m witchcraft Deary me…with this much ignorance from people who claim to be concerned for children, you would have maybe thought to engage in some credible research and investigative journalism. Any normal unprejudiced person can tell, that the churches are not ‘believing’, in witchcraft. They are fighting against it. You AntiChristian idiots will twist and distort anything u see, just to condemn Christianity. You don’t understand something, yet u reject the valid reports of those who do, on favour of foolish conclusions geared towards sensationalist statements, that project nothing truthful, but twisted lies and ignorant conjecture. Try forming an opinion on truth and facts, instead of sensationalist papparrazi type digs at the Christian community and the church. Would I be so quick to criticise a muslim or hindu mosque other temple if this was happenin there? No. Christians will stand up to this slander and
    rubbish, and when they do, idiots who say preposterous things like exorcism being witchcraft, or that a belief in demons, evil spirits, or the supernatural, makes a church member a believer in witchcraft, will be shown up for the backward retarded statements they spew out with their lying forked tongues? hypocrites! You people accuse Christians of being medieeval, and you yourselves watch programs on tv about picnics, mediums, and
    clairvoyants ! Hypocrites! At least Christians have a way, an answer and a solution. These demons and evil spirits can kill, but they are cast out by the Name of Jesus! Only real Christians have the belief and power to do this, and you mock them. fools!
    Show some respect for peoples beliefs, those who can back it up, or shut up, and go pick on some muslims or hindus! Deliverance is a ministry of casting out demons and it is proven that demons are afraid of Jesus. show some respect. Whether children or adults are possessed is irrelevant, in the long term. What is relevant, is the state of the person after they are cast out.
    If some charlatans are profiting off the staged version of an exorcism, or people are killed, this does not indicate that ALL
    EXORCISM OR DELIVERANCE MINISTRIES ARE FAKE OR DANGEROUS! Research the facts, u amateurs! there are thousands of real life every day exorcisms with legitimate scientific and credible witnesses, data and documents. There is such a thing, as searching for the truth, but all u shoddy media chores, care about is a sensationalist story designed to ironically, demonise christians. get your lazy arse into gear and find some real data and facts and report it truthfully, and u will see Exorcisms happen every day all over the world, and witchcraft is not mentioned once. Only idiot reporters trying to spin a story ruin it for everybody, with their lies, fabrications and bull Crap. Please, do us a favour. cut the Crap journalism, and report the truth, not some S pin story meant to ferment anti christian fervour. You atheists are worse than the inquisition of the dark ages, because u are not interested in truth, only what u want people to believe.
    You probably won’t have the guts to publish this comment on the website anyway. If u don’t, u will just prove that u are cowards and sensationalist fools. I bid u good day.

    • Pathetic. Children are suffering, and all you can do is whine that it’s unfair for churches to be scrutinised. Try taking your complaint to the Evangelical Alliance:

      The Evangelical Alliance unreservedly condemns all forms of child abuse, and considers any accusation of witchcraft levelled at a child to be abusive, immoral and unbiblical.

  3. Foolish Richard Bartholomew, why don’t you publish my comments? you want only the comments of your fellow Atheists and haters of God, fools

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