In my previous post, I attempted to point out the problems associated with defending someone based solely on the fact that he is a church leader.
However, a lot of people who do not necessarily vindicate or defend Pastor Fatoyinbo have criticized Ese Walter for playing what they call “the victim card”,
In other words, that she had simply engaged in consensual sex with another adult. They argue that even if what had transpired was not proper, it was dishonest of her to claim she had been used or manipulated.
I don’t agree with this position, and this is why. (An article titled “Spiritual Abuse; As Real As Any Other” also published here on jaguda.com also touches on this issue, really worth reading).
Last year, an asthmatic friend of mine in school was invited to a fellowship on campus. The invitee believed she could be healed by her fellowship Pastor.
She was also a Christian and so she saw no harm in accepting the invitation. The Pastor organized prayers for her with his “prayer warriors” for about a week and afterwards she claimed she didn’t experience symptoms anymore.
She promptly became a member of the church, a new poster child for the “miracles” God was doing in this particular fellowship.
I was skeptical about it all from the get go, and wasn’t too surprised when about 3 months after, she started experiencing the asthma symptoms again. I also thought she would be wiser after the experience, and even probably stop attending the church.
On one Sunday evening, I pinged her and she didn’t reply, called and she didn’t pick. When I saw her later, I asked what was wrong with her phone and I realized she was trying to evade the question. When I insisted, she told me that during the service, their Pastor (the one who had “healed” her asthma) had told the congregation that God informed him to tell everybody to “sow” the most valuable possession on them at that moment. Naturally, the most valuable possession on most people in church is their phone, ipad, or jewelry.
And so, like several other people in the gathering, she had promptly dropped her Blackberry. Interestingly, I realized later that one of my roommates who also attends the same fellowship also “sowed” his Blackberry.
Quick recap, she had gone there for a cure to a medical condition, didn’t find it, and still took a leap of faith to “sow” a mobile phone she couldn’t afford to replace promptly.
Now, the Pastor who induced this entire attitude in her is not the head of a mega church, he is just the Pastor of a congregation of less than five hundred. He doesn’t own a fleet of cars or have a website where his Sunday messages can be streamed all over the world; he is just a newly married young chap in his late 20s.
I feel like going on to give one or two more detailed examples of the way people’s brain seems to enter “mumu mode” the moment someone who claims authority in the name of God tells them to do something. But I consider it unnecessary.
Or can I be the only one who knows a hardworking and ambitious young lady who married a riff-raff who turned her life into a living hell because the guy or a Pastor had brought the “God said you are the one” package to her?
Am I the only one who knows of someone who had a terminal illness and was fleeced of the rest of the wealth he should have left to his family by a “prophet” peddling a miracle cure, only for him to eventually die?
Was I the only one who read a few weeks ago about that Pastor in Brazil who managed to persuade women in his church to give him a blow job so that the Holy Spirit would come out of his penis?
Am I the only one who has been in church services where a Pastor will sell a bottle of oil or water which cost less than five hundred Naira for twenty thousand Naira? Only for people to buy it all like he was giving them a discount?
We experience it every day, but we fail to realize how much power spiritual leaders have over us. Sometimes, not even spiritual leaders themselves, but just their names.
After all, I’m pretty sure most of you received messages, broadcasts and calls that Pastor E.A Adeboye said that nobody should wear the color red on a particular day last year.
I knew it was a lie immediately I heard it, and the gentle Pastor later said he didn’t say it, but of course, thousands of people complied with this “divine instruction”, they didn’t need to hear him say it, they only had to hear, that someone told someone, who had heard it from someone who heard it from someone, that he said it!
If you think I’m exaggerating things, why not try it out yourself?
Seriously now, if you want to make someone do something, tell them that God or the “holy spirit” told you to tell them to do it.
If you are about to make a decision in a group and everyone can’t seem to agree on an opinion, tell everybody to go and pray about it, and come back the next day to tell them God had expressly told you to do it this way or that way.
Of course, you would be lying, but you will also understand the point I am trying to make.
How do terrorists groups like Boko Haram and Al Queada persuade people to commit suicide murders? Simple! By convincing people that God told them to do it -and will reward them bountifully for it.
Now to round up with the Ese Walter story (assuming it is true).
If a Pastor in a university environment can make people drop their treasures in church, if that Pastor in brazil could make grown women suck his winky, if terrorists can persuade people to kill themselves for God, I consider it absolutely trivial that a man of Pastor Fatoyinbo’s caliber can seduce a young female member of his church if he wants to. If you think of it well, it is so simple, it’s almost frightening.
Therefore, I don’t see why anyone should say they don’t understand why Ese Walter is claiming she was used, or manipulated. For the duration of the affair, which she claims lasted for a week; she would have felt she had no choice.
It is absolutely possible, and things like that happen more often that we would like to admit.