The BBC has another report on the treatment of children in Africa 'suspected of being witches'.
I've been following these stories for a while now, but I'm still saddened and disgusted every time I read or hear something new. This particular report centres on Nigeria.
That children are beig subjected to abuse - including having nails driven into their skulls, being thrown into raging rivers, being tied to trees in the middle of forests and left to starve, and being beaten or burned so badly that they are permanently maimed - is horrifying.
The blame for these acts lay almost exclusively at the feet of the religious - in particular, the brand of Christianity that has taken hold over there. Evangelical Christian Pastors have been spreading the fear of 'black magic' and 'witches' since the 90s (at least) and the result is what we now see.
A deep and fervent belief in what these Pastors say: that demons posses their children, that their children are evil, that their children are witches or wizards - that any ill fate that befalls the family is the result of a curse or witchcraft - is the reason so many children are suffering.
Because of this rampant spread of lies (almost exclusively by the Pastors themselves, who make a profit by 'exorcising' the children - taking money that the families can barely afford to give them, and taking it again and again, sometimes holding the child at ransom) even the hospitals refuse to treat any child accused of witchcraft. Hundreds, thousands of children are tortured, starved and murdered; those who survive are left traumatised, some actually believing they are possessed.
This disgusts me and simply goes towards shoring up my personal belief that religion should be wiped out for good.