Sunday, October 25, 2009

Atheist Association of Uganda 2

So my buddy Micheal, PR of the Atheist Association of Uganda, has asked me to bring attention to the epidemic of ritual child sacrifice in his country. He sent a few links and I read up a bit more. It's really tragic, obviously, but I was also struck by the similarities in the beliefs and motivations of the witch doctors and their followers and our own televangelists. Only, instead of conning the elderly poor into sending in their Social Security checks as "seed money" for their manifest increase (God is your loan shark), in Uganda spiritual men persuade believers to kidnap and murder young children as a get-rich-quick scheme. More than just awareness, Micheal and the AAU hope to raise funds for an upcoming atheist bus campaign in Uganda, which will feature messages against child sacrifice as well as the AAU website and contact information.

Here is part of the consciousness raising letter the AAU delivered to the US and Netherlands Embassies in their parish, Kimpala.
We wish to introduce to you our association known as ATHEIST ASSOCIATION
OF UGANDA. (AAU) It's designed to be a national educational charity
supporting and representing people who seek to live good lives without
religious or superstitious beliefs. AAU is registered in Uganda as a
charity and its an affiliation of the Atheist Alliance International

AAU recognizes the scientific method as the only rational means towards
understanding reality. We question and critically examine all ideas,
testing them in the light of facts that lead to the discovery of truth.
We reject superstition and prejudice, along with the irrational fears they
cause. We recognize the complexity and inter-dependence of life on this
planet. As rational and ethical beings, we accept the challenge of making
a creative and responsible contribution to life.

AAU designed a project that will see us campaign against the ritual
killing of both Children and elderly, mob justice which is on the raise
now in Uganda by displaying adverts on buses running through Kampala and
upcountry in all languages depending to the route destination. This
project cannot be implemented without the support of like minded people
and organizations.

Here's an incredibly moving piece Micheal wrote for the Minnesota Atheists, which he contributes to regularly.

The misery of Africa and poor Africans should make the rest of the world hang their heads in shame. In my country Uganda and Africa in general, we are in the same social position that Europe was for two thousand years until the early nineteen hundreds.

The poor were slaves, exploited on farms and in factories. There was no care for their health or well-being, children were sent to the mines or to slave for 14 hours a day in terrible factories. That was the system the colonizers brought to our lovely Africa when they colonized us.

A September 2009 article in the Guardian links some of the murders with suspected organ trafficking.

From The Independent

The Religion News Blog covers the rise of kidnappings and ritual murders.

Huffington Post.


Yes, today's post is depressing, but also hopeful. You can help support atheist communities in far-flung places, especially in countries where religious persecution is codified into law. We're working on getting PayPal or some other method so that people who would like to can contribute financially as well. I'm also going to get Micheal's recommendations on NGOs for donations. And if you don't have any money (like me) you can just raise awareness. Send you favorite newscaster this information - make #uganda a top trending topic on Twitter, write to Congress and the State Department and let them know you support comprehensive sex and kidnapping education for Uganda's children. Write the UN and tell them this is a grave human rights issue.