African Pentecostal Christians Destroying Ancient African Culture In Nigeria

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Most of us have read or heard about European colonists and Christian missionaries looting the treasures of Africa. That destruction and theft occurred a long time ago, but now, a new version of it is taking place. Pentecostal Christian Nigerians are destroying ancient artifacts in order to “break the covenant” with what they call “ancestral idols.” Costumes, bronzes and carvings have all been targeted.

Pentecostal Christianity has increased along with poverty in Nigeria during the last couple of decades. “Redemption camps” have sprung up in the country, attracting such famous pastors as Benny Hinn. The Rev. Dr. Uma Ukpai, a leader of the Pentecostal Church in Nigeria, is said to have told his followers that the ancient African religious artifacts represent “curses and covenants” linked to various gods.

Of course, there are forces in Nigeria that are fighting this trend. Some pieces have been sold to museums, and the National Commission for Museums and Monuments is conducting a campaign to explain to Christians that “they can’t detach themselves from their past, that there is a beginning to their history.” The commission is also asking for stricter enforcement of a law that prohibits the export of artifacts.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

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Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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