Christianity has done much good in Africa. Christians have built roads, orphanages, schools, hospitals, etc. Many Christians in Africa have drawn upon their faith to survive and thrive, and to help their fellow human beings in numerous ways.
However, the ugly side of Chrisitianity in Africa cannot be ignored. U.S. missionaries have been especially influential in Africa. In the mid-1990s, Pat Robertson of the 700 Club made inroads into Zambia, which he labeled a Christian nation. Robertson and other theocrats planned to help set up a reactionary Christian theocracy there, to serve as a model for assuming control over the U.S.
Robertson established ties with then-president Frederick Chiluba. However, Chiluba and his wife were brought up on charges of mass corruption. They were found not guilty in a court in Zambia. However, in England, the former Zambian president was found guilty in a civil court of stealing $46 million.
Robertson also had designs on Zaire (now the Congo) while the brutal dictator Mobutu Sese Seko still ruled the country. (Mobutu allegedly stole between $3 billion and $5 billion from his people. ) Robertson was primarily interested in gaining access to the nation's diamond business. After Mobutu was driven from power in 1997, Robertson tried to establish ties to the new regime, to no avail.
In 2001, Robertson established ties with Charles Taylor, the infamous dictator of Liberia. Robertson was primarily interested in gaining access to that country's gold mines. However, Taylor was eventually put to death, and again, Robertson's designs on Africa were frustrated.
In the summer of 2010, Robertson made inroads into Zimbabwe, which is still largely under the sway of Robert Mugabe. (In 1995, Mugabe made history by becoming the first African head of state to publicly denounce gays. A group of gays and lesbians wanted to open a booth at an international book fair in the nation. Mugabe balked and said that gays were lower than pigs and dogs. Just imagine a Western leader making such a statement!)
Robertson established the American Center for Law and Justice. Members of this group have made efforts to help turn Zimbabwe into a Christian theocracy, with a strong emphasis upon discriminating against LGBTQI people and passing harsher laws against them.
Western faith healers have also invaded Africa. Africans in poor health lose faith in the medical profession and place it in Christ, thereby worsening their conditions. Amazingly, evengelists that have been exposed as frauds in the U.S., often go on to successfully ply their trade in Africa.
Western Christians have helped to strengthen a belief in witches among Africans. Those most likely to be charged with witchcraft are the most vulnerable members of society--young girls and elderly women.
According to humanist activist Leo Igwe of Nigeria, Adama Mamuda and Ibrahim Shehu Ganye were recently sentenced to two years in prison by a magistrate court in Bauchi State. They were found guilty of practicing witchcraft. They were ordered to pay monetary damages to Hafsatu Sani, their alleged victim.
In July, police inspector Matu Albasu arraigned the two for conspiracy and allegedly imprisoning Sani via withccraft for four years. Albasu told the court that Adama removed Sani's spirit and delivered it to Ganye. The court ordered the accused persons to return the spirit to its proper owner. The accused were forced to walk over the body of the alleged victim in the courtroom. Later, they were forced to go to the bush to procure traditional medicine for the alleged victim.
An entire book could be written on Christian-influenced homophobia in Africa. Over two-thirds of African nations have laws against homosexuality. Such laws mean that men that have sex with men (MSM), a major group at risk of contracting AIDS, are unable to be properly educated about the disease. This means that they will be unable to protect themselves against it, and that they will be unable to get proper medical treatment for it. (For example, because homosexuality is illegal, MSM are excluded from Uganda's successful efforts to combat AIDS. Many of those that come out of the closet are berated by medical staff.)
Since 2009, lawmakers in Uganda have been trying to pass an Anti-homosexuality Bill that would require the death sentence for "aggravated homosexuality" if a person that is HIV-positive has homosexual sex with a disabled person or a person under the age of 18. (It is also known as the "Kill the Gays" bill.)
In South Africa, some lesbians are victims of "corrective rape," in which men rape them in efforts to turn them into heterosexuals. There have been dozens of murders of lesbian women in South Africa since 1998. However, there have only been a few cases to reach the courts, and just a single conviction.
In Nigeria, for the past five years, lawmakers have been trying to pass a bill against "Same Gender" marriage. The bill would also target anyone who attends a same-gender ceremony or gathering, or anyone who sees and aids such a relationship.
According to a 2008 survey of 6,000 Nigerians conducted by Information for Sexual and Reproductive Rights, a mere 1.4 percent considered themselves to be tolerant of LGBTQI people.
It is certainly true that Christianity has brought about much good in Africa, and indeed, the world. However, what the 19th century freethinker said of the Catholic Church, can be said of Christianity in general. "In one hand she carrie[s] the alms dish, in the other, the dagger."
Next we will take a look at some of the negative influences of Islam in Africa.