18 October 2013

Do-Gooder Fuckery Update, Sub-Category: US Evangelical Christian

A bountiful two days indeed:

First, US American T.D. Jakes, in a ranty response to ‘Preachers of LA’, a reality TV show about filthy rich mega pastors, goes on a rant in which he claims that ‘The natives all over Kenya drink water because of this ministry. And the hospital in Nairobi survives because of this ministry.’ (Transcript here).

Cue collective side-eye from Kenyans on Twitter (KOT). The natives got a little restless, not just because of his distinctly colonial language, but also because nobody was really aware of T.D. Jakes’ water supplies or ‘the hospital’.

After an afternoon of online shitstorming, the natives received this: ‘The attempt was to highlight one well and one hospital wing in Kenya as one example of this ministry's worldwide efforts. It was by no means meant to take responsibility for an entire nation or to minimize the contributions of its people.’

No mention of the ‘natives’, and if Jakes’ ministry supported one well and one hospital wing, then his earlier statement is nothing but a deliberate misrepresentation – no doubt targeted at his US audience who would surely not doubt its veracity. Ridiculously self-serving and tone deaf. I may or may not have called it ‘bollocks’ on Twitter.

My only explanation for this? T.D. Jakes probably didn’t think the natives would be on social media. Or would be able to read, for that matter.

I guess we need to be grateful that Jakes didn’t describe Kenya as ‘war torn’. Joyce Meyer recently bragged on Twitter about the support her ministry gave to an orphanage in ‘war torn Uganda’.

(And Christina Aguilera went to ‘war torn Rwanda’ to feed the natives, but that was for the World Food Programme, so equally ridiculous, but not eligible for classification in the sub-category US Evangelical Christian).


Then Denis Nzioka brought this article in the Texas ‘Graham Leader’ to my attention: 'Baptist Men send buckets to dying East Africans'. In it, the author claims: ‘Baptist Men, a mission organization at First Baptist Church, has recently completed a mission outreach effort called “Bucket Project: Hospice Kit.” Sponsored by Baptist Global Response (BGR), the project is directed toward hospice patients in East African suffering the final stages of HIV/AIDS. According to statistics provided by BGR, the HIV/AIDS epidemic killed 1.2 million people in 2012 in East Africa alone. Since the since the epidemic began, 14.8 million children have lost one or both parents to the disease.’

Yeah no. I don’t know whether the Graham Leader was given the wrong figures by the men’s group (still: how about fact checking?) or got them wrong, but that’s most likely the figure for all of sub Saharan Africa. According to UNAIDS (thanks to our friends at Google, mere seconds away), an estimated 57,000 died of HIV/AIDS in Kenya in 2012, 63,000 in Uganda, 5,600 in Rwanda, and 4,800 in Burundi (no data for TZ, but probably in the Kenya/UG range). That’s of course way too many, but it’s not a million plus.

(the article also claims that ‘the disease kills both men and women’. No shit, Sherlock!).

In all fairness, when I looked up the Baptist Global Response project, they did state the figure for all of sub Saharan Africa. But to my great surprise, the ‘buckets’ to be sent are not a metaphor – these guys actually send buckets full of things to Kenya. Surely they must be aware that Kenya has well stocked supermarkets in which one can purchase nail clippers etc? And Kenya even has wholesalers. Ya know, save on transport costs, put some money into the local economy.