Is Ebola a curse from God? Some African Christian leaders think so

This is the hospital in Kenema, Sierra Leone, West Africa, where the Ebola virus samples are tested to see if someone has the virus or not. It was taken in June 2014. Photo via Commons WikiMedia

This is the hospital in Kenema, Sierra Leone, West Africa, where the Ebola virus samples are tested to see if someone has the virus or not. It was taken in June 2014. Photo via Commons WikiMedia

NAIROBI, Kenya (RNS) As Western nations evacuate their citizens from West Africa’s growing Ebola outbreak, some Christian leaders have begun to speak of the virus as a curse from God.

On Friday (August 8), the World Health Organization declared the Ebola crisis ravaging the region an international health emergency. On the same day, Nigeria became the latest country in West Africa to declare the virus crisis a national emergency, the day after Spain evacuated a priest and a nun from Liberia to Madrid.

On Saturday (Aug. 9), a Congolese nun died from Ebola in Monrovia, the capital of Liberia, the AP reported.

The outbreak started in December in Guinea, but was not discovered until March. It has since killed more than 1,000 people in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone.

“People are having different misconceptions that this is (a curse) from God,” said Bishop Sumoward Harris, now retired from the Lutheran Church in Liberia. “This is depending on how they are interpreting the Bible. But I don’t think God is angry and is issuing a punishment.”

In Liberia, more than 100 Christian leaders meeting in early August declared that God was angry and Ebola a plague. They called for prayers to seek God’s forgiveness for sins including corruption and immoral acts such as homosexuality.

Liberia’s Wilmot Kotati Bobbroh, head of the Living Water Pentecostal Church, later described the outbreak as a national curse brought by God to force repentance. Bobbroh said chlorine and soap were not working, but God’s mercy was saving people.

In Sierra Leone, a similar view is gaining credence, according to Ebun James–Dekam, general secretary of the Council of Churches in Sierra Leone.

“It has some similarities to what happened when the HIV/AIDS epidemic first occurred,” said James-Dekam.

Initially those infected with Ebola in Sierra Leone had relied on treatment from traditional healers, but this was shown to be ineffective, she said.

“Virtually all churches are relying on medical professional for treatment,” she added.

Harris said the virus spread quickly because little was known about it and the government had not mounted a robust response.

“The people had started taking relatives to prayer houses, while others administered herbal treatment,” Harris said. “By the time we realized this was an epidemic, it had grown out of proportion. We are now overwhelmed,” said Harris, while citing an urgent need for medical personnel and services.

Religion News Service

RNS is owned by Religion News LLC, a non-profit, limited liability corporation based at the University of Missouri School of Journalism. Its mission is to provide in-depth, non-sectarian coverage of religion, spirituality and ideas.

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2 Comments on "Is Ebola a curse from God? Some African Christian leaders think so"

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The United Methodist Reporter wants to encourage lively conversation about The United Methodist Church and our articles in the belief that Christian conversation (what Wesley would call conferencing) is a means of grace. While we support passionate debate, we cannot allow language that demeans or demonizes others, and we reserve the right to delete any comment we believe to be harmful or inappropriate. We encourage all to remember that we are all broken and in need of Christ's grace, and that we all see through the glass darkly until that time we when reach full perfection in love. May your speech here be tempered with love, and reflection of the fruits of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. After all, "There is no law against things like this." (Galatians 5:22-23)
 
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james
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Hmmmmm. Many folks in the “church” here in the USofA, in my opinion, have all but completely moved away from the fact that some time in future, ALL–that is believers as well as nonbelievers–will stand before the Judgement Seat of Christ. The “church” is full of touchy-feely folks–that is the “do it if it feels good crowd.” Apparently, some of the Christian leaders in the African church have not lost sight of the fact that God WILL become a God of Judgement–even though the church still is in the Age of Grace. Are YOU washed in the Blood of the… Read more »
Child of God
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I am not at liberty to say it is a curse or it is not, but I know that we serve a Mighty God (The Lord Jesus Christ who died on the cross for our sins) and He is alive. The second coming is at hand and we must pray for people’s salvation and that they will repent. See 2 Chron 7:14. God will heal the land if the people come to HIM, and HIM alone. He s the beginning and the end, the first and the last. HE IS ALMIGHTY GOD!! We the children of God must come together… Read more »
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