Thu | Nov 23, 2017

Patria-Kaye Aarons | Vulnerable believers

Published:Tuesday | September 12, 2017 | 12:04 AM

They say belief kill and belief cure. Well, I will add that belief can bruk yu pocket. I've been growing increasingly uncomfortable with leeches who prey upon persons in desperate situations. The saddest part is that the vultures aren't the sleazy-looking scoundrels you would assume. Many do not look the part. They wear collars and advertise on TV and don designer suits day in, day out. To me, whether it's under the guise of 'Indian astrologer' or 'obeah man' or even 'preacher man', you are a scammer if you exploit people when they are vulnerable.

My penance for taking my radio off Nationwide last week was hearing a pastor presenter shouting at the top of his lungs soliciting callers to his show. Apparently it was 'Testimony Tuesday'. A lady called in with what she called a miracle that was performed by the radio pastor. Her doctor had told her she needed an echo of her heart. She didn't have the money for the procedure and called in to the radio pastor the previous week for deliverance. He told her to come to his crusade on Wednesday, to drink some consecrated olive oil he would give her, and that she should believe and all would be well.

She was calling back to thank him because she had sauted her stomach lining with his special EVOO just as he had instructed, and one week later, she FELT healed. My belief is that the pastor should be sent to prison. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200. The actions of the pastor are grossly irresponsible, criminal. When that woman dead and gone to meet her Maker, what is he going to say then. I believe that faith can do wonders for the healing process, but faith, and faith alone nuh better than medicine. This man wanting to get his grubby little hand on the old lady's collection gave her dangerous advice. And in her desperation, she followed him.

Back in corporate life, I remember a young lady joining my team. For the entire first month, she hardly ever ate lunch, was exceedingly grateful for rides in the evenings, and she never participated in any team activity that required her splitting a bill. I thought, perhaps it's because she just started working at the company, so she hadn't yet gotten a paycheque, so she was probably in a spot. But even after the 25th of the month, salaries lodged to all our accounts, newbies and otherwise, she was still broke.

Turns out, she had tithed her entire month's pay to her church. All of it. Every penny. Her justification: Parson says she must always sow her firstfruit. Her minister convinced her that her entire first paycheque should be deposited into the collection plate both as celebration for getting a job and as security to keeps the job. And she obediently did as she was told, because it had been months since she was gainfully employed and she couldn't afford to lose this one.Someone else I knew did something similar. She wanted to go to university, but couldn't afford the $1m-a-year tuition. In conversation, it came out the she had placed $100K into the offering plate the Sunday before. Her justification: Parson say anything she wants, she must sow 10 per cent of the value of it to church.

 

Down to a science

 

With mathematical accuracy, he had convinced her that if she prayed over the envelope before dropping it, some way somehow, $1m would miraculously appear right on time. The man measured miracles down to a science. Value of the desire, divided by 10 placed into the collection plate equals guaranteed miracle.

That school fee never did materialise, and the reason she was told was that her faith wasn't strong enough. So the equation was off. Ask me and I'll tell you that's robbery. I work way too hard to just give away my money just suh.

Big up Jesus and all that. But church makes too many gullible. And it's not just church. These Indian astrologers must be doing very good business to be advertising every day on TV in prime time. Them, obeah men, scammers, con-artist parsons, they all make a killing. All because people want a way out. Want something or someone to save them from their many troubles. If only we'd open our eyes and realise that some white knights on their noble steed are just a tief on a donkey.

- Patria-Kaye Aarons is a television presenter and confectioner. Email feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com and findpatria@yahoo.com, or tweet @findpatria.