Get our toolbar!

WHAT IS VOODOO?

       The origins of the word Voodoo are not clear. Some practitioners claim French roots from the word Veau d'or meaning golden calf, while others point to a corruption of the West African term Vodu which historically has referred to various gods and spirits. The practice of what is commonly called Voodoo in the Caribbean and often known as Voodoun or Hoodoo in America, stemmed from the African occult religion known as Juju which dates back thousands of years to the Ashanti tribe who worshiped snakes.

       African Juju has changed little over the centuries. The practitioner casts a good spell, a bad spell or a spell designed to protect a client from a spell already cast upon him. Some spells are benevolent, designed to help a sick person or help a person win the affection of a desired mate; others are malevolent, capable of inflicting serious injury or illness and even death on an enemy of the client. The practitioners powers are derived from various gods who tell him what action to take under a certain set of circumstances. Powers are also obtained from herbs and fetishes, inanimate objects that are believed to be inhabited by a spirit "capable of having its own way unless soothed and exorcised by the proper rites" of the practitioner. (d'Argent, 1970:18-19.)

       Caribbean Voodoo was born when members of the Ashanti tribes were transported as slaves to Haiti. As they began their assimilation process, they combined some magical rites of the African Juju with religious rites from the Catholic church, thereby creating a new belief system which gradually spread throughout Haiti. The Haitian form of voodoo has many deities, known collectively as loa, who participate in ritualistic ceremonies in several different ways. Rituals are most commonly held to invoke a particular god who best fits the need of the moment. A student of Voodoo in Louisiana, Jacques d'Argent, describes three great rites or divisions governing Voodoo: "one is made up of good or benevolent gods, known as the Rada. The other two, Congo and Petro, consist of wicked or evil gods...In invoking and influencing the gods, the drum, brought with the blacks from Africa as an important part of their religion, plays an important part in the Haitian ritual...Dancing, like the drums, is an essential part of Voodoo ritual. Haitian dances are divided into sacred dances and dances of possession." (d'Argent, 1970:43-45.)

       The Voodoo priest, or Houngon, is "at one and the same time priest, healer, soothsayer, exorciser [sic], organizer of public entertainment and choirmaster." (Metraux, as quoted in d'Argent, 1970: 47.) That is, he is an influential figure in the Haitian community. He is not to be confused with a bocor or boko who practices sorcery or black magic usually condemned by the Houngon. It is the image of the bocor who usually provides the stereotypical portrayal of the voodoo practitioner-the one who tortures a doll or some other effigy that represents the intended victim. His magical powers are not only used to "bring about every evil, to cause death, illness, or injury, to obtain riches, to bring bad luck to enemies or good fortune to a client," but also to invoke the zombie - "a corpse that has been raised from the grave to live again as a mindless slave." (d'Argent, 1970:49.) In truth, Haitian Voodoo is comprised of both good and evil uses of magic as utilized by the Houngon and the bocor.

       Voodoo first came to the United States in 1803 when the prohibition against importing slaves from the West Indies was lifted to allow planters access to more labor. What began in Louisiana as the Haitian transplant of voodoo eventually evolved into an American syncretism known as Hoodoo. This newer form of the ancient traditions developed differently in the United States, supplanting many of its religious aspects with more cultural and medicinal aspects. Indeed, the Hoodoo leader, known as a Hoodoo-doctor, "is a maker of medicine, a treater of ills, and perhaps a historian...he does not perform marriages, christen babies, or bury the dead. For these functions there is the ordained minister of one of the established churches. Hoodoo-doctors do conduct meetings, but never in a church or even a consecrated building as does the Haitian Houmfort. They prefer the outdoors, with a large tree for shelter where they can expound, undisturbed, their different theories of the supernatural in their own ways." (D'Argent, 1970:74.)

       It would be incorrect to state, however, that Hoodoo practitioners use only white or positive magic; clearly some Hoodoo rites in various urban locations have invoked evil spirits, exacted discomforting curses, and mapped out the death of enemies. We remain uncertain about the extent to which it is practiced and the degree to which practitioners may or may not be involved in criminal activity directly connected to their belief in Voodoo.

The Story of The Ju Ju Man

The Ju Ju religion is the religion of the Yoruba speaking people of Nigeria, and is the parent religion of Santeria, Palo Mayombe, and Abaqa (found mostly in Cuba, Puerto Rico, and Miami), Macumba, and Quimbanda (found mostly in Brazil). The gods and goddesses of Ju Ju are called “orishas”, just as they are in Santeria and similar religions. Voodoo originated with the Dahomey speaking people of Africa, and has different but similar gods and goddesses from Ju Ju, and has many similar practices and beliefs as well. A god both Ju Ju and Voodoo have in common is Legba the gate keeper.[1]

Isaiah Oke was born in the village of Ils-Ilen, Nigeria into a family of well known witchdoctors, or “shamans”. His Grandfather was a high ranking shaman, known as a “babalorisha”, and Isaiah was raised to take his place some day and preserve his legacy. In the book Blood Secrets, Oke details his ordeals as part of his training, beginning at age 10, in which he had to allow a (defanged) poisonous snake crawl on him while nude, among other ordeals. His grandfather sent Oke to school to learn to read and write, in order that he might write down the rituals and spells of Ju Ju so that they wouldn’t be lost. Upon entering adulthood, Oke was initiated as a babalawo, and was required to wear a thong like undergarment 24 hours a day without ever being allowed to take it off during his lifetime. Oke was very feared and revered among the people of his village. Oke claimed even his own father was afraid to look him directly in the eye, fearing his supposed magic powers.

Human Sacrifice

Oke trained under another Ju Ju man known as “Dr. Drago”. Drago was a financially successful Ju Ju shaman because of his commercial produced and sold “magical” products, such as gambling soap, oils, powders, and the like. In America, there are similar items sold through occult supply houses. One day during the training, Oke was horrified when made to participate in a human sacrifice while Dr. Drago, an African Army Colonel, and two soldiers were present. The victim was an unidentified white man who spoke with a British accent. The rituals was known as “the 200 cuts”, and was usually performed on a goat. According to Oke, Ju Ju animal sacrifices are usually quick to keep the animal from suffering unnecessarily, but the 200 cuts ritual is different, in which the animal is slowly skinned alive, with 200 strips of skin being pulled from it’s body. Drago performed the actual skinning and the final cut that killed the victim by slashing his throat was performed by Oke, who thinks the victim was probably dead already. The sacrifice was performed at the behest of the Colonel, who hoped the soul of the man would become his Iko Iso, or “spirit slave”.  Having studied under Drago greatly enhanced Oke's reputation as a shaman, and he made a comfortable living. [2]

Oke's Beliefs Challenged at College

Oke was sent to Normal College in Lagos, Nigeria to study accounting. Oke’s grandfather had chosen the career for him believing it was “how white people made their money”, as his grandfather put it. While at college, the students treated Oke with utmost respect, fearing his “Ju Ju power”. A black teenage American girl who is called simply “Janet” in the book Blood Secrets, offended him one day, and Oke decided to hex her. The hex was supposed to give her stomach ailments, but failed to work. He then tried another hex, this time involving tying a monkey’s paw to the doorknob of her house. The next day, the girl angrily confronted Oke, and flung the severed paw at him. She dressed him down in front of several students and the Dean, which further caused him loss of face, as well as paying clients. Determined to hex her, he tried a 4 day ritual to summon the ultimate power, involving fasting, narcotic herbs, and staying all day nude inside a hollow tree. This two failed. After this, Oke became disillusioned with Ju Ju. He threw away his Ju Ju items including his “magic underwear” thong. Oke described the garment as having an unimaginable stench by then after years of being constantly worn.

Now crestfallen, Oke asked Janet what the secret of “American Ju Ju” was that made her so powerful. Janet simply told him she was an American and a Christian, and such people considered Ju Ju “silly superstition”. Oke became curious about the Christian religion, and began attending regular church services. This combined with his western college education lead him to realize that Janet was right, that Ju Ju was a superstition, and that the spirits he and other Ju Ju practitioners sometimes saw were the result of narcotic herbs and hysteria. When Oke returned to his village, his grandfather was furious he had rejected Ju Ju for Christianity. He ordered him to be killed the next morning. Oke fled for his life and settled in a city miles away. The Ju Ju men form his village caused problems for him in the city, and he had to move a few times to try to escape them. Eventually his grandfather died from AIDS along with a cousin that wanted him dead. Oke was able to return to his village without fear of being killed after that.

AIDS Controversy

Oke has irked many people with his belief that AIDS is spread in Africa mostly because of Ju Ju. Doctors critical of the claim say the part of Africa Oke comes from had a higher number of blood transfusions than other parts of Africa. Oke claims Ju Ju involves the handling and ingesting of raw animal blood, and sometimes even human blood, and that transfusions and unsafe sex alone can’t explain the spread of AIDS in the Dark Continent. Oke personally knew of one village that had about 1000 people, but within 10 years the population was down to just 50 because of deaths from AIDS. While even non-Christian Yoruba people think people should be chaste until they are married, Ju Ju rituals make it possible for people to have unprotected sex with multiple partners, claiming later that they were unable to control themselves because they were “possessed by a spirit”. Oke thinks the claims of possession are just excuses to have unprotected, premarital sex.

In the late 1980s Oke was asked to speak in America on several radio and television talk shows. An anthropologist once rebuked Oke during a radio interview, claiming Ju Ju did not involve animal or human sacrifice. Oke explains the rituals that tourists and anthropologists pay to see aren’t the same ones they perform privately. Oke isn’t the first person to make such a claim about African religious rituals. Similar things have also been said by practitioners of American Voodoo about Voodoo rituals they perform for tourists. Western occultists dislike Oke because he abandoned Ju Ju for Christianity and calls Ju Ju a backward superstition that’s holding Africa back.

In the book Blood Secrets, Oke equates Ju Ju with American Satanism, based on what he saw on the Geraldo TV special that aired in the 80's, although it should be noted the Geraldo special was greatly criticized because it accepted practically any outrageous claim and is credited with starting the “Satanic Panic”. Critics say Oke is thus “demonizing” his former religion, literally. But one orisha called Esu, also spelled Exu, (pronounced er-SHOO) is identified with Satan by both followers of Ju Ju and Quimbanda.[3]

In 2001, Ju Ju became the subject of public attention in the UK when the body of a decapitated child was found floating down the River Thames, horrifying onlookers. Forensics determined the child (named “Adam” by UK police, after Adam Walsh) was of Nigerian origin, and that the child had been killed as part of a Ju Ju ritual. In 2005 the investigation lead to the arrest of several Nigerian nationals and uncovered a child slavery ring based out of Benin. Police discovered some children were specially imported just to be human sacrifices, bearing out many things Oke had claimed two decades prior.[4]

References
1.^ Legba is described as the gatekeeper in Voodoo Handbook of Cult Secrets by Anna Riva, a.k.a., Dorothy Spencer
2.^ Blood Secrets by Isaiah Oke as told to Sam Wright
3.^ Drum and Candle by David St. Clair
4.^ News - Telegraph

WHAT IS THE SECRET INGRIDIENT IN VOODOO OILS?


According to Robert Tallant, author of The Voodoo In New Orleans, he had voodoo oils chemically analyzed, and found out the following:

Lover's Oil  =  Strawberry Essential Oil

Flying Devil Oil  =  Oilve Oil + Red Pepper

Black Art Oil = Motor Oil

He also found out Jinxing Powder was just itching powder that kids use in practical jokes.

Yep, that's all there was to them! I've also discovered Voodoo stores and suppliers sell things like Baby Oil under many names, including Altar Oil. They even sell MOUTHWASH in tiny bottles calling it a Voodoo oil!

Vesta Powder is just flash powder. Superstitous and uneducated people thought that when the Voodoo priest or priestess threw it on a fire and it flared up that it was somehow magic!

No matter how you try to dress it up, it all amounts to this:

Voodoo is just superstiton!


Haitians Vs Christians in Haiti

<snip>

Is Haiti Facing a Voodoo-Christian Showdown?
Tensions Could Increase after Voodoo Declared an Official Religion
by David Miller

Miami (Compass - August 18, 2003) -- In late April, Haiti’s President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, a former Catholic priest, declared voodoo an officially recognized religion. The decision means, among other things, that marriage ceremonies conducted by voodoo priests now have equal standing with Catholic ones.

According to a BBC report, many people in the country welcome the move. Voodoo, an African folk religion that venerates a mixture of gods and goddesses and Catholic saints, is an integral part of Haitian life, they say, practiced in Haiti since the late 18th century. A common maxim asserts that Haitians are 70 percent Catholic, 30 percent Protestant and 100 percent voodoo.

“We’ve always been the majority religion in Haiti -- it’s never been illegal to be a voodooisant,” Mambu Racine Sumbu, an American voodoo priestess who has been practicing in Haiti for 15 years, told the BBC World Service on April 30. “What President Aristide has done for us, for which we are very thankful, is to facilitate us in obtaining the status that we need to perform legally-binding religious ceremonies.”

But some Haitians -- particularly evangelical Christians -- believe official recognition of voodoo threatens their freedom of worship and even their personal safety. They say a showdown between voodoo and Christianity is imminent.

“The government said they are going to turn the country entirely to voodoo. The Christians say we are going to turn the country totally to the Lord Jesus Christ,” Jean Berthony Paul, founder of Mission Evangelique du Nord D’Haiti, told Compass.

“I ask everyone I meet to read the 18th chapter of I Kings to see what happened between the prophet Elijah and the Baal prophets. The same thing will happen here.”

Paul has worked in Cap-Haitien, the self-proclaimed “voodoo capital of the world,” since 1970, developing churches, schools, a medical clinic and media ministries. In August 1998, a showdown with voodoo leaders over an annual open-air evangelistic crusade landed Paul and two associates in jail.

When local officials learned of plans for the annual meeting, they ordered organizers to cancel the event.

“They said, ‘Last year you made your crusade, you cast away all our spirits. This year, if you do the crusade, we will kill you,’” Paul recounted.

The evangelicals went ahead with the crusade and officials arrested Paul and two other pastors, Jeane Joel and Gregory Joseph.

“They thought they were going to put us in jail for life,” said Paul, pointing out ominously that few prisoners survive Haitian jails. However, Christians around the country mounted massive protests against the arrests, forcing officials to release the pastors after three days.

Since then, Paul says he has received numerous death threats; family and colleagues have urged him to flee the country. “But when they say I must leave Haiti, I cannot. I have a mandate to set Haiti free from the voodoo,” he said.

Not all Christian ministers in Haiti believe Aristide’s presidential backing of voodoo will raise tensions between adherents of the African folk religion and evangelical Christians.

“I don’t really see much change happening because of it,” said a North American missionary who has worked in Port–au-Prince for the past 17 years. “Since 1986, we’ve heard over and over again the terrible thing that’s going to happen to the evangelical church because such-and-such is a leader and he doesn’t want the evangelical church to come out ahead. I haven’t ever seen that happen.

“I don’t see religion as a battle,” he added. “I think we need to win hearts, one at a time, and disciple. In fact, the evangelical church has been growing through this.”

All Christian ministers agree on that last point. Evangelicals currently account for 40 to 45 percent of the Haitian population, according to church spokesmen. They believe the evangelical church in Haiti will continue to grow at a rapid pace, official voodoo notwithstanding.

“There have been some difficulties, some confrontations that could, perhaps, affect the church from this point on,” a pastor from the Dominican Republic who makes frequent visits to Haiti told Compass.

“But the servants of God have not been hindered by that. Instead, they have looked to Christ, who is the only source and stronghold that helps us go forward.”


Breaking the Power of Voodoo (A Christian article, but very informative nonethelss. I have to agree with the article that Haiti would be 100% better off without Voodoo!)
By Julian Lukins

After centuries of oppression, the nation of HAITI is still locked in a spiritual battle against occultism and poverty. The scene was like something out of an old horror movie. The mourners at the young man's funeral watched silently as the coffin was inserted into the crypt. They shuffled aside as a man stepped forward to brick-and-cement the casket inside. The deceased's brother etched a farewell message in the wet cement. Then, a metal gate was fastened in front of the seal and locked. Why this strange, sinister burial ritual? Actually, it was a practical necessity. In Haiti, Voodoo is a prevalent evil. Even the dead are not safe. Voodoo practitioners have been known to raid tombs to steal recently interred corpses and then use their body parts in gruesome ceremonies.

With justified fear, the grieving family dreaded their loved one being turned into a zombie-the legendary Voodoo image of the “walking dead.” Many in Haiti believe the zombie is more than a mere myth. They believe the spirits have the power to make the dead walk. As one evangelical leader in Haiti told Charisma: “Voodoo is not a game. Satan has power. And the Voodoo power is very real.”

Voodoo's Grip

“Voodoo is ingrained in the Haitian culture,” explains Becky Noss, a former U.S. missionary to this troubled Caribbean island nation just two hours by plane from Miami. “It keeps many Haitians in bondage.” Noss, who witnessed the funeral service described above, encountered the deep-rooted influence of Voodoo during her 18-month term in Haiti, the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere. “Many Haitians are absolutely terrified of curses,” she says. “Voodoo has a grip on their lives.”

As Haiti's evangelical and charismatic churches experience tremendous numerical growth, church leaders report that many Haitians from Voodoo backgrounds are finding freedom in Christ. Noss, who is fluent in Haitian Creole, relays the testimony of a former Voodoo priest, known as a houngan. For years, the priest sought to appease five spirits that controlled him and gave him healing powers. Then, one of the spirits told him to sacrifice a specific type of cat. The priest searched everywhere but could not find the animal. The spirit reacted by throwing him to the ground, badly injuring him. The priest's fear turned to anger as he realized he had spent his life appeasing a spirit that treated him with contempt. He began a search that ultimately brought him to faith in Christ and led him to tear down his Voodoo temple. “Today,” Noss says, “a church stands on the site … praise God!”

The Real Voodoo

In the U.S., Hollywood portrays Voodoo as a theatrical form of witchcraft in which practitioners stick pins into dolls to cast spells and curses on their enemies. “Many people in the U.S. think that Voodoo is a game, just a little play theater,” says Dr. Hubert Morquette, a Haitian physician and former stage actor. “They do not know, they cannot imagine, the power that this thing, Voodoo, has.” Haiti is often seen as the “home” of Voodoo, but Voodoo actually traces its roots back centuries to the region of West Africa that today includes parts of Nigeria, Togo and Benin. African slaves brought Voodoo with them when they were forcibly shipped to Haiti and other islands in the West Indies. In 1791, the story goes, a group of these slaves dedicated Haiti to Baron Samedi (even in Voodoo, the equivalent to Satan). Haitian folklore teaches that the nation's independence in 1804 came as a result of that satanic ceremony.

Voodoo-sometimes called Vodun or Vodou-teaches that there is a chief god, Olorun, who is remote and unknowable. Olorun, Voodooists believe, authorized a lesser god, Obatala, to create the earth and all living things. A battle between the two gods led to Obatala's temporary banishment. This mysterious religion revolves around a spirit world, the realm of demons. In a society riddled with fear of evil spirits and curses, many Haitians think spirit appeasement affords the best protection against personal calamity.

The purpose of Voodoo rituals, often staged in a temple known as a hounfour or humfort, is to make contact with a spirit and gain its favor and protection by offering animal sacrifices. At the center of the temple is a pole called a poteau-mitan, where the spirits communicate with the participants. During a ceremony, followers of Voodoo believe that part of a person's soul leaves the body when he or she is possessed by a loa, or spirit. Their greatest fear is that the soul will be harmed or captured by evil forces while it is absent from the body.

Rituals are often complex, involving various steps including the sprinkling of cornmeal on the ground and the shaking of a rattle accompanied by the beating of drums. As the ritual intensifies, the priest or priestess chants and enters into a frenzied dance, at which point he or she is possessed by a loa. Finally, a sacrifice is made-usually of a chicken, sheep, goat or dog-and the blood is collected in a vessel. The possessed dancer drinks the blood to “satisfy” the loa. The ritual is a mockery of God's covenant with His Old Testament people, Morquette says. “Everything God asks His people to do, Satan asks his people to do the same.That is why you see [animal] sacrifice in Voodoo … because the spirits ask for blood.”

Spiritual Warfare

Clive Calver, senior pastor of Walnut Hill Community Church in Bethel, Connecticut, described his experience at a Voodoo ceremony in Port-au-Prince. Calver watched as the possessed priest writhed on the floor, rolling in fire only to emerge unscathed. “There was a definite sense of evil,” he recalls. “As C.S. Lewis said, Satan's key strategies are to convince people that he is too powerful, or to convince them of his nonexistence.”
The unnerving experience reaffirmed to him the vital role of spiritual warfare. “We have to recognize our enemy Satan, expose him for what he is doing, and oppose him in the power of the Holy Spirit,” Calver says. “So many of us do not see the victory because we are too scared to go into battle.” Although some will speak out, there is tremendous pressure on evangelical and charismatic leaders in Haiti not to “interfere with” or condemn Voodoo. “There is a lot of manipulation,” Morquette explains. “People say: 'Voodoo is our culture. We should not speak badly of Voodoo or our ancestors.' Let me tell you plainly: Voodoo is a satanic religion.”
During a Voodoo ceremony, the loa considers the possessed person to be his horse. “The spirit rides his horse,”

Morquette explains. “After the ceremony, the possessed person does not know what has happened to him … the spirit used his body. This is totally different from the God of the Bible who works through our will, not replacing our mind. The true God respects our personality and our will.” Despite its intimidating nature, the power of Voodoo fades in the presence of Spirit-filled believers. “The Voodoo spirits have power to heal, kill and do supernatural things,” he says. “But they are completely ineffective in the midst of true Christian believers. This is well-known in Haiti. Voodoo spirits cannot show up in the environment of Christians praying. It is so obvious that there is complete incompatibility.”

However, the pervasive influence of Voodoo on Haitian culture has, to some extent, penetrated the church. Lack of theological training and Bible teaching has left some converts vulnerable to false teachings and the acceptance of some Voodoo practices alongside Christianity, even in some evangelical churches, Morquette says. Pastor Sylvain Exantus, a seminary professor with the Church of God in Port-au-Prince, confirmed that theological training is desperately needed in Haiti's growing evangelical and charismatic congregations-in part, to enable the church to confront effectively the Voodoo influence.

“Voodoo is just one element of our culture,” Exantus told Charisma. “It is not the culture. Haitians are a spiritual people, searching for God, searching for purpose and the truth. Our pastors need to be equipped to shepherd their people … to live out the gospel of mercy and compassion.” The arm of Voodoo, though, is far-reaching and extends into every sphere of Haitian life. Claude Jacquet, pastor of a 100-member Baptist church in Port-au-Prince, says Voodoo feeds Haiti's AIDS crisis because it promotes sexual immorality. “The Voodoo priest is a very important person,” Jacquet explains. “He can choose to have sex with any member of his temple.”

Priests regularly prescribe sexual acts as the remedy for curses or sicknesses. For those who truly seek to serve Jesus in Haiti, the cost of discipleship is likely to be high. In the past, high-ranking officials have included Voodoo sympathizers and practitioners. “If you speak badly about Voodoo, you risk being threatened with going to court because some Voodoo practitioners are top officials,” says Rev. Varnel Jeune, director of Radio Lumiere, the nation's influential evangelical radio station. “Voodoo is everywhere in Haiti.”

Because of its official status as a state-sanctioned religion, Voodoo ceremonial marriages are legally recognized and Voodoo practitioners have been known to conduct marriages to dead people, Jeune told Charisma. “I would say to the church in America: Please pray for Haiti!” Jeune pleads. “I believe in the future of the church in Haiti because Jesus has promised to build His church. There is much darkness in our land … but the light will come, of that I am sure.”

Freie Vachon's testimony is proof that the Holy Spirit can turn the foulest darkness to light. “The Voodoo power is brutal,” says Vachon, a former Voodoo priest. “When those demons possess a person, that person can do anything. You need to make a sacrifice … demons want blood.” For Vachon, the ultimate goal was to sacrifice a Christian girl. But, Vachon testifies, he was hit by the power of God, came to faith in Jesus, and began proclaiming Christ.

No longer does Voodoo have a hold on him. Instead, the Holy Spirit is his source of strength. “I know that the real power is in Jesus,” he says, “not in Voodoo.” 3 Julian Lukins is a freelance writer based in California. He traveled to Haiti to compile this report.

Voodoo's Curse

In Haiti, poverty, AIDS and family breakdown all have their roots in the national occult religion. Voodoo's destructive influence extends beyond the spiritual realm and into the physical lives of Haiti's vulnerable people. Many Haitians actually fear prosperity because they are terrified their good fortune will attract the jealous attention of others-and make them a prime target for a curse, says Dr. Hubert Morquette, a Haitian humanitarian worker with World Relief. Subdued by such oppression, many Haitians are reluctant to acknowledge if they are healthy or doing OK, he says. In response to the question Kijan ou ye?-”How are you?”-most prefer to use the Creole phrase pa pi mal, literally, “not worse.” To admit otherwise could be to invite a curse.

Immersed in this culture of fatalism, Haitians suffer from very low self-esteem, fueled by the knowledge that their nation is the poorest and least developed outside Africa. AIDS is a national crisis, rife among the most sexually active age group: 15- to 49-year-olds. However, Haiti's churches are taking the initiative. Mobilized and trained by Baltimore-based World Relief, young volunteers in Haiti's churches are spreading the dual message of abstinence and marital fidelity through a network of anti-AIDS clubs.

As a result, thousands of young Haitians have made public pledges of abstinence before their peers and churches. “It is a very spiritual ceremony in which we ask each young person to publicly take a stand in front of the assembly of the church,” explains 23-year-old Marckenzy Deteriere, a World Relief staffer in Port-au-Prince. “A young person is responsible before God and himself. There is no control, no pressure from us.
“We remind them: 'When you make a vow, you have to keep your promise before God. Think about the vow you are making … think before you take the vow and not afterwards.' We read Proverbs 20:25: 'It is a trap for a man to dedicate something rashly and only later to consider his vows'” (NIV).

Deteriere reflects: “Our society would make a young person feel ashamed for being abstinent. We encourage youth to stand up and say: 'Yes, I am going to be pure. I am going to be set apart for God, and I am not ashamed.'” Sexual exploitation of children is another ugly reality being addressed by local churches with the support of World Relief, the humanitarian arm of the National Association of Evangelicals in the U.S.

Child sex workers are known as Degaje-a derogatory term that refers to being in survival mode. “Many girls in our cities, and even in our churches, practice prostitution,” says World Relief's Philippe Nicolas. “Their parents are desperate for food, so they encourage their 15-year-old daughters to have sex to bring in money. It's a desperation trade.” In response, World Relief equips and mobilizes local churches to distribute food and provide tuition scholarships to at-risk children in Haiti's slums.

Haiti at the Cross
By George Thomas
CBN News Sr. Reporter


CBN.com – PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti - From a distance, the tiny tropical island of Haiti looks like a great vacation destination. Tropical weather, sandy beaches, green valleys and breath-taking views offer visitors a taste of heaven on earth. But the closer you get, the more this heaven on earth feels and looks like hell on earth.

CBN News asked Eris Labady, a pastor who oversees 15 churches, how he would describe Haiti today. Labady replied, “A sick nation who needs a doctor." Haiti is the poorest country in the Western hemisphere, and is getting poorer every day. Half the population is undernourished. One in five children dies before he or she reaches five. The majority in the country do not even have access to clean water. Dr. J. L. Williams, an American based in North Carolina, has ministered the Gospel in Haiti for 30-plus years. Dr. Williams is the CEO of New Directions International. He said, “It went from this incredible place of prestige, a place of beauty, to what it is today -- just almost a barren, lifeless island.”

It is an island where hopelessness and despair are captured in the faces of needy Haitians.One Haitian girl said, “Our life is so difficult here. We have lost hope in all earthly solutions to Haiti's problems.” Many had pinned their hopes on Haiti's experiment with democracy, but that too has failed to produce much of anything. Still, the man in charge of running this country, Prime Minister Gerard Latortue, is optimistic about the future, despite his country's catalogue of problems.

Latortue said, "We know that democracy is difficult to implement, but we know there is nothing better than that."Yet the nation's top evangelical leader says there are deeper issues that plague his nation.Chavannes Jeune is the pastor of Mission Evangelical Baptist Church. When asked if he felt that Haiti is cursed, he replied, “Yes, because our forefathers, when they were celebrating their independence, dedicated Haiti to a voodoo spirit.” Haitians made a blood pact with the devil 200 years ago, after a witch doctor by the name of Boukman dedicated the island to Satan.

Labady was asked what impact voodoo has had on his country. He responded, "The result is all around us." According to Labady, voodoo permeates every level of Haitian society. CBN News got a glimpse into this dark world where African witchcraft mixes with Catholic rituals. A voodoo priest asserted, “Voodoo and the spirits on these walls have more power than the God of the Gospels, and all this power is now in me, and I can give that power to those who want it!”CBN News asked the priest, “So these are kind of demonic spirits on the wall?” The priest responded,“Yes!”

Lesly is one of the voodoo priests. But Lesly is not his real name; he says that is only his spirit name. Lesly runs a voodoo temple on the outskirts of the Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince. He says that for the last three decades he has tended to the desperate needs of many Haitians. He said, ”Many come to me with all kinds of sickness. Some have evil spirits in them. They ask me to solve their problems, and I do. I also help them get voodoo spirits that can look after them in the future.”

In between gulps of Haitian moonshine, which he said helps to calm the other spirits roaming inside him, Lesly tried to sell our CBN News reporter a voodoo spirit.CBN News asked, “How much does it cost to buy a spirit?” Lesly responded, ”To buy a good spirit will cost you five, eight, maybe 25,000 Haitian dollars. It all depends on how powerful a spirit you want. Now, if you want to take a spirit with you home to America, you have to pay in American dollars!”

Our reporter was clearly not interested in buying a voodoo spirit. But many Haitians are, and they are paying lots of money for these spirits. We found a man at a major intersection in downtown Port-au-Prince singing about the voodoo spirits he bought, and who now rule his life.The man said, “Voodoo is everything to me. The spirits help me survive in my country, and I love to sing about them.”There is a saying in this country that Haiti is 70 percent Catholic, 30 percent Protestant, and 100 percent voodoo. But things are changing. An army of believers says it is enough that for 200 years this nation has suffered under the curse of voodoo.Spearheading that change is Pastor Jeune, Haiti's most prominent evangelical leader. On most days, you will find him traveling around the island with one goal in mind.

Pastor Jeune said, “What we are trying to do to our country is to claim it back for the Lord.”Thousands of Christians are joining that campaign with fervent prayer and fasting.Church attendant Reginald Estarid said, "Second Chronicles 7:14 says that if my people [will] humble themselves and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear them and will forgive their sins and heal their land. That's what I am clinging to today for my nation.” Last Easter, when Haiti's former president Jean-Bertrand Aristide officially declared voodoo as a religion, "...that become a galvanizing event that woke up the Christians in a special way,” said Dr. Williams.Weeks later, thousands of Christians began earnestly praying to see victory over voodoo. They held rallies officially declaring Haiti for Jesus.

In one rally, Dr. Williams declared, “This is the blood of Christ, and we lift it up tonight."This past week, Pastor Jeune and Dr. Williams held another series of prayer events called "Haiti at the Cross." It included the first-ever Christian prayer convocation at the Haitian White House. It was led by the president of Promise Keepers USA, Dr. Tom Fortson.Dr. Fortson said, "God wants to show himself strong here in Haiti. He wants to demonstrate His power, and what better place in all the world to demonstrate who He is, by changing the situation here in Haiti.”

Rumor has it that former president Aristide used the Haitian White House to hold voodoo celebrations, making this week's event of Christians gathering and praying in the presidential White House all the more historic.Dr. Williams said, “And so to have it, as it were, swept clean by the presence, by the prayers, by the praises of God's people, is historic beyond comprehension.”Other "Haiti at the Cross" events included a four-day Promise Keepers-style outreach to the men of Haiti.

Haitian pastor Daceus Abcoste said, “Men hold the keys to my country's future. When men understand the Godly roles in their families and in their communities, then they will see how God will use them mightily to overthrow the kingdom of the devil and replace it with the Kingdom of Jesus Christ!”Today, Haitian Christians are becoming catalysts for spiritual change in their country. Edmond Chantal said, “God has put a burden on my heart to bring my country to the foot of the cross because I know that only God has the solution to our problems.”

According to Pastor Jeune, the evangelical community is experiencing tremendous growth, and now makes up 42 percent of the population. He says, “Haiti is on the brink of revival."And Christian radio is playing a significant role in that revival. With equipment donated by CBN, Radio Luimer, Haiti's largest evangelical radio station, reaches every corner of the country with the Gospel.Radio Luimer director Varnel Jeune said, “We get a number of calls from voodoo priests who want to serve Jesus Christ and not the devil. We praise God when we get such calls, because it is often dangerous to go and witness directly to these voodoo practitioners. Radio allows us to reach them right into their homes.”

Pastor Labady said that the key to turning his country around is Jesus. He said, “Our people need to come to realize that this country has a problem, [and] there is someone who can solve it, and that's Jesus!”Back at the Prime Minister's office, a group of Haitian and American Christians gathers to present the leader of the country with a Bible, and to speak a blessing over the nation. Prime Minister Latortue said, “I believe Christianity has a big role, and has had also in the past a big role, and even for tomorrow, in order to free Haitians from hunger, from unemployment, God only could help us. That's why one thing I'll ask you: in your prayers, think about me, think about the members of my government, think about the Haitian people -- because we are fighting a difficult task, and only your prayers could help us to reach the objectives we want to reach.”


----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Julian Lukins is a freelance writer based in California. He traveled to Haiti to compile this report.

 

Haiti at the Cross
By George Thomas CBN News Sr. Reporter
(This is another Christian article, but it is very informative)

CBN.com – PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti - From a distance, the tiny tropical island of Haiti looks like a great vacation destination. Tropical weather, sandy beaches, green valleys and breath-taking views offer visitors a taste of heaven on earth. But the closer you get, the more this heaven on earth feels and looks like hell on earth.

CBN News asked Eris Labady, a pastor who oversees 15 churches, how he would describe Haiti today. Labady replied, “A sick nation who needs a doctor." Haiti is the poorest country in the Western hemisphere, and is getting poorer every day. Half the population is undernourished. One in five children dies before he or she reaches five. The majority in the country do not even have access to clean water. Dr. J. L. Williams, an American based in North Carolina, has ministered the Gospel in Haiti for 30-plus years. Dr. Williams is the CEO of New Directions International. He said, “It went from this incredible place of prestige, a place of beauty, to what it is today -- just almost a barren, lifeless island.”

It is an island where hopelessness and despair are captured in the faces of needy Haitians.One Haitian girl said, “Our life is so difficult here. We have lost hope in all earthly solutions to Haiti's problems.” Many had pinned their hopes on Haiti's experiment with democracy, but that too has failed to produce much of anything. Still, the man in charge of running this country, Prime Minister Gerard Latortue, is optimistic about the future, despite his country's catalogue of problems.

Latortue said, "We know that democracy is difficult to implement, but we know there is nothing better than that."Yet the nation's top evangelical leader says there are deeper issues that plague his nation.Chavannes Jeune is the pastor of Mission Evangelical Baptist Church. When asked if he felt that Haiti is cursed, he replied, “Yes, because our forefathers, when they were celebrating their independence, dedicated Haiti to a voodoo spirit.” Haitians made a blood pact with the devil 200 years ago, after a witch doctor by the name of Boukman dedicated the island to Satan.

Labady was asked what impact voodoo has had on his country. He responded, "The result is all around us." According to Labady, voodoo permeates every level of Haitian society. CBN News got a glimpse into this dark world where African witchcraft mixes with Catholic rituals. A voodoo priest asserted, “Voodoo and the spirits on these walls have more power than the God of the Gospels, and all this power is now in me, and I can give that power to those who want it!”CBN News asked the priest, “So these are kind of demonic spirits on the wall?” The priest responded,“Yes!”

Lesly is one of the voodoo priests. But Lesly is not his real name; he says that is only his spirit name. Lesly runs a voodoo temple on the outskirts of the Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince. He says that for the last three decades he has tended to the desperate needs of many Haitians. He said, ”Many come to me with all kinds of sickness. Some have evil spirits in them. They ask me to solve their problems, and I do. I also help them get voodoo spirits that can look after them in the future.”

In between gulps of Haitian moonshine, which he said helps to calm the other spirits roaming inside him, Lesly tried to sell our CBN News reporter a voodoo spirit.CBN News asked, “How much does it cost to buy a spirit?” Lesly responded, ”To buy a good spirit will cost you five, eight, maybe 25,000 Haitian dollars. It all depends on how powerful a spirit you want. Now, if you want to take a spirit with you home to America, you have to pay in American dollars!”

Our reporter was clearly not interested in buying a voodoo spirit. But many Haitians are, and they are paying lots of money for these spirits. We found a man at a major intersection in downtown Port-au-Prince singing about the voodoo spirits he bought, and who now rule his life.The man said, “Voodoo is everything to me. The spirits help me survive in my country, and I love to sing about them.”There is a saying in this country that Haiti is 70 percent Catholic, 30 percent Protestant, and 100 percent voodoo. But things are changing. An army of believers says it is enough that for 200 years this nation has suffered under the curse of voodoo.Spearheading that change is Pastor Jeune, Haiti's most prominent evangelical leader. On most days, you will find him traveling around the island with one goal in mind.

Pastor Jeune said, “What we are trying to do to our country is to claim it back for the Lord.”Thousands of Christians are joining that campaign with fervent prayer and fasting.Church attendant Reginald Estarid said, "Second Chronicles 7:14 says that if my people [will] humble themselves and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear them and will forgive their sins and heal their land. That's what I am clinging to today for my nation.” Last Easter, when Haiti's former president Jean-Bertrand Aristide officially declared voodoo as a religion, "...that become a galvanizing event that woke up the Christians in a special way,” said Dr. Williams.Weeks later, thousands of Christians began earnestly praying to see victory over voodoo. They held rallies officially declaring Haiti for Jesus.

In one rally, Dr. Williams declared, “This is the blood of Christ, and we lift it up tonight."This past week, Pastor Jeune and Dr. Williams held another series of prayer events called "Haiti at the Cross." It included the first-ever Christian prayer convocation at the Haitian White House. It was led by the president of Promise Keepers USA, Dr. Tom Fortson.Dr. Fortson said, "God wants to show himself strong here in Haiti. He wants to demonstrate His power, and what better place in all the world to demonstrate who He is, by changing the situation here in Haiti.”

Rumor has it that former president Aristide used the Haitian White House to hold voodoo celebrations, making this week's event of Christians gathering and praying in the presidential White House all the more historic.Dr. Williams said, “And so to have it, as it were, swept clean by the presence, by the prayers, by the praises of God's people, is historic beyond comprehension.”Other "Haiti at the Cross" events included a four-day Promise Keepers-style outreach to the men of Haiti.

Haitian pastor Daceus Abcoste said, “Men hold the keys to my country's future. When men understand the Godly roles in their families and in their communities, then they will see how God will use them mightily to overthrow the kingdom of the devil and replace it with the Kingdom of Jesus Christ!”Today, Haitian Christians are becoming catalysts for spiritual change in their country. Edmond Chantal said, “God has put a burden on my heart to bring my country to the foot of the cross because I know that only God has the solution to our problems.”

According to Pastor Jeune, the evangelical community is experiencing tremendous growth, and now makes up 42 percent of the population. He says, “Haiti is on the brink of revival."And Christian radio is playing a significant role in that revival. With equipment donated by CBN, Radio Luimer, Haiti's largest evangelical radio station, reaches every corner of the country with the Gospel.Radio Luimer director Varnel Jeune said, “We get a number of calls from voodoo priests who want to serve Jesus Christ and not the devil. We praise God when we get such calls, because it is often dangerous to go and witness directly to these voodoo practitioners. Radio allows us to reach them right into their homes.”

Pastor Labady said that the key to turning his country around is Jesus. He said, “Our people need to come to realize that this country has a problem, [and] there is someone who can solve it, and that's Jesus!”Back at the Prime Minister's office, a group of Haitian and American Christians gathers to present the leader of the country with a Bible, and to speak a blessing over the nation. Prime Minister Latortue said, “I believe Christianity has a big role, and has had also in the past a big role, and even for tomorrow, in order to free Haitians from hunger, from unemployment, God only could help us. That's why one thing I'll ask you: in your prayers, think about me, think about the members of my government, think about the Haitian people -- because we are fighting a difficult task, and only your prayers could help us to reach the objectives we want to reach.”

No part of this website may be reproduced by any means in any way shape or form without express written consent of the owner. Some of the materials on this web site are copyrighted by others, and are made available here for educational purposes such as teaching, scholarship, and research FREE OF CHARGE.  Title 17, Ch. 1, Sec. 107 of the US Copyright law states that such Fair Use "is not an infringement of copyright"(click here to read it all).    Links to external web sites do not necessarily  constitute endorsements, but are provided as aids to research. NONE OF THESE MATERIALS ARE TO BE SOLD.  All HTML is Copyrighted by Uncommon Sense Media. .