On November 18, 1978, Guyana was the venue of another mass suicide, which claimed 912 victims all members of the North American Religious sect called Peoples Temple. Jones began performing an immense amount of welfare work and community service. In 1961 he was nominated Director of the Human Rights Commission by the Mayor. His congregation became a hybrid of church and sect. His sermons were charismatic and he began to produce “miracles of faith.”
In April 1993 in Waco Texas, 75 followers of David Koresh (Members of the Branch Davidians) died among the flames after setting fire to their camp. Their leader was accused by the FBI of sexually and psychologically abusing the young men of the sect, as well as detaining firearms and explosives.
On October 5, 1994 in Quebec Canada, the bodies of 5 people (4 adults and a child) were discovered. The following day in Switzerland the remains of 48 people were found. 23 were killed by firearms and 25 were poisoned. These suicides were ordered by the leaders of the sect Ordre Du Temple Solaire. The suicide act was supposed to have carried the members of the sect to the planet Sirius. A letter found beside the victims stated, “We are leaving this land to find a new dimension of truth and absolution, far from the hypocrisy of this world.”
On March 26, 1997 39 members of the sect WW Higher Source committed suicide in the millionaire community of Rancho Santa Fe in California under the direction of leader Marshall Applewhite.
On March 18, 2000 in a village Southwest of Kampala in Uganda, about 600 members of the sect the Ten Commandments of God committed suicide.
And, here in our own dear land of Nigeria, thousands have been killed by boko haram in the named of religion. Yesterday, it was reported that tens of persons have died in a religious camp in Anambra.
CASER has observed a pattern that whenever a people abandon themselves to religion, the government happily chooses to shirk and abdicate its responsibilities of protecting the people from both physical and mental harm. Nothing in Nigeria is so dangerous to National security than religion yet, a government, thinking its citizens are being kept busy from protests and riots, is happy and doesn’t care about the proselytization the people receive until there comes a harvest of tragedies. Boko haram could have been checked a long time ago if the provision of Section 38 of the Constitution which guarantees freedom of religion was adhered to. The provison guards the citizens against secret cults. The constitution actually contemplated religious bodies with cultic teachings that would ultimately be inimical to security, welfare and the good life of the people.
CASER shall challenge our government and religious institutions to exercise the constitutional right of freedom of religion, thought and conscience, responsibly. Send us what you think. Encourage others to like us on facebook.
Frank Tietie, Esq
Executive Director, CASER