While no connection between the INC and the murder has been officially drawn, the victims were all critical of the church. The Church also lodged libel cases against journalists investigating the incident, who questioned why a church had a private armoury in the first place. For instance, government inquiries into church affairs in resulted in the INC mobilizing thousands of followers to occupy a busy highway in Manilla in protest, severely hampering business as usual in the capital. To a certain degree, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte is beholden to the INC, as the church endorsed him during the presidential election.
By itself such an endorsement would not mean much, but given the fact that INC members engage in bloc-voting, securing the votes of millions of INC followers can clinch victory in a close fought election. Consequently, it should come as no surprise that each of the five candidates running for president in individually visited Manalo to secure his endorsement. In , Manalo also received a host of other prominent visitors, including the ambassadors of Israel, Australia, New Zealand and Russia all of whom had come to congratulate Manalo on the seventh anniversary of his rise to executive minister.
Such an appointment is unprecedented as former INC leaders have made conscious efforts to keep the church out of political matters. Despite such statements, Samson and other critics of Manalo maintain that the move reeks of cronyism. Iglesia Ni Cristo desire to control everything threatens African societies.
The more influence the INC gains in the political realm, the more it is increasingly becoming a parallel source of power within the Philippines. Already exempt from any extensive oversight and with close ties to security services, the INC is free to acquire interests in a range of areas. Take the case of the media: not content with the fact that 63 radio stations and almost three hundred TV channels broadcast INC programming, the church has sought to create its own media infrastructure.
With control over both content and distribution, the INC has more power than ever to control its media narrative.
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Controlling the media its adherents consume, and the services which they use, the INC is seeking total control over its followers. Touted as a means to aid the local poor by creating jobs and boosting food production, the commune near Ladybrand primarily provides food, employment, education and even housing for INC members.
The INC is also spending millions of Rand to build a church on a hectare plot in Ladybrand surrounded by an electric fence. Iglesia Ni Cristo also adheres to conservative notions regarding dress and relations between the sexes. One local Ladybrand resident experienced this first hand after attending an INC service. We did not have access to the rest of the congregation, and there was a high empty chair next to every female congregation member.
We could only see [the pastor] preach on an electronic screen.
The creation of various religious communes in the Philippines and around world centralize all the daily needs of followers in one spot, thus minimizing the need for the INC faithful to interact with the wider world. Writing under the pseudonym Malaya dela Cruz in the the Rappler, one young INC member accuses the church of caring more about itself than in helping people in general. This insular attitude poses a serious threat to civil societies across Africa, many of whom are already undermined by their respective governments. The growth of a church that preaches withdrawal and passivity will only undermine local efforts to foster civic engagement and hold the powers that be to account.
What began as the idea of one Filipino man over a century ago has since mushroomed into a global megachurch, spanning over a hundred countries and boasting millions of devout supporters. Iglesia Ni Cristo has become a political and religious force to be reckoned with, in some instances acting as a king-maker in Filipino politics due to the bloc-voting of its adherents. Neither ordinary followers nor members of the Manalo family have been spared by successive purges, interrogation, and even murder. Already established in the West, the INC is now directing its focus on Africa, representing the latest wave of foreign missionaries to interact with the continent.
As more INC congregations are founded across the region, there is increasing evidence that the church has imported its secretive and domineering attitudes to Africa as well. The growth of isolationist agricultural communes in South Africa and beyond represent a real threat, not only to social cohesion, but also to the efforts of local populations to organize for change.
Behind the veneer of charity fun runs and potlucks, the INC harbours a sinister side that has sent a number of critics into exile - or the grave. Jeremy Luedi. No comments:. Newer Post Older Post Home. Subscribe to: Post Comments Atom. My Blog List. Catholic and Enjoying It! Happy Catholic. Facing Islam Blog.
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Davies's words, for he knew the latter. He appreciated their kindness more than he could express. He wf; s greatly touched by this far, tber evidence of their affection, on which he set. The people of St.
Helen's Ward had always been kind to him; and this was the. Davies said that lie had struck a number of "snags" in recent years which had, however, neither bent no? He was not yet broken, and still found t h' people of Swansea the kindest he had ever met.
Again thanking- eyeryone, Mr. Hemmings, who' prese?? David Davies with a beautiful writing-case, as a token of their very best affection. She said that Mrs.
Davies was "a wonderful woman" whom everybody she worked with. Hemmings and every- one for their kindness, although she said ;-he would never care to be a member of Pa rtiame-it. Percy Williams verjf artistically reh- de"cd n song. The M. W Gardner and D. Squires, while Mr. Bert Le-wis was the pianist. The prizes for the whist drive, which were presented to the winners by Mr. David Davies, were goner- olasly givt? Davies, Mrs.