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Re: Rescued Survivors Lives in Danger - Refusing Meals
Posted by: kithi ()
Date: October 22, 2023 08:49AM


In 2019, Kenya adopted Huduma Namba, a biometric ID system. Mackenzie saw in the Huduma Namba the “Mark of the Beast” of the Book of Revelation in the Bible, echoing conspiracy theories criticizing other chip-based ID system common among fundamentalist Christians in the U.S. and elsewhere. This led Mackenzie to be arrested and accused of operating a “cult” and “brainwashing” his followers. He was released and decided to retreat to the remote Shakahola forest area. If the current accusations are true, his would be a textbook case of amplification of deviance.

At that time, Mackenzie was supported by other Kenyan churches and pastors, most of whom did not agree with his theology and theories but saw in his arrest a violation of religious liberty. Among them were the Jesus Christians, members of an Australian-based conservative Christian movement, which has had for many years a presence in Kenya, although they made it clear that Mackenzie’s religious ideas were very much different from their own.

Mackenzie and his wife tried in court in 2018 (they were at that time declared innocent). Screenshot.
Mackenzie and his wife tried in court in 2018 (they were at that time declared innocent). Screenshot.
Appreciating their support, Mackenzie invited a lay member of the Jesus Christians to speak at one of his meetings. Coincidentally, when news about the incident in Kenya broke out, I was in Australia visiting the Jesus Christians. I could thus hear directly from them the story of how they met Mackenzie in 2019. They did not hear from him any theories about radical fasting or the virtue of starving themselves to death.

The Jesus Christians, on the other hand, are well-known critics of China, and listened with sympathy to arguments that Chinese technology was used for the chip-based ID documents in Kenya, within the framework of relationships between China and Kenya and other African countries they were not alone in seeing as too strict and dangerous.

The Jesus Christians have their enemies as well. It would of course be preposterous to attack them based on the fact that, like several other religionists in Kenya, they regarded the 2019 arrest of Mackenzie over his anti-Huduma-Namba criticism as a threat to religious liberty, and accepted an invitation to speak at an event organized by Good News International Church.

Mackenzie may be or not be guilty of manslaughter or homicide by preaching fasting to death. If he is, it is important to point out that neither dozens of Branhamite churches throughout the world, whatever one may think of their theology, nor the Jesus Christians and others who protested Mackenzie’s arrest in 2019 with arguments of religious liberty, were involved in his preaching about extreme fasting.

While principles of freedom of religion or belief cannot protect Mackenzie if he really led his disciples to death by starvation, they should protect organizations that had in the past relations with Good News International Church—but never had anything to do with its real or alleged theology of fasting—from obnoxious accusations of guilt by association.

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