A Trap Set For Catholic Conservatives

Any story about my dalliance as a member of the American Christian right must begin with a general account of the rise of Christianity in Nigeria. It is a rise inextricably linked to the ugly twinned histories of slavery and colonialism in the country. The first Christian missionaries to set foot in what is now known as Nigeria were the Portuguese in the 1400s. (They are responsible for the name of Nigeria’s most populous city, Lagos). But it was British abolitionists who would help foment the ascendancy of Christianity in Nigeria, particularly in the Southern and Western regions in the 1800s. Samuel Ajayi Crowther, the first Nigerian to be ordained as an Anglican bishop, was kidnapped by Portuguese settlers in the 1800s and later freed by the British, who then sent him to England where he converted to Christianity.

Crowther returned to Nigeria to make new disciples and was the first person to translate the Bible into Yoruba, my father’s language. Over the course of a century, Christian missionaries from various denominations — Anglican, Catholic, Methodist — built schools and hospitals all over the country. Now Nigeria is home to the largest number of Christians in Africa, as well as an equally dominant Muslim population, who are mainly located in the northern part of the country. Religious skirmishes are not infrequent — Boko Haram, which subscribes to a particularly militant (and some would say actually non-Islamic) interpretation of Islamic law, is proof of this tension.

My father grew up baptist in Kano. My mother’s people, who are of Urhobo origin, were for a time members of the Celestial Church of Christ, famous for requiring all its members to dress in white and for some creepy, cultlike beliefs. She became a Christian in college, where my parents met while my father was studying to be a medical doctor and my mother was getting a degree in English. They started dating; my father got a visa to do more medical training in Britain. After marrying, my mother joined him. My twin sister and I were born shortly after.

My father moved us all to Gambia when my sister and I were 4. Though it is a majority Muslim nation, we attended church weekly and left school early on Friday so Muslim staff at our private school could say their evening prayers. We would come to America for occasional visits to see family in Ohio, and eventually we moved there for a year.

Because of the lack of media outlets (there was one television station) and public infrastructure in Gambia, my sister and I often consumed dubbed versions of whatever films and random TV shows our parents had seen fit to bring back with them from the US. And so we read a lot of The Baby-Sitters Club books and watched a recorded VHS of The Sound of Music that ended when the Von Trapps take refuge in the convent, which meant that my childhood version of the film was a lot darker than many others. We also listened to a lot of contemporary Christian music, or CCM. Artists like Amy Grant, Steven Curtis Chapman, and Jaci Velasquez were well played on our CD players. We had videos of Christian educational paraphernalia like the Donut Repair Club (there’s a hole in everyone’s heart, like a doughnut, that only Jesus can fill!) and Psalty, the freakish Barney-indebted anthropomorphic Bible that sang Christian music geared toward children. Music selections from Hillsong, the juggernaut Australian church and music publishing company, were on regular rotation during the praise and worship portions of our church service.

Source : https://www.buzzfeed.com/tomiobaro/i-used-to-be-a-conservative-evangelical-now-i-see-theyre

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