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KATAKWI, Uganda (RNS) — In this remote town in a deeply traditional corner of eastern Uganda, a 27-year-old Pentecostal pastor has been arrested after interceding to stop the medical care of a severely ill 9-year-old girl, telling her parents they should rely on prayer.
The pastor, Richard Asutu of Save Soul International Ministries, has since been released on bond, but the girl remains on the verge of death in a hospital where she was taken three weeks ago after her mother stopped giving her medication and took her to the church for prayers. The child’s father, together with local residents and security officials, intervened to take the girl to the hospital.
Daughter - Floor - Church - Father - Charles
“I was shocked when I found my daughter lying unconscious on the floor of the church,” said the father, Charles Atoro. “He accused us for failing to believe in God when we demanded that he release my daughter.”
Asutu appeared steadfast when he was released earlier this month. “It’s time that we should believe in the power of God,” he said. “How can you take medicines when you are born again? That’s a lack of faith and you can even end up dying. Jesus healed people only through prayers.”
Asutu - Church - Leaders - East - Africa
Asutu is one of many church leaders in this East Africa nation who choose faith over medicine.
“We have lost thousands of people in this country because of fake preachers who claim to talk with God through visions,” said Robert Ibwala, a local government official who oversees Katakwi. “They have misguided our people and we are going to close such churches because the government does not allow individual groups to practice religious cults.”
Years - Government - Members - Groups - Children
In recent years, the government has arrested members of religious groups for refusing to allow their children to participate in a government immunization program or refusing to be counted in a government census....
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