In search of the ancient altars: Rejecting the Israel roots and welcoming the Afro roots
The spiritual meaning of the visit of Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in Bahia, Brazil
By Julio Severo
A US Secretary of State holds a privileged role that lets him take important decisions in the foreign policy issues. For instance, if he decides that Israel should turn its lands over to Palestinian Arabs, that determination should be met, with heavy pressure on Israel to fulfil the American whims.
Who fills this role today is Condoleezza Rice, the daughter of a Presbyterian minister. In spite of having lived in an evangelical environment, with many sermons, her foreign policy attitudes toward Israel do not reflect and respect the borders established by God for the Promised Land that God assured to the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
According to the Rice policy, Israel and Jerusalem may be divided with Palestinian Arabs, severely infringing the ancient roots and covenants of the Jewish people with God, but she does not have demonstrated the same attitude to infringe the ancient African roots and covenants. At least, this is what we saw in her recent trip to Bahia, Brazil, on 13-14 March 2008.
Wherever she goes, Rice is received with many protests. Yet, her trip to Bahia was oddly peaceful. There were no anti-American protests. In fact, the left-wingers that were with her — Marta Suplicy and Jaques Wagner, both members of the Workers’ Party (whose Portuguese acronym is PT) — were extremely gracious. It is a wonder (unless there are strong interests involved) how they managed to hold their usual anti-American feelings.
Pro-abortion Suplicy, the Tourism Minister in the Lula administration, studied in Harvard and she is the first Brazilian politician to introduce a same-sex domestic partnership bill in the Brazilian Congress. Wagner is the Bahia governor. Their strong interests were to draw and increase the number of Afro-American tourists to know African roots in Bahia, which is the Brazilian state that has most preserved a syncretism with African religions. And from Bahia the gods of those religions spread throughout Brazil, hitting Blacks and whites.
I could say, by the experience of millions in Africa and Brazil, that the occultist religions of African origin bring spiritual and material misery, but I do not need to use the experience of others. In my freedom to give a Gospel witness, I can say that the Afro religions bring destruction, because my mother used to follow those religions and she even worked as the assistant of a Black female priest. By experience we knew what defeat was in all aspects, but Jesus delivered her in a charismatic Baptist church, and her children got the opportunity to get delivered from the Afro-Brazilian witchcraft chains.
Therefore, as a man that knew by experience the Afro spiritual roots, living in a home consecrated to orishas, I can warn that it is a deadly danger to seek approximation to any contact point with orishas.
The first contact point of Condoleezza Rice happened in her arrival at Bahia, where an Afro-Brazilian female offered her religious ribbons in several colors. The Bahia woman said, “She liked, chose a red ribbon and insisted upon making her spiritual requests, following the tradition of the Bahia culture”. The red ribbon was tied on Rice’s left fist. In Candomblé, the red color has connection to Iansã, the powerful orisha (demon) of storms.
Rice came especially to discuss the program to encourage the Afro-ethnic tourism in Bahia. This program has been elaborated since 2007 by the ministry of Marta Suplicy and the Bahia government. Jaques Wagner, the Bahia governor, declared, “Our objective was to have the support from the US Secretary of State, especially because she is Black, for our tourism projects, enlarging the flow of American Black visitors to our state, because they have interest in the cultural roots of African origin”. These projects, which have already received about 700,000 dollars in investments, were inspired by the increasing interest from Afro-Americans to know places in the world with strong African roots. Bahia is the appropriate place, because its capital city, Salvador, has not only many of its streets named after African orishas, but 82% of its 2.9 million dwellers are Black. Salvador is considered as the largest Black city outside Africa.
Yet, no one discerned better the importance of the Rice trip than the Minister of Culture, Gilberto Gil. He declared, “The coming of Condoleezza Rice to Bahia was above all the visit of an African descendant to an important cradle of the Black Diaspora, a personal visit, which is beyond her work as a US Secretary of State”. He escorted Rice in her entire trip to Bahia.
In a nation where religions like Candomblé are considered culture of African descendants, it is natural for Gilberto Gil to be the Minister of Culture. When the magazine Almanaque Brasil asked him what is to be a minister, Gil answered, “I know what is to be a minister… I have already been the minister of [the orisha] Shango in the temple of Afonjá, in Bahia”. Even though showing deep reverence for orishas, about God Gil declared, “God is a creation of man. He is the creator created by man.”
Gil is also a radical leftist militant. During the time of the anticommunist military government in Brazil, he was banished, living in travels through Europe and US, “suffering” economic comfort. In the same time, Christians persecuted by the leftist ideology were “banished” to Siberia or other prisons and concentration camps, where they lived under tortures and terrors — when they were “lucky” to escape shooting. No one of them “suffered” economic comfort or dreamed about having the privilege of being banished to London or Paris, rich cities that Gil endured by much sacrifice to live in.
So, as a left-winger, it is strange that he welcomed Rice so joyfully, because she is very close to Bush. In fact, in a show of Gil in 2004, a screen behind him showed terrorist communist Che Guevara smoking a cigar and George Bush in the gallows and the following phrase, “Die, Bush, die!” Later, Gil insisted he did not have anything to do with the scene of his show asking for Bush’s death.
However, he was able to put shortly aside his anti-American stances so that the spirituality of Bahia might spread to North America. That opportunity took place with the official interest of Rice to facilitate the tourism of Black Americans in Bahia to know the African roots. What is the gap between Black Americans and Black Brazilians?
In an interview to the liberal paper Folha de S. Paulo, anthropologist Antonio Risério complains about the “spiritual killing of Africans in the US”. He declared, “If what happened in the US had happened in Brazil and Cuba, we would have today no orisha in the whole territorial expanse of the American continent”.
The fundamental difference between Blacks in Brazil and Blacks in the US is orishas.
Brazil has an abundance of (Black and white) followers of the Afro-Brazilian syncretistic religions and their gods. Cuba has Santeria, the religion of Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez, similar to Candomblé. Yet, phenomenally, the descendants of Black slaves in the US do not have any heritage like Candomblé, voodoo or Santeria
There were many African slaves in the past of America, but their spirituality from Africa — with all their orishas, gods and demons — collapsed before the Christian culture of Americans. Contrary reality happened in Brazil, where the spirituality of Africans intermixed with the weak and sick spirituality of Portuguese.
To strengthen that spirituality among Blacks in Bahia, Gilberto Gil has traveled to Africa, getting in touch with important priests. No one better than him to help Rice and many other Black Americans to find certain “roots”. And no place better to show those roots than Bahia.
However, if even Rice, the daughter of an evangelical minister, was not able to see the peril of her contacts with orishas, how will crowds of Afro-American tourists be able to see it? Probably, many will think it as mythology, or actually as “culture”, and only too late they will discover that they touched much more powerful and evil forces. The book The Twilight Labyrinth: Why does spiritual darkness linger where it does?, by George Otis (Chosen Books: Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1997), shows how witchcraft objects, practices and customs may bring destructive forces on individuals, families and whole societies.
There is no need to know the contact of Rice with Iansã for a discernment that something is wrong in her Christian life. Her foreign policy toward Israel discloses serious inadequacies in her own Christianity.
Ronald Reagan, as a Christian and US president, had always been opposed to the establishment of a Palestinian state within the Israel lands, and he had never accepted the possibility of Jerusalem being divided with Palestinian Arabs. Yet, Rice has different and contrary views in those two issues, and those views are determining and forcing Israel to make concessions against its divinely legitimate right to occupy the lands that its deadly enemies reclaim with all the forces of Hell.
Other Afro-American evangelicals have taken more radical stances against Israel, as the Black evangelical church of the presidential hopeful Barack Obama, which supports a terrorist manifesto not acknowledging the right for Israel to exist and favoring anti-Israel terror groups. But the US liberal media does not condemn radical Blacks, even when is necessary, because the anti-prejudice ideology turns minorities into untouchable castes. If a white man said just half of their follies, he would instantly be labeled a Nazi criminal. Yet, the multiculturalism fad hinders the same standard to be applied to minorities, leaving them unpunished — through a politically correct immunity — in their own racial radicalism.
The biggest tragedy is not when satanists do Satan’s will, but when individuals from a Christian background do it. It is natural when Satanists, Muslims and even atheists want to divide the Promised Land between Jews and Palestinian Arabs. But is it natural for Christians to have the same feelings?
It is especially strange the daughter of an evangelical minister having this kind of stance. In fact, Rice sees herself as reluctantly or mildly pro-abortion — as if it were possible also, for instance, for somebody to be reluctantly or mildly Satanist or killer.
When a Christian habitually errs, the only remedy is for him to open himself to be touched by the Holy Spirit. After years of policies adverse to Israel in her tenure, it is doubtful that Rice is being able to open herself to God. That spiritual gap has been a breach for spiritual influences seeking to affect more Rice and, consequently, the US foreign policy — especially regarding to Israel.
In Bahia, Rice visited a Candomblé temple, considered a Brazilian national cultural heritage. That is, she entered a place consecrated for the worship and manifestation of orishas. She also played pandeiro with Gilberto Gil. It is not known what song Gil played, but what is known is that he is a composer of Afro-Brazilian songs. He is the author of the songs Iemanjá and Iansã, in tribute to two powerful orishas of the Afro-Brazilian “culture”.
By coincidence, besides the Iansã ribbon, which she received in her arrival at Bahia, before her departure Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice received an Iansã statue. That entity — greatly adored in Candomblé and considered goddess in the African culture Yoruba — is the Lady of winds, thunders and storms. Rice’s foreign policy toward Israel has been in turmoil. Now, to turn it into a storm, a touch from Iansã is enough.
Rice’s example shows what may happen to the Black Americans coming to Bahia in search of their roots. They will come loaded with money and curiosity and return overloaded by the “culture” of Iansã and other orishas, bringing to their homes the same gods responsible for many of the miseries and poverty Rice saw in Bahia.
PT, the socialist party controlling Brazil today, preaches much the secular State and even does violence to the Christian values in its abortion and homosexuality promotion — in the name of the secular State. Nothing of this, however, has hindered PT militants Marta Suplicy, Gilberto Gil and Jaques Wagner from helping orishas in the establishment of a bridge between American Blacks and Afro spiritual roots in Bahia.
In fact, even though being anti-American, PT has been importing and amplifying in Brazil the minority ideology from the US. The Brazilian socialist government implements the federal program “Brazil without Homophobia”, whose objective is to eliminate all opposition to homosexuality in the Brazilian society. The Lula administration has been also implementing racial quotas for Blacks and it has even a Special Secretariat for the Political Promotion of Racial Equality, whose first Secretary, Afro-Brazilian Matilde Ribeiro, declared, “I think it is natural the discrimination by Blacks against white people”. She was never rebuked for such racist declaration, but months later she fell because of financial corruption.
In Brazil, Christians have been facing persecution because of the state support for the Black “culture”. Christian books exposing African witchcraft and animal (and sometimes even human) sacrifices are banished, condemned as racist literature. There are examples of important Christian books being removed from the market because they denounced the witchcraft of the Afro religions in Brazil.
American socialism brought to Brazil the racial-equality ideology, which has been protecting the African witchcraft as culture. Any criticism to that “culture” is considered crime of racism. In her visit to Brazil, Rice signed treaties to strengthen the fight against the discrimination against Blacks — meaning more protection for their “culture”. Now, in return, Brazilian socialism is going to inject that “culture” in the US Blacks (and whites).
According to the Bible, Rice got involved with demons in Bahia. According to Brazilian socialist officials, she just had a “cultural” involvement. But, perceiving or not, she has collaborated for the spreading of the Bahia gods to America.
Even not knowing Christ deeply, some past important US officials had more sense than Rice does. After defeating Japan on the World War 2, General Douglas MacArthur challenged US evangelical missionaries to take the opportunity to evangelize Japan. He was trying to build a bridge of spiritual transformation between the US and Japan.
The attitude of Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice encouraging Black Americans to find their spiritual roots in Bahia is also building a spiritual bridge. From the viewpoint of the diversity and multiculturalism ideology, the spiritual actions of MacArthur and Rice have the same value. But on the God’s Word scale, only covenants and roots with Christ bring live, not destruction.
A true Christian, being or not a US Secretary of State, does not help orishas destroy people, but helps people to get delivered from orishas. It was this way, by the assistance of Christians showing a true Gospel witness, my mother knew Jesus, was delivered from orishas and was changed into a new creature. I thank God because in her life the power of the Holy Spirit prevailed over orishas. If it were not the Gospel power, I could be today one of the millions of slaves of that spiritual heritage from Africa.
Portuguese version of this article: Em busca dos altares antigos: Rejeitando as raízes de Israel e acolhendo as raízes afros