Revivalist PNG church says faith healing can cure HIV

Revivalist churches in Papua New Guinea are promoting prayer as a substitute for medication to those with HIV, according to human rights groups.

But The mainstream churches in PNG are working with the United Nations and non-government organisations to help people access services.

Catholic archbishop John Ribat is a member of the Christian Leaders Alliance.

“Our concern as churches is to come together to address this HIV and AIDS and fight against the discrimination that continues to divide us,” he said.

Pastor Godfrey Wippon heads PNG’s Revival Centres and says his is the fastest growing religious movement in the country.

“It is growing because of healings, miracles, wonders, science happening in this ministry. The Lord heals,” he said.

Pastor Wippon believes baptism and prayer can cure AIDS and even bring the dead back to life.

Health workers have told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation that revivalists visit hospitals and clinics telling HIV patients to throw away their medication.

In a case that shocked many, one of PNG’s first openly HIV-positive women, Helen Samilo, fell prey to the revivalist message.

Even though she was working as an advocate for anti-retroviral treatment, Ms Samilo joined a revivalist church, stopped taking medication, and died in August last year.

“It’s just the revival church that told her not to take her medication. They are responsible for her death,” Ms Anton, a friend of Ms Samilo, said.

“It’s just the revival church that told her not to take her medication. They are responsible for her death,” said Margaret Anton, president of Women Affected by HIV/AIDS, PNG.

Pastor Wippon sees Ms Samilo’s death differently.

“She has been healed spiritually. She died physically, naturally. But spiritually she’s right with the Lord,” he said.

Source

News category: Asia Pacific.

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