The Ebola pandemic — which has killed 887 in West Africa including 255 in Liberia — has terrified people so much that some local leaders discern divine meaning in it. According to Front Page Africa and the Daily Observer, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf called on Tuesday for all residents to fast for three days and pray for forgiveness.
“Relying on His divine guidance for our survival as a nation,” she announced, “I call on all Liberians to observe three days of national fast and prayer to seek God’s face to have mercy on us and forgive our sins and heal our land, Liberia, as we continue to fight against the deadly Ebola virus.”
That followed a recent recommendation by the Liberian Council of Churches, which said in a statement last week the outbreak has Biblical implications. “God is angry with Liberia,” the religious leaders said, according to the Daily Observer. “Ebola is a plague. Liberians have to pray and seek God’s forgiveness over the corruption and immoral acts (such as homosexualism, etc.) that continue to penetrate our society. As Christians, we must repent and seek God’s forgiveness.”
The statement then urged people to stay home. But while it would seem an intuitive method of controlling the disease, the act of staying put, according to Reuters, can mean medical workers and patients fail to show up at clinics, frustrating overtaxed government agencies with few resources to combat what’s now a full-blown pandemic. Many Liberians remain deeply distrustful of Western medicine, and don’t want to go to the hospital if they start feeling unwell, reported Reuters’s Clair MacDougall and Daniel Flynn.
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