Pentecostal Christians in Australia are setting fire to Aboriginal artifacts because they believe they represent "satanic" worship. A preacher, Ana Makahununiu, from Tonga, arrived in northwestern Australia in 2015. Since her arrival, Makahununiu has been behind increasing tension between Christian missionaries and Aboriginal communities.
Makahununiu currently lives in Sydney and preaches at a Pentecostal church. She earns money through a variety of cash-paid jobs because her current visa status prevents her from legally working. Before living in Sydney, Makahununiu lived in Kimberly for three years among the remote Aboriginal communities there. While there she preyed upon the local Aborigines' vices, like drinking, smoking, and drug use. She convinced them that this was "satanic" behavior and that they needed Jesus.
The followers she swayed in the Wangkatjungka community paid for her food and accommodations for three years so she could stay with them.
Aboriginal communities have historically suffered from low-income and a lack of governmental support. Makahununiu preyed on them and lived as a free-loader for at least three years.
On top of all that, she has convinced the Aborigines who fell under her spell to destroy their own heritage. Members of these communities who converted to Christianity under Makahununiu have been hard at work starting fires, and destroying various cultural objects and locations with significance to the tribes.
Makahununiu now plans to return to the Kimberly region with a squad of Christian missionaries from Sydney so they can further support Christian converts in destroying "satanic" Aboriginal cultural objects and sites.
In the town of Port Hedland, church elder Kenneth Chihwayi told reporters that Aboriginal culture cannot coexist with Christianity. "We don't touch on their culture, but you'll find that slowly, slowly they will stop their culture, because there are some bad things in their culture which do not meet with the Christian faith," he said.
Among the more outspoken of Makahununiu's critics are Labor Senator Pat Dodson. He says that Makahununiu and preachers like her are "a type of virus that has really got no credibility. If they really understood the gospel then the gospel is about liberation."
Speaking about the dangers of misleading poor and mistreated people with promises of prayer solving their problems, Dodson said, "It is about getting effective, real education into these locations. At the end of the day, it's about strengthening leadership, and the leaders getting supported in their stands for what they understand and know are true to their cultures and societies."
Hopefully leaders like Dodson can reach out to these communities before Makahununiu, and other insidious preachers like her, do too much further damage to these people. This is the kind of madness that religion inspires in people.