A meeting of the Liberian Council of Churches issued a statement saying that ‘God is angry with Liberia, and that 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’.
However, bishop Sumoward Harris, now retired from Liberia’s Lutheran Church, told Religion News Service that Ebola is not a judgement. ‘I don’t think God is angry and is issuing a punishment,’ he said.
In Sierra Leone, the Religious Leaders Task Force on Ebola, chaired by United Methodist bishop John Yambasu, is providing training and educational materials to help stop the spread of the disease.
Bishop Yambasu said: ‘Ebola does not discriminate. Its victims are Christians and Muslims, saved and unsaved, sinners and saints. Its victims are the educated and the illiterates, rich and poor. This is not the time for blame, nor is it a time for denial. It is a time for action.’
A number of missionaries and aid workers have contracted the virus. Two American missionaries, Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol, fell ill in Sierra Leone but later recovered in the US. Spanish missionary priest Miguel Pajares caught the disease in Liberia and was flown to Madrid for treatment, but later died.
The first British victim of Ebola, nurse William Pooley, worked for Christian charity The Shepherd’s Hospice Sierra Leone (TSHSL) before moving to a government hospital in Kenema in response to the outbreak. ‘I’m not particularly experienced or skilled, but I can do the job and I am actually helping,’ Pooley said in an interview with blogger Jo Dunlop.