"Miracle babies" pastor to be extradited

Pastor Gilbert DeyaThe BBC reports: ‘Miracle babies’ pastor to be extradited to Kenya:

An evangelist who claimed to have created miraculous pregnancies through prayer is to be sent back to Kenya to face child abduction charges.

I wonder, did Pastor Gilbert Deya really claim to have created something? Or did he claim that God did something in response to his prayer, and were his words misrepresented by a sub-editor?

The report continues:

Infertile or post-menopausal women who attended his church in Peckham, South London were told they would be having “miracle” babies.

But the babies were always “delivered” in backstreet clinics in Nairobi. …

“The couple went to Africa, came back into the country with a child that the authorities found out was not theirs through a DNA test.”

Pastor Deya’s response:

The miracle babies which are happening in our ministry are beyond human imagination.

It is not something I can say I can explain because they are of God and things of God cannot be explained by a human being.

Well, God can do miracles like this, and if he creates a baby it doesn’t have to have its parents’ DNA. After all, on the orthodox Christian understanding of the Virgin Birth Jesus must have had different DNA from his single biological parent – but, as I argued a few years ago, there may be more to that story than meets the eye.

But the evidence in this case seems to suggest that the babies in fact came from Kenyans unrelated to the childless couples. The child abduction charges are arguably not serious because the real mothers were very likely willing to give up their children for adoption, although clearly the legal formalities were not completed. What is serious, although perhaps not technically criminal, is the way in which Pastor Deya apparently deceived people into believing in miracles.

I know some of my readers here think that I believe too easily in claims of miracles made by preachers and evangelists. What I have always said is that we should look for evidence, and that if none is available either way we should not reject the claims of our Christian brothers and sisters or call them liars. In this case, however, there does seem to be clear evidence of deception. And so it is right that the minister be discredited, and be punished for his criminal activities.

4 thoughts on “"Miracle babies" pastor to be extradited

  1. I’m a bit confused. Are women so desperate for children, so ignorant about the birthing process, or so blinded by faith as to not understand whether or not they’ve actually delivered a baby?

  2. Jenny, I’m confused too. But one of the older reports linked to at the BBC site suggested that the women were taken to a clinic and given drugs to mimic labour pains and perhaps to put them to sleep, so they actually thought they had given birth while not actually remembering it. Presumably that would be illegal medical practice, although rules may be less tight in Kenya.

  3. Peter, “hard cases make bad law.” And worse theology.

    I personally reserve judgment on cases like these. Until more facts are in. These cases can turn up uglier or less ugly than the news reports. It’s a sport among bibliobloggers to read the news. And pontificate. It’s a long way from a news flash (to sell news) to learning all the facts. Or to learning enough facts.

    For example —

    If a smuggling ring is discovered (facts not speculation), then how far up does this ring go? How many in the ring contributed to the ‘miracle’ sales-jobs of lies? How guilty of ‘conspiracy’ might parents be who felt inner suspicions and who turned a blind eye because they wanted a baby? Is there really a market for babies in the UK where desirous infertile parents are so desperate in hope for a child that they will participate in fraud?

    What are Kenyan motivations? Any Kenyan officials on the take? How about Kenyan hospital officials not on the take, but looking for illegal (more efficient) ways to overcome costly international adoption procedures where dropping babies in back streets for pick ups is just the ticket? How efficient or inefficient are Kenyan international adoptions? How filled with fraud and graft? What’s the ‘real’ cost of Kenyan international adoptions? – after figuring for under-the-table payoffs? Is the system of legal international adoptions from Kenya more ethical and more moral than this kind of ‘miracle’ practice?

    If God really wanted to do a miracle for Kenyan cast-off babies, would God cooperate with legal means in Kenya? What’s the status of other civil disobedience and other underground railroads (say moral ones – really motivated by God) to scuttle unwanted babies out of Kenya and into adoptions? What does God see of the economic future in Kenya for Kenyan unmarried moms and their babies?

    As far as miracle-gullibility is concerned, just how parsimonious in inference-making should we be?

    A million questions.

    These cases aren’t cases for quick judgments.

    They are cases for a thousand questions. About where God really is in larger matrix.


  4. Jim, I agree we should not be hasty in judgment. But no one has been. This case has been argued in British and Kenyan courts for years. I agree that Deya should not be judged too harshly for matching desperate parents with unwanted children even if this circumvents bureaucratic adoption laws. But, if the facts as reported are correct, he deceived people by setting up fake miracles. This alone is for me enough to condemn him.

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