In a bizarre story out of South Africa this week, a preacher is instructing his congregation to eat grass to be “closer to God” and then reportedly walks across their backs as they lay sprawled out on the ground.
Pastor Lesego Daniel of Rabboni Centre Ministries has drawn criticism from a huge array of people, although many of his followers swear by his methods. Daniel claims that humans can survive on anything they choose to put into their bodies, and the grass eating is apparently used as a testimony to that.
“Yes, we eat grass and we’re proud of it because it demonstrates that, with God’s power, we can do anything,” Rosemary Phetha told South Africa’s Times Live.
Phetha, 21-year-old law student, claims she’s had a sore throat for more than a year, but it was miraculously healed after eating the grass.
Doreen Kgatle, 27, suffered a stroke two years ago. “I could not walk but soon after eating the grass, as the pastor had ordered, I started gaining strength and an hour later I could walk again,” said Kgatle.
Photos on the Rabboni Centre Ministries Facebook page show followers eating grass as well as Pastor Daniel walking across their backs as they lay spread out on the ground.
Curiously, there are also numerous photos that show dozens of people getting sick, vomiting in the toilets, and women clutching their stomachs while running to the bathrooms. Why these photos were included on the church’s Facebook page is not known.
Not surprisingly, the pastor’s actions during the service prompted a significant online backlash.
“Is this a scene in a movie…this can’t be real. God created animals to chew grass and made human beings to dominate over animals,” one outraged commenter said. “Any person who reduces human beings to animals is definitely not of God.”
“Why is he stepping on people? This is inhumane. Shocking,” another wrote.
The act of walking over the congregants was apparently an example of Pastor Daniel’s power over them.
The Times Live reported that during a service, Daniel screamed “Sleep!” and six people went to sleep.
He ordered other congregants to slap and trample on them, but the sleepers remain rigid and unresponsive until he ordered them to wake up.
“You can leave them like this for six months. I love this, I don’t want to be bored. You can even make police go to sleep when they come to arrest you,” he said.
Although Daniel has not responded to the backlash, he posted on Facebook that “God is at work and people are testifying right now st (sic) the farm. TO GOD BE THE GLORY.”