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Jesus Christians

Woman Says She’s Not Held Against Her Will
Betty Njoroge, speaking from a hiding place somewhere in Kenya, says she has not been kidnapped, is not being held against her will, and that imprisoned Jesus Christians missionary Roland Gianstefani has nothing to do with her disappearance. [csr 4.3 2005]

“This is a trumped-up charge,” she said in a newspaper interview, fostered by her wealthy parents, who think she’s been brainwashed “to force me to come out in the open and give up my son” in exchange for Gianstefani’s freedom. She added that she and her son just want to practice their faith and live in peace. “That would be true freedom to me.” [csr 4.3 2005]

Jesus Christians leader Dave McKay, speaking from Sydney, Australia, said that members, pledged to live in poverty, had stretched their finances to pay Gianstefani’s $15,000 bail. Jesus Christians are known for donating their kidneys, through hospitals, to those in need. (Tanya Giles, Herald Sun, Australia, Internet, 7/12/05; AAP in Sydney Morning Herald, 7/19/05) [csr 4.3 2005]

Local Rep Held in Alleged Disappearance
Kenyan police have charged Jesus Christians missionary Roland Gianstefani with abducting a Nairobi woman and her son, as well as for hawking books — religious material in his case — without a license. In July 2000, Gianstefani and his wife received a suspended six-month jail sentence from a British court for refusing to reveal the whereabouts of a teenage boy whom authorities believe the Jesus Christians kidnapped and brainwashed.[csr 4.3 2005]

Australia-based Dave McKay, saying he is the founder and leader of Jesus Christians, protested the jailing of Gianstefani, the group’s representative in Kenya, who has now been released on bail. McKay said Gianstefani had been held “hostage” by authorities because the woman’s family was angry she had joined the cult. [csr 4.3 2005]

The woman’s mother said her daughter and grandson were last seen with a white couple at a secluded cybercafé. The mother believes that her daughter, who “was very adamant and violent the last time we were together,” has been drugged by her “captors.” (Mugo Njeru and Fred Mukinda, Daily Nation, Kenya, Internet, 6/27/05; Tanya Giles, Herald Sun, Australia, Internet, 6/30/05) [csr 4.3 2005]

Kidneys as “Living Sacrifices” to God
Members of the Jesus Christians, in Australia, have donated their kidneys as “living sacrifices” to people needing transplants who were unrelated to the donors, thus breaking a law that prohibits such donations by any but family members, friends, or those with an emotional connection to the recipient. The law aims to prevent the development of a black market in organs. [csr 3.3 2004]

Jesus Christians leader Dave McKay, who said the group wanted to relieve the suffering of people with kidney disease, cited the Apostle Paul’s urging Romans to present their bodies as “living sacrifices.” He added that the Jesus Christians had arranged two kidney donations in Australia, one in Israel, and nine in the U.S.[csr 3.3 2004]

Health Minister Bronwyn Pike worries that vulnerable cult members might be pressured to provide kidneys without fully understanding the consequences. (Tanya Giles, Herald Sun, Internet, 7/6/04) [csr 3.3 2004]

Official Approval Likely
The state of New South Wales Health Department has drafted a policy that would allow kidney donations to any person if the donor’s motives are “genuine” and he or she has not been coerced. The agency said it would investigate any suspicious donations in light of the existence of a “small but significant” group of potential donors who have personality disorders. (AAP in The Age, Australia, Internet, 7/7/04) [csr 3.3 2004]