While the United States makes entertainment out of the undead, missionaries south of the border know a horrific truth: Zombies walk. No, it’s not a Halloween stunt, but a tenet of voodoo: the official religion of Haiti, along with Roman Catholicism. But don’t expect for Haitians to separate the two. “In churches, there’s a lot of syncretism (or the combination of multiple religions),” says David Vanderpool, a missionary and doctor in Haiti. Vanderpool is the founder and CEO of LiveBeyond, a faith-based, humanitarian organization bringing medical and maternal health care, clean water, education, orphan care, community development and the gospel of Jesus Christ to the oppressed in Thomazeau, Haiti.
“Voodoo is the culture, the way they think. They view the world through a lens of voodoo, and it colors what they do, what they see. They bring it unwittingly into the church, and see mainstream denominations as no different from voodoo.” The satanic worship can be traced to colonization when the French demanded African slaves convert to Catholicism. Rather than fully converting, the slaves named their idols after saints, and the worship of the demons was incorporated into the church. For many who visit the churches, it’s difficult to tell the difference between the Catholic Saints and African demons. According to the Associated Press, many of Haiti’s 10 million residents consider themselves followers of both voodoo and Catholicism. FULL REPORT