Banana sex cult highlights New Guinea’s “cargo” religions

ARE SOME RELIGIONS MORE bizarre than others, or are their eccentricities merely in the eye of the beholder? A recent scandal surrounding a sex cult in the Republic of Papua New Guinea puts this question to the test.


New Guinea goes bananas

According to an article in the Papua New Guinea Post-Courier dated September 11, 2009, police have broken up an animistic cult in Morobe Province in the east of the country. For the past four months, a charismatic leader and his followers had been engaging in full frontal nudity and sexual intercourse in public places and had been terrorizing the local population into joining in. Workers at nearby industrial sites reported widescale nakedness in nearby towns. When a local official, who had been imprisoned by the cult members and threatened with death for over a month, escaped and reported these goings on to the authorities, the police came onto the scene and hauled in some of the leaders. According to a later report from the London Telegraph, the unclothed cult leader was surrounded in his hut last Saturday, but then took off for the woods with seven stark naked companions, using his two wives as human shields. They are all still at large.

Why would anyone go along with such a thing? It seems that the area where these events took place is located far from government administration. Public services in this desperately poor region are virtually non-existent. That was the cult leader’s big chance…



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