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No Gay Exorcism Needed Thanks

No Gay Exorcism Needed Thanks

Seen the video? It’s of a “gay exorcism” performed on a 16-year-old boy; he lies writhing on the floor, apparently convulsing as elders of the Manifested Glory Ministries from Bridgeport, Connecticut, attempt to cast out the “homosexual demon” from his body. The Christian Anti Defamation Commission, however, have called this a freedom of religious expression issue. This kind of practice needs to stop, and now.

Here is a clip from the 20 minute video below.

To see the video in full, please click here.

Impressions while watching this? Well, when a woman in the video yells, “Rip-it from his throat!”, or as the minister extols, “Come on, you homosexual demon! You homosexual spirit, we call you out right now! Loose your grip, Lucifer!” and repeatedly calls on the power of “the blood of Jesus” my own blood ran cold.

The ministry originally put this video on YouTube themselves but then removed it, only for it to be copied and capped by various news organizations. The Manifested Glory Ministries told CNN that they allow gay people to come into their church, they “just don’t allow them to come in and continue to live that lifestyle”.

The young man in question, they say, had approached them wanting to be a pastor himself, but knew that with his homosexual feelings that would not possible at the ministry, and that he underwent this “exorcism” voluntarily. The church stand by their purification ceremony (which they personally do not view as an exorcism but rather as a casting out of spirits) which ends in the youth vomiting up bagfuls of bile to chants of “rise up demon” from the congregation.

Rev. Patricia McKinney of the ministry (which lists itself as belonging to no specific denomination) has repeatedly denied claims that the exorcism in any way harmed the young man. There are conflicting reports, also, that suggest the ministry was under the impression that the boy was 18 rather than his actual age, and reiterates that they did not force the youth in question into the exorcism. Indeed, he underwent the exorcism three times at his own request.

But why did he go through that exorcism? Because he believes that homosexuality is sinful. That it is wicked. Now, that’s a religious belief and, as a personal tenet, that’s fine. But one does not just arrive at the conclusion that, in order to deal with homosexual feelings, an exorcism is the answer. Not at 16, and certainly not on your own.

The ministry don’t think they were doing anything wrong. They certainly, I believe, didn’t intend to harm the child in any way. But have they? The experience certainly looks traumatic. The frenetic screams of the pastor, the kid writhing on the floor; at one part it even looks as though the minister is choking the boy and shaking him, something which, if not leaving physical scars, must leave a lasting emotional impression.

Robin McHaelen, executive director of True Colors Inc., a gay youth advocacy group based in Connecticut, even goes on to say that the ministry was actually trying to do the best for the child, “None of the people in this video were intending to hurt this kid… they performed this ritual in an attempt to rid him of feelings that he didn’t want to have.” She clarifies that this is why the video is so disturbing, saying, “I think it’s horrifying.”

The real shock here is that this phenomena of gay “exorcisms”, although highlighted in this most recent video in a way that few are, is not a new circumstance. “This happens all the time” says McHailin.

Wayne Beson’s organisation Truth Wins Out, renowned for campaigning against gay cure therapies, suggests links to the group Exodus International who take a message of being able to cure homosexuals through counseling and reparative techniques throughout America and Europe. If that link were to be proved substantial, the reach of Exodus International would certainly make such exorcism practices even more disturbing, but the group have, to their credit, denounced such practices as this article reports.

The Christian Anti-Defamation Commission, however, have declared that this exorcism is an exercise of “religious liberty”, saying “homosexuals” are “defaming the black church” by calling it abuse. They label the ritual as “prayer” and within the rights of any religious institution.

I sincerely never want anyone to pray for me in that manner, ever. To try and insinuate, as the above article does, that this reaction is homosexuals trying to push their agenda and impinge on religious freedoms is nonsense. This isn’t even about gay rights. This is about responsibility to impressionable young people. Defending this as a religious freedom of expression is actually offensive to those of Faith because it implies that they too would condone such behavior.

This practice is shocking and it needs to stop. There is very little (if any) success rate in “curing” homosexuality, even with methodical counseling and intensive drug therapies. This pseudo-spiritual practice certainly can’t be called a positive or Godly experience.

Shame, embarrassment and self loathing. That is what I imagine this young man is feeling, and what will be indelibly printed upon him for the rest of his life. With lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people proven to be vulnerable in our society, protecting this practice as part of religious freedom is dangerous.

This is not about attacking the positive aspects of religion- they are myriad and should be cherished – but rather about drawing a line and saying no. No to this ignorance that, at its base, reinforces the notion that you can not be gay and be a Christian, which is a fundamental lie, and perhaps in this case this “cleansing” didn’t damage the young man in question, but no doubt it will damage others if this practice is allowed to continue, and perhaps it may even cost them their lives.

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Photo used under the Creative Commons Attribution License, with thanks to Thomas Hawk.

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493 comments

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11:00AM PDT on Aug 6, 2009

Thomas, Thanks for the information! Been a while since I've seen ya around...hope that all is well for you and your family!

10:36PM PDT on Aug 5, 2009

Sorry, here's the link to the story

http://www.cnn.com/2009/HEALTH/08/05/gay.to.straight/index.html

10:34PM PDT on Aug 5, 2009

"You can't refute a personal story," he said, adding that about a third of those
who try to switch their sexual orientation through the group's ministries wind up
doing so.

"We're not talking a light switch that you turn on and off, we're talking about
very deep and complex issues that, I think, take years to resolve."

Though all mainstream health and mental health organizations concluded years ago
that homosexuality is not a mental disorder, the American Psychological Association
formed the task force to work on the report two years ago after noting a resurgence
of groups that identified homosexuality as a defect or spiritual or moral failing.

10:34PM PDT on Aug 5, 2009

"In other words," said Glassgold, "we recommend that psychologists be completely
honest about the likelihood of sexual orientation change, and that they help clients
explore their assumptions and goals with respect to both religion and sexuality."

Alan Chambers, president of Exodus International, a network of more than 250
ministries that he said "reach out to men and women and families that are affected
by what we call 'unwanted same-sex attraction' " disagrees.

He offered himself as proof that such efforts can work. "The fact is that there are
tens of thousands of men and women just like me who once identified as gay," Chambers
said in a telephone interview. "For me and for these people, the truth is change
is possible."

Chambers said his transformation from gay man began more than 18 years ago, when
he attended a support group at the organization he now leads. Chambers, who said
he married a woman nearly 12 years ago, has written a book, "Leaving Homosexuality,"
which was published last month.

10:34PM PDT on Aug 5, 2009

Those few studies that did have "high-quality" evidence "show that enduring change
to an individual's sexual orientation is uncommon," it said.

Don't Miss
Read the report (PDF)
In addition, the report cited evidence that efforts to switch a person's sexual
orientation through aversive treatments might cause harm, including loss of sexual
feeling, suicidality, depression and anxiety.

Many who tried to change and failed "described their experiences as a significant
cause of emotional and spiritual distress and negative self-image," it said.

The six-member task force was appointed two years ago to address concerns about
"efforts to promote the notion that sexual orientation can be changed through
psychotherapy or approaches that mischaracterize homosexuality as a mental disorder."

The American Psychological Association removed homosexuality from its Diagnostic
and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders in 1975.

The task force noted that some people attempt to change their sexual orientation
because it conflicts with their religious beliefs, and recommended that their mental
health care providers help them "explore possible life paths that address the
reality of their sexual orientation, reduce the stigma associated with homosexuality,
respect the client's religious beliefs, and consider possibilities for a religiously
and spiritually meaningful and rewarding life."

10:33PM PDT on Aug 5, 2009

The report looks at 87 studies conducted between 1960 and 2007.
In addition, the 138-page report -- covering 87 peer-reviewed studies -- said that
such efforts may cause harm.

"Contrary to claims of sexual orientation change advocates and practitioners, there
is insufficient evidence to support the use of psychological interventions to change
sexual orientation," said Judith M. Glassgold, chairwoman of the task force that
presented the report at the group's annual meeting in Toronto, Canada. The Washington-
based association represents more than 150,000 members.

"At most, certain studies suggested that some individuals learned how to ignore or
not act on their homosexual attractions. Yet, these studies did not indicate for whom
this was possible, how long it lasted or its long-term mental health effects. Also,
this result was much less likely to be true for people who started out only attracted
to people of the same sex.

In response, the group's governing Council of Representatives passed a resolution
Wednesday urging mental health professionals not to recommend to their clients that
they can change their sexual orientation through therapy or any other methods.

The group's Task Force on Appropriate Therapeutic Responses to Sexual Orientation
reached its conclusion after its review of 87 studies conducted between 1960 and
2007 and finding "serious methodological problems" in the vast majority of them.

9:42PM PDT on Jul 9, 2009

The UUA just had their convention in Salt Lake City UT - this is a video that someone made of our campaign "Standing on the Side of Love" - I know neither Nancy nor Daniel will (nor should they) - but some of you might enjoy it. It was like a breath of fresh air to me. There was one person who has been with her partner for 10 years and what she says about her commitment ceremony/marriage is telling.
http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/1272/t/9576/signUp.jsp?key=4362

What Nancy & Daniel don't understand and can never understand is that gays don't want to be singled out, and they don't want any special rights - they want to be just like everyone else. N & D won't understand because they are too busy patting themselves on the back and thinking about heaven. They also won't understand because they really THINK that they are being discriminated against as Christians. I was reminded that thier beliefs are sanctioned by the Constitution -just as our beliefs are... But they are self-righteous, non the less.

12:14PM PDT on Jul 9, 2009

Righto Elizabeth, I refer to an old American text to make the point that the early days of this country were NOT run by religious fanatics (who were apparently not even tolerated) and Danny boy decides I'm advocating killing people. Dumb.

12:17PM PDT on Jul 8, 2009

AHA! NOW I get Daniel's problem. A reading deficit? Left back in school maybe? Methinks a reading comprehension course of study could be of immeasurable benefit. Among completely bizarre and twisted misinterpretations of Thomas' points, he tells ME: "If I happen to run into any pro homosexual, scripture hating liberals, I'll send them your way....don't want you to get lonely." (he thinks this is terribly clever!?)lol

Don't you worry your little head about me being lonely, Dannyboy. I'm happily married, pro equality and choice for ALL and I don't 'hate' scripture, just don't believe yours. How do you get 'hate' from my asking for proof any was written by a 'god'and not men? (still waiting, btw). I've found loads of rational people here who leave the closed-minded, unable-to-grasp-ideas crowd in the dust. You seem to have no concept of irony, which Thomas' 'Quakers' post showed perfectly. You truly need to get a grip. Relax, take a deep breath! Try to focus on the point being made instead of reacting like a 4yr old to what you imagine is being said. You might even learn to have a real interchange of ideas instead of resorting to bullyboy tactics. I can't imagine these methods have worked for you thus far in life (surely you've noticed by now that people don't respond well to browbeating/bullying?) There's an old adage about winning more flies with honey,and another explaining how 'Assume' just makes an 'ass' out of u and me? (well, perhaps here it really is only u) ;)

12:00PM PDT on Jul 8, 2009

This silly idea, Gail, of gays demanding "special rights" is typical of haters. They see anyone different from them demanding equality, the ability to be themselves out in the open (causing narrow minded people to, gosh, actually have to talk to their kids about sex), or the punishment of anyone persecuting them as "special" treatment.

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