An image from a recent “exorcism” of a gay teenager in the US.
It has been claimed that at least one Fundamentalist Christian church in Britain has been performing “exorcisms” on gay men and women in order to “cure” them of their homosexuality.
This comes after a video of a 16-year-old boy in America was recently posted online, showing a similar exorcism taking place.
“The exorcism rituals involve the casting out of alleged demons and witches that supposedly possess a gay person’s soul and turn them away from heterosexuality,” said LGBT human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell in a statement.
“The exorcisms can include traumatic emotional scenes where the victims are surrounded by a group of church elders who scream at them to drive out the evil spirits and who sometimes shake their bodies.”
One London church has admitted it does gay exorcisms on four or five gay people every year. This church, United Pentecostal Ministry in Harrow north London, was exposed by The Metro newspaper.
The church pastor, Rev John Ogbe-Ogbeide, said he did the ritual to cast out the demons and evil spirits that he believes are responsible for homosexuality. Sometimes people were calm during the process but sometimes their body convulsed, he added.
“The evil spirits are telling you what’s wrong is right, the opposite sex is not attractive,” Ogbe-Ogbeide explained.
Exorcisms can reportedly be performed on gay children or on those who are suspected to be gay. There is no minimum age for the exorcism ceremony because a demon could possess a person at any age in life and could incline them to “wrong” sexual thoughts and behaviour, said Rev Ogbe-Ogbeide.
Tatchell responded that, “when this is done to youngsters under 18, it is a form of child abuse and the police should intervene to stop it. Some gay adults have been pressured into exorcisms by their family members or faith communities. Other victims are people with learning difficulties or mental health problems. They have been preyed upon when they are in a vulnerable state and are not capable of giving fully informed consent”.
“There needs to be a thorough police investigation of all the churches that are doing these exorcisms,” Tatchell demanded in his statement.