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The ugly ‘details’ of a gay exorcism

This story from last month’s Details magazine broke my heart.

Deliverance: The True Story of a Gay Exorcism

by MATT MCALLESTER

The prophet had come up from Georgia. She stood at the front of the Holy Ghost Temple Church and called for parishioners to come forward. On this Sunday in February, roughly 100 worshippers filled the white-walled Pentecostal sanctuary that sits on a wooded hill beside a BMW dealership. Among them was 20-year-old Kevin Robinson. He stepped out from his pew, walked up the lavender carpet, and joined the line in front of the prophet. He wanted to be prayed over, as is common in the Pentecostal tradition, by this powerful preacher. In the eyes of believers such as Kevin, a prophet speaks the very word of God and can divine the future.

“I have a lot on my mind right now—my mind isn’t focused,” Kevin explained to the woman, whose name was Mary. She was in her late thirties, slim, and wore a black dress. “Could you please pray for that?”

“Are you gay?” the prophet asked him.

In a quiet, gentle voice, Kevin acknowledged that he was.

“Speak up,” the woman commanded. “I can’t hear you.”

Yes, Kevin repeated, he was gay.

“You need to be delivered from homosexuality,” the prophet said into a microphone so that all the church could hear. Kevin was embarrassed, but he stayed put. This was no normal preacher—she spoke God’s truth. According to church dogma, homosexuality is a sin foisted on humans by demons who take possession of their bodies and compel them to act against God’s will. These evil spirits can be exorcised by those trained in spiritual warfare in a ritual known among Pentecostal Christians as deliverance. Perhaps, Kevin thought, this prophet could finally deliver him from his demons…

Read the rest of the story here.

Thoughts?



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Danny Bixby

posted August 18, 2010 at 12:54 pm


Sad.

And angry.

Had to stop reading about 1/3rd of the way through the first page.

Now I’m just mad.

Thanks. ;)



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sharideth

posted August 18, 2010 at 12:56 pm


oh man, matt. i couldn’t even start it. i’ll have to grab a very large bourbon and settle in for this one later…



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Alise

posted August 18, 2010 at 1:03 pm


I pray help is coming for my LGBT brothers & sisters who have undergone this abhorrent practice.



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David

posted August 18, 2010 at 1:04 pm


For all the shame I felt in the church when I was struggling with sexual identity, thankfully I was never subjected to anything as vile as this.

I can’t think of any situations where Jesus shamed the sinner, and in fact the woman by the well comes to mind.

Yet we wonder why the world despises the church…



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Joel

posted August 18, 2010 at 1:18 pm


This makes me sad. When are we going to [stop] marginalizing our brothers and sisters and start accepting and loving them unconditionally? You know, the way God loves us?

[Edited by MPT]



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    Joel

    posted August 18, 2010 at 1:18 pm


    That was “stop marginalizing our brothers and sisters”. My proofreading skills suck.



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pb

posted August 18, 2010 at 1:27 pm


This is just terrible:
I don’t understand how anyone can treat others like this.

It’s like we completely forgot about grace.



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RobM

posted August 18, 2010 at 1:30 pm


Reminds me of the McLaren thing from your post yesterday. Why is it mainstream Christianity is on the wrong side of social change in almost unanimity nearly 100% of the time?



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maria

posted August 18, 2010 at 1:34 pm


Wow. This is such a difficult subject. We don’t want to talk about it, just want it to go away. But here goes my take on it: We can’t fix anyone; only God can. Nevertheless, we still try to “fix” what we want fixed, not what God wants. We are called to love Him first, and then others as ourselves. I didn’t read about anyone showing love as to themselves.



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Scott Bettis

posted August 18, 2010 at 1:45 pm


My daughter began having epileptic seizures around the age of 6. We asked some trusted friends to pray for her a number of times. One of the first times my daughter was prayed for, one well-meaning person that happened to be in a group of trusted friends began to pray for the demons of epilepsy to come out of her. I stopped her cold. I gently removed her hand from my daughter’s head and said “that’s enough.” The last thing I was going to allow was someone, ANYone, telling my 6-year old daughter she had demons in her.

“Exorcism” as a primary method of dealing with things such as epilepsy, alcoholism, homosexuality, etc. is just wrong and shows such an abysmal lack of discernment and understanding as to border on bold-faced stupidity. The truth is, little is known for certain (and less agreed upon) about what is responsible for homosexual tendencies and even what we do know may not apply in every case.

Can “gay” even be cured? I don’t know. But then, I don’t need to know. What I do know is that we are not called to to be responsible for changing anything about other people. We are called to accept them, as Jesus did, just as they are. We all are only responsible for changing ourselves and for me, that is quite a big enough challenge thank you very much.

So many Christians today feel they have it all figured out. That makes them feel better, more secure about themselves. Looking down on others, excluding them from qualifying for God’s love is a way of bringing themselves closer to that love. It’s like they see themselves standing at the “pearly gates” while Peter runs down a check list…

“Saved?” “Check!”
“Water baptized?” “Check!”
“Spirit Filled? (optional)” “Rama!”
“Loved the lost?” “Check-a-doodle-doo!”
“… including homosexuals?” “Um…”



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    Alise

    posted August 18, 2010 at 2:53 pm


    I know that some friends of mine did this to their son who turned out to have autism. I shudder to think what this young child went through before he had his diagnosis. Thank you for saving your daughter from that.



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David

posted August 18, 2010 at 1:50 pm


It is a simple as where is the fruit of the ministry? If they really are casting out demons that make folks gay, then we should be seeing testimonies about folks delivered.

The Bible pretty clear on who we are supposed to love: our neighbor, our wives and our enemies.

It is the same with any type of ministry. If you call yourself and evangelist, then you should be bringing folks to Christ. If you call yourself a prophet, then you should be having success with prophetic words.

What get’s me, is that a lot of churches call themsleves evangelical, and the business of getting folks saved is not too good.



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Leanne

posted August 18, 2010 at 3:21 pm


To the homosexual community,
I am really, really sorry.



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ReleventISHpastor

posted August 18, 2010 at 3:47 pm


wow, thats a shame. My heart breaks as well. Thank God we have communities within our face where this would never, ever happen.



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Charlie's Church of Christ

posted August 18, 2010 at 4:46 pm


that’ll mess up for life. And I thought I was recovering from super-duper religiousity…



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sharideth

posted August 18, 2010 at 4:56 pm


where are the people who cast out demons of gluttony and strife? i’d like to put them to work.



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Phil

posted August 18, 2010 at 7:17 pm


My thoughts; the reporter needs to get their facts straight – my Bible says God gave man (humanity) up to their foolish desires. Not cursed them with demons who controlled their sexuality.



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    Matthew Paul Turner

    posted August 18, 2010 at 7:19 pm


    Those were your thoughts after reading that piece? Pretty sad. And rather “Christian” of you.



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kerrin

posted August 18, 2010 at 8:25 pm


I need to be delivered from brawling… (Eph 4:31)

…and boiling goats in their mother’s milk… (Deut. 14:21)

…and delaying offering my harvest… (Ex. 22:29)

Do they perform exorcism for these?



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Jen

posted August 18, 2010 at 10:16 pm


I’ve seen so many of my friends messed up because of exorcisms and things of that nature. Honestly, I don’t believe there’s a demon behind every issue we have. Yes, I do believe in demonic forces, but I also believe the reason we sin is because we’re human. Plain and simple.

I don’t understand why people think we need to deliver homosexuals, yet they don’t do the same thing for any other sin. It’s yet another case of making one sin “worse” than another. Gosh, it breaks my heart the way Christians treat homosexuals. A gay person’s struggle with homosexuality is not worse than my struggle with gluttony. They’re both sins and they both are seen equally in the eyes of God. BUT… there is grace. For me, for homosexuals, for anyone who has committed any sin. Thank God for grace.



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Vincent Cervantes

posted August 19, 2010 at 8:23 am


Thank you so much for posting this! When I did this interview with DETAILS it brought up a lot of emotions. It is absolutely necessary though for us to share our stories. If anything, by us sharing our stories, it allows for dialogue to take place about sexuality and the church.



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John

posted August 19, 2010 at 12:00 pm


As the victim of an attempted exorcism that occurred over the summer (namely, because of my announcement of a conversion to Reform Judaism), at the hands of my Pentecostal family, I can honestly say… YES, these kinds of crazies exist, but NO, they are not on the outer fringe of Pentecostal faith. They are certainly in the thick of it.



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Joe Crenshaw

posted August 20, 2010 at 11:57 am


Why do we keep discussing this? Homosexuality is a sin . . sorry if folks don’t like our 2,000 year old doctrine, if you don’t like it get another faith, just make sure it isn’t Islam or traditional Judiasm because they teach the exact same thing.

Let’s defend adultery while we are at it, or any other “sin” we don’t like because it creates too many complex issues in our “modern” world and it “hurts” too many folks feelings.

I don’t believe in the foolishness of homosexual exorcisms or really any other form of “exorcism.” I think we have to deal with folks with spiritual and mental issues by prayer and support.

I do believe sexuality is hard wired, I do believe there are folks who are truly homosexual in nature, as well as transgender, cross dressing, and other sexual paraphilas (sp?) but that doesn’t make those things holy or righteous.

I do think we spend too much time worrying about gay marriage, let gays marry. I do think we spend too much time on the legality of abortion, if you don’t like it, don’t have one.

But to the point of the article, these exorcisms are stupid and sexuality is nothing to be “cured” of, even if the person is a pedophile, there is no cure for my heterosexuality and my desire for women I deem “HOT.”

There is a resolution for this, for us to accept folks who are homosexual and say, hey, I believe it’s a sin, and our doctrine as Christians says it’s a sin, but we need to walk together towar the cross of CHRIST and let whatever that means for you and for me, worked out and we need to live in Christian community.

There’s no fixing, there’s no exorcism, there’s no camp, there’s no treatment, that’s all hurtful, and dumb.

There is Christian unity, where I can hold the hand of those who are gay, those who are transgender, those who are hermaphroditic,
and those who are straight and walk hand in hand as broken people in a broken world toward the healing that is in CHRIST JESUS.

I don’t dare push them there or drag them there, GOD’S grace is sufficient to minister to us.



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BDC

posted August 22, 2010 at 3:14 pm


I grew up in a Pentecostal church. I’m sure if had I told them I was gay, they would have attempted a less drastic version of this but equally messed up.

Is it any real shocker that most gays want little to nothing to do with church?



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