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…