Jun 26 2009
A Connecticut church is being investigated for possible abuse after a video showed up on YouTube documenting an exorcism of a 16 year old boy to get rid of his “homosexual demons.”
CT is nowhere near the bible belt, and is not usually a place to find fire and brimstone sermons. But there has been a subculture of demonology and exorcism here. I can’t be sure exactly why that is true, but it may have something to do with the historical connection with ghosthunting.
I wrote earlier in the week about our past investigation of the Warrens – perhaps the most famous ghost hunters. Well, Ed Warren was a self-proclaims demonologist, and as part of his schtick he professed belief in demons and evil spirits. He even occasionally worked with ministers and a defrocked priest who performed exorcisms (without the sanction of the church).
I also investigated a spin-off group from the Warrens that actually specialized in exorcism and advocated it as a treatment for apparent mental illness. This group, the Hartford Office for Paranormal Exploration (HOPE) was run by a physician (ack!) and sponsored many exorcisms – some of which I was able to view on video tape.
The one thing you need to realize about exorcisms is that they are extremely boring – nothing much happens. That might have something to do with the fact that demons are not real, and so what you get is a bit of bad acting from someone desperate for attention and perhaps who has issues with reality. Or, in some cases it is the parent who is delusional, and so you have kids who are sitting there being figidty – and that is taken as evidence of their demonic state.
In one case, absolutely nothing happened at all, and that was taken as evidence that the demons fled as soon as the exorcist came into the house. There you go – if something happens that is evidence for demons, and if nothing happens that is strong evidence for demons.
So perhaps it is more the ghost-hunting and demonology tradition of CT, rather than its particular religious tradition, that has led to the local exorcisms.
In this case, we see a trend that has been occuring for the past decade or so – blaming any perceived “problem” on a specific demon. Apparently, there are demons of gluttony, lust, gambling, and just nautiness. Whatever ails you. In some cases we see the merger of Christianity, demonology, and the self-help industry – a winning combination.
The notion of a demon of homosexuality, of course, also introduces the pseudoscientific notion, promoted almost entirely by religious traditions that frown upon homosexuality, that being gay is a moral choice or something that happens to someone – like a demonic possession. Rather – homosexuality is simply a normal biological variant seen is virtually all species. The evidence also strongly suggests that it is not a choice – any more than heterosexuality is a choice.
If the allegations are true, then I hope the hammer comes down hard on this church, for child abuse and violation of a person’s civil rights. I am all in favor of religious freedom, but there is a clear ethical and legal line to be drawn at child abuse.
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