Are gay exorcisms child abuse?

From Religion Clause: The June issue of Details Magazine reports on exorcism rituals practices by some Pentecostal and Evangelical churches across the country aimed at driving out demons which are deemed by them to be the cause of homosexuality.

The article focuses in particular on 20-year old Kevin Robinson of Enfield, Connecticut who has undergone gay exorcism at least ten times since he was 16. Many who undergo these exorcisms are minors. Prosecutors and child welfare agencies are reluctant to interfere with the practice because of First Amendment religious freedom concerns. Yesterday’s Boston Edge also reports on the gay exorcism phenomenon.

Many of those who undergo gay deliverance are minors, and critics like Herrington and Toscano question whether child abuse is taking place. “For a young person, being told that you house evil, that you’re basically a mobile home for evil spirits—that is a very, very damaging concept,” says Toscano. “It’s one of the most extreme manifestations of the anti-gay rhetoric within the church.”

Even some Christians who are intolerant of homosexual behavior worry about the practice. “It is dangerous,” says the Reverend DL Foster, a preacher in Atlanta who defines himself as ex-gay, though he still acknowledges homosexual desires, and preaches against tolerance of the gay lifestyle. “It can fuel lots of self-destructive behavior . . . If you have been told that a demon is possessing you and you feel powerless to do anything about it, eventually you’re going to accept it.”

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