Religion

“Gay Exorcism” in Bridgeport, CT

WABC is reporting that a cult (or church, or whatever you prefer) in Connecticut called Manifested Glory Ministries uploaded a YouTube video of an “exorcism” they performed on an apparently gay teenager. The video was horrific, showing adults restraining the boy as he flailed and jerked his body, and then vomited. Manifested Glory removed the video, but as the Scientologists have learned, nothing stays dead on the Internet. Here’s the news report, complete with clips from the original video.

The cult’s web site is freak-tastic, complete with prophesies from 2008 that all warn of a flood in Waterbury. 2007 was apparently a big year for tornadoes. Here’s hoping that poor maybe-gay kid gets the hell out of that loony-hole.

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Rebecca Watson

Rebecca leads a team of skeptical female activists at Skepchick.org. She travels around the world delivering entertaining talks on science, atheism, feminism, and skepticism. There is currently an asteroid orbiting the sun with her name on it. You can follow her every fascinating move on Twitter or on Google+.

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25 Comments

  1. I live in Bridgeport now, first off, I would like to say it is not a hole. I’ve never even heard of this church before, I looked them up and they were renting a conference room in the holiday inn. I’m really surprised that we have that sort of craziness around here, most religious people I know aren’t like that

  2. Well that was… something. Gah, it’s like seeing Goatse for the first time again.

    I had almost convinced myself that people couldn’t possibly be that stupid, but there it is.

  3. There are some primitive assholes that think homosexuality is a mental illness. There are other primitive assholes that think mental illness is demonic possession. This just seems like a logical combination of two forms of primitive assholitude into an even greater form of primitive assholitude.

    Did I mention that they were primitive assholes?

  4. A few observations:
    1. If they think there’s nothing wrong with what they were doing, why did they pull the video? And why did they lie about his age?
    2. As the child was vomiting, someone says to “make sure you have your gloves.” Doesn’t god protect you from germs during a holy event?
    3. “”McKinney denied the ritual was an exorcism, describing it instead as a casting out of spirits.”” Isn’t that the definition of an exorcism?
    Merriam-Websters ex•or•ciz•ing
    1 a: to expel (an evil spirit) by adjuration b: to get rid of (something troublesome, menacing, or oppressive)2: to free of an evil spirit

  5. Um, as the site’s resident ex-pentecostal, I feel I need to say a couple things.

    First off, the fact they are casting out a demon of homosexuality doesn’t, per say, mean they believe the child to be gay. It’s not unusual for people who struggle with road rage to have a demon of murder cast out, for instance.

    Second, the fact the dude was holding him down doesn’t mean it is coercive. There is a sort of sub and dom role playing quality to these experiences, where the person praying is allowed to dominate you, but only if you agree to it first.

    Third, puking and writhing are the expected, socially conditioned response within this social context, and don’t, persay, point to coercion.

    Forth, the Pentecostals prefer not to use the term exorcism, believing it to specifically refer to a demon being cast out by a priest of the Roman Catholic church.

    Five, none of what I am saying makes what they are doing OK, or rational or ethical, but even when people are full of shit, we learn more when try to view them with some empathy.

  6. @truthwalker: Uh. You’re actually defending this shit?

    “First off, the fact they are casting out a demon of homosexuality doesn’t, per say, mean they believe the child to be gay.”

    ….So…what you’re saying is that they think he has a homosexual demon…………yet don’t think he’s homosexual?

    And “it’s not coercion!” Sure. I believe that. Totally. I totally believe that if this child had resisted, they would have just shrugged and said, “OKAY!” Yep. *eye roll*

    Please. They convinced him he had demons that needed to be excised. If he didn’t go through the exorcism, do you think they would have treated him well or something?!

  7. Uh…. no, I’m not defending it. I pointing out that you can’t make an educated guess about how people internalize their personal religious experience based on a news report of a freaking youtube video.

    I spent two years with people who did “this shit”. I saw the kindest, most gentle people you could imagine have demons of seduction, murder, rage, hate, etc. “cast out” of them every Sunday morning.

    And the writhing and puking WAS normal to them. They kept coming back week after week t have it done again, because they liked the experience. It gave them a sense of absolution and an emotional connection to the people who cast out the demons.

    Saying “it might feel different to them then it looks to you” is not defending the practice, it’s defending empathy and skepticism.

    @Davew there is a very, very, repressed sexuality coming out aspect to these services, though the practitioners don’t see it that way.

  8. Really, that simple? So how much study have you put into psychological norms in mystic experience based faiths such as Pentecostalism or Sufism? Context always matters.

    If an American parent feeds his kid mealworms its abuse. To a parent in central Mexico, it’s just lunch. You can’t skeptically assume because of a youtube video and news cast with no effective interviews with anyone who was actually there that you are in a position to judge how the people there experienced it.

  9. Oh, and I’m not saying he has demons. I don’t believe in demons, or angles, or unicorns. I think they are full of shit.

    Religion is about symbol manipulation, and you assume that because the symbols mean a certain thing to you they mean the same thing to the practitioners. It’s not a reasonable assumption.

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