Social services considering an exorcism – in the name of child protection?

I found this via the blog of Maryam Namazie: the social services in Islington seriously considered sending a child back to the Democratic Republic of the Congo for an exorcism. Yes, that’s right, for an exorcism.

Exorcisms are a load of shite. I don’t care if people believe them or not; what I do care about is people being harmed because they’re “possessed” by a supernatural entity for which the only evidence is a person who is behaving strangely, when said strange behaviour is far more likely to be be the result of an epileptic seizure, or being schizophrenic or autistic. Here’s a section from the article I linked:

The deliverance that the boy was to undergo would have involved starving him of food and fluids for three days.

At the end of the fasting period, he would be surrounded by the deliverance team who would pray over him and command the evil spirit to be cast out of the child. When deliverance takes place, the child vomits up the “sorcery bread” that has been infecting him.

Dr Hoskins also met the pastor from the Pentecostal church attended by the grandparents, who warned that if the evil spirits were not dealt with, they would cause “strife, illness, divorce, hardship, poverty and death”.

The pastor claimed that the boy would have sorcery tools to perform magic with, such as mirrors, brushes, sticks and string, and warned that these would have to be confiscated.

Dr Hoskins asked whether the boy would be beaten, and was assured that this was not part of the normal deliverance process. However, when he was presented with a boy who had recently undergone the ordeal, he found the child “scared and traumatised”.

Starving a child for three days sounds like child abuse to me. And it gets worse: in that article, the expert they sent mentioned that some children are beaten, shaken repeatedly, have chilli pepper rubbed into them or even being cut with razor blades. That is definitely abuse, and it should be called out as such, regardless of the religion: whether Pentecostal, as in this case, or Catholic or any other form of Christianity, or Judaism or Islam…I don’t care what it is. The right to freedom of belief or disbelief ends when it starts to hurt somebody else.


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About Philip

I'm a physics graduate, sci-fi writer, budding game designer, and amateur human.

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