Horror Show Sunday: Screaming for God

Just because we lock the doors doesn’t mean you aren’t free to go, does it?

I’m going to take a somewhat lighter tone this week because, to be honest, I’ve been writing about a lot of horrors done by the religious or in the name of religion lately.  Therefore, there will be no blood or murder this week, sorry if this disappoints my loyal readers.

Our story this week comes from North Carolina where a church kidnapped and imprisoned a young man because he is gay.  The Word of Faith Fellowship Church is accused, not only of keeping 22-year old Michael Lowry against his will for 4 months because he is gay, but of emotionally and physically abusing him during that time in an attempt to chase the gay away.

According to records, Michael Lowry was abducted on August 1 and kept until November 19, 2011.  He was held in a church building with several other men.  “The doors were locked, it was jail,” said Lowry. “You weren’t allowed to speak to your family. Many of the men had wives and children but they weren’t able to communicate with them.”  In another interview, “The pastor said to find out what my darkest secret was, and I was like, ‘I’m never telling,’ Lowry told WLOS. “They hit my head with fists and I was out on the floor, they held my hands and feet down and were pushing on my chest and I could barely breathe.” Parishioners performed a bizarre religious ritual called “blasting” where believers shriek loud prayers directly into the ears of the sinner in hopes of scaring out the demons.  It was featured on Inside Edition last year.

 This is hardly The Word of Faith Fellowship’s first brush with the law, in fact the church, which many call a cult, has been repeatedly examined by the authorities.  During the 1990s, the church was investigated twice for it’s treatment of children, from which no charges were ultimately filed.  Former members of the church tell tales of absurd control placed on believers, they were told where to live, where to work, what to read, how to dress or even when it was OK to have sex with their spouses.

“We want to serve Jesus,” Jane Whaley, one of the heads of he church said. “We don’t want to be hypocrites. If this church is not for you, people leave.”  Yet Whaley claims that many of the people who have left the church hold grudges and have poisoned the minds of current members.  She says Lowry was never imprisoned, he’s just being used to cause problems for the church, her life has even been threatened by former members.  Sorry, where have we heard things like this before?  Death threats?  People just making up stories to get back at movement founders?  Hmmm… it’ll come to me.

I really wish I believed that this wasn’t true but it’s hardly a unique case.  There are tons of fundamentalist Christian cults across America that believe they are above the law, that their imaginary friend in the sky gives them permission to harm those that violate their strict religious teachings.  This is almost certainly another one of those cases and whereas no one ended up dying, as is the case in so many others, being locked up against your will for months and physically and emotionally abused because of the beliefs of a couple of religious wingnuts, this certainly qualifies as another case for the Religious Horror Show.

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