Several members of a secretive megachurch in North Carolina have been indicted for kidnapping and assault for allegedly holding a young gay man against his will, screaming at him and hitting him in order to rid him of “homosexual demons.”
After two years of waiting, Matt Fenner of Rutherfordton has some resolution to the trauma he faced at the hands of people from the Word of Faith Fellowship Church in Spindale.
Last month, five church members were indicted for kidnapping and assault for their roles in an incident at the church in early 2013 when Fenner was shoved and beaten because of his sexual orientation…
“There were at least three instances that resulted in members of the Word of Faith Fellowship ganging up on me for being a homosexual and having tendencies that would cause one to perceive such,” Fenner wrote in an email to The Star…
After a nighttime church service, three members asked him to go to the back of the sanctuary.
“At first, three members took me to the back of the sanctuary in which they questioned me about ‘sin’ that I hadn’t been ‘opening my heart about’, meaning that I hadn’t been making known to them voluntarily,” Fenner wrote in his email.
In the affidavit, Fenner said the three were soon joined by about 20 others, and they surrounded him. And that’s when “deliverance soon ensued.”
The group started using a technique they call “blasting,” a form of hands-on, high-pitched, screaming prayer.
Within minutes, he said, they began to berate him because he was gay. One woman told him he was “disgusting.”
“I told her that I was sorry that I didn’t know what she wanted me to tell her and this is the point at which she slapped me with a great amount of force across my left cheek,” Fenner wrote in his email.
Then for two hours, they pushed and hit Fenner, screaming at him as they tried to “break me free of the homosexual ‘demons,’” he said in a police affidavit about the attack.
An indictment is not a conviction, of course, and the church denies wrongdoing (duh). But this sort of thing isn’t all that unusual in fundamentalist circles, especially those that believe in exorcism.