An undercover reporter exposed the controversial practice of “gay conversion therapy” being conducted inside one of the largest British Pentecostal church in Dartford, southeast of London.
The unnamed ITV reporter revealed to a number of pastors inside the church he was gay. What followed was him being subjected to an array of “complete mind reorientation” rituals, including being physically handled by the religious officials, and anti-gay propaganda hurled at the face that seemed to have drawn influence from the Nazi-era.
One of the particular sessions with Pastor Gbenga Samuel was recorded by the reporter with a pre-hidden camera. Straightaway, Samuel began drawing a comparison between Germany’s leader Adolf Hitler gassing Jews by brainwashing people and the modern society willing to accept homosexuality because it was “carefully scripted” by Satan.
“During World War II, how was Hitler able to get boys to gas millions of Jews in the gas chamber?” he asked the reporter. “These boys were specially trained in special school where it was played over to them, over and over, during the day and during the night, the propaganda that the Jews are the bad people, and they should be exterminated.”
The reporter was also told by Samuel “something shifted” in the process of his life, “which God can fix.” The latter further claimed although the reporter was under the “control of Satan” his youth was “one advantage that you have over the devil” since it meant his will was strong enough to get rid of his homosexuality.
In order to transform his sexual orientation, the reporter was directed into an empty church hall by Samuel, after which an intense prayer — not directed toward bringing the reporter closer to God, but instead, toward distance him from homosexuality — began.
“Sometimes the prayers in themselves seemed harmless, such as for God to direct me and guide me,” the reporter told ITV about his experience. “I felt it changed from something that could have been comforting to something sinister and potentially traumatizing.”
Samuel also shouted and spoke in tongues, saying, “Let there be a release! Let the fire come upon him!” He pushed the reporter to the floor and made him spin in circles in an attempt to accomplish his agenda. Like Samuel, the reporter also met with three other pastors from the chapel who were in favor of the therapy.
“To them, it was clear that being gay was both a sin, and in some sense a sickness that is both mental and spiritual. They described it as demonically-influenced, and so my lack of guilt was because I didn’t necessarily cause it. I went through hours of counselling and prayer sessions, all directed at ridding me of my homosexuality,” the reporter recalled.
While the Winners Chapel publicly claim its mission was “liberating men everywhere from every oppression of the devil,” it denied allegations pastors associated with the church engage in gay conversion therapy, adding that it took “inclusion and diversity very seriously.”
According to Pastor Paul Bailey, one of the string proponents against sexual orientation correcting therapies, while the British government has showed interest in banning such controversial practices conducted inside churches, challenging such policies become tricky because they were linked in some way or the other to religious freedom.
“Rights come with responsibilities,” he said. “There are many things we no longer do because we know better. There is clear scripture that says you should beat your children. We ignore that because we recognize that beating children is harmful. This is a harmful practice. Your freedom does not mean you have the freedom to negate and oppress someone who’s different.”
In the United States, states like Connecticut, California, Delaware, Maryland, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon, Illinois, Vermont, New Mexico, Rhode Island, Washington and the District of Columbia have passed legislation banning gay conversion therapy in order to protect LGBT community, the Huffington Post reported.