The documentary that Arte broadcasts this Tuesday night is both important and disturbing. Important because it puts a spotlight on abusive practices that have been going on for forty years in evangelical and Catholic associations. Disturbing, because it comes to question the conception that every Christian has of the homosexuality.
It was in the United States, in the 1980s, that appeared in Christian milieu the first sessions claiming to "heal" homosexuality. They are especially the case of former gays converted to Christianity who seek, through preaching and prayer, to "convert homosexuals to heterosexuality or, failing that, lead them to choose continence.
Thus Alan Chambers, who led the ecumenical movement Exodus International for twenty years – until his resignation in 2013 – promised himself at the time free homosexuals from their deviance". Since then he has admitted absurdityTo want to heal homosexuality and publicly asked for forgiveness for the harm he may have caused to homosexuals. " We have perpetuated the myth that God would be happier if we give up a part of ourselves he regrets.Some people committed suicide, so they were alone. "
A conversion to Christ understood as a change of sexual orientation
On the other hand, Andrew Comiskey, founder in 1980 of the evangelical association "Desert stream Living waters" (now "Torrents de vie" in France, from 1994), continues to advocate a conversion to Christ understood as a change of orientation. sexual. Similarly, the evangelical American Richard Cohen, ex-gay who appears with his wife and three children, says that at the origin of a male homosexuality, there is a "lack of affection and connection between father and son".
These American evangelical associations – as well as Catholic "Courage International" – have spread across the globe, enjoying a discrete recognition in some conservative Christian circles for whom homosexual practices are still a sin.
This documentary is based mainly on the testimonies of some men and women who followed, often under the pressure of their parents, sessions of this type in the United States, Germany, Poland, Switzerland and France. This is the case of Benoît Berthe who, after revealing, at 15, that he was attracted by boys, was sent by his mother in Catholic psychospiritual sessions. "I had the desire to help him get rid of that"Says Véronique Berthe, now aware of his error of judgment at the time.
These homosexual people have often thought of suicide
This is also the case of Jean-Michel Dunand, who is married today with his companion and prior founder of Communion Bethany. He suffered eight exorcisms to be "freed from the demon of homosexuality", Including a great exorcism, during which he recalls hearing from one of the participants:"the demon is there".
The strongest images are also those filmed in camera hidden by the journalist Jean-Loup Adénor (2), during a summer internship Torrent life in Lux (Saone-et-Loire). We see a young man who pours on his head meters and meters of black veil to symbolize his shame, before a facilitator encourages participants to"Dare to become a man, a real:There is a job to do but we can get out.Get up from where you are, start this path!".
Shame, as well as anguish and loneliness are shared by those who testify in this documentary, such as Deb Cuny in San Francisco and Ewa Kamoda in Krakow.
These homosexual people have often thought of suicide, convinced that their liveswas not worth living". After so many unnecessary struggles against themselves, these adults, who now assume their homosexuality, regret being manipulated. Because it is about abuse, as confirms Serge Blasko, former president of the Interministerial Mission of vigilance and fight against the sectarian excesses (Miviludes). "Cspecies of wild psychotherapy are very deeply destabilizing with the risk of psychiatric decompensation". Such sessions, Serge Blasko insists, "work on people in vulnerable situations with helpers who exploit their fragility". With vigor, he denouncestherapeutic driftsAnd regrets that justice has not yet been able to investigate this case, "no complaint has been lodged".
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