Church blamed for ignoring the “Spiritual Abuse” of LGBTQI Christians.
A well-known gay activist from the Church of England (CoE) claims to have undergone what she refers to as spiritual abuse as a result of her sexual orientation. She is now urging the CoE to make sure members of the LGBTQI community are provided with the necessary protection from such abuse.
Jayne Ozanne, who faced criticism and abuse from her church for her sexuality, believes that suicide and self-harm will continue uncontrolled if the church fails to address the issue.
She added that churches would become centers of “turmoil and pain” if things continued in the same direction.
Ozanne has also urged the CoE to put an end to conversion therapy. Conversion therapy is a religious practice that aims to convert homosexual members into heterosexuals. The practice has been called “harmful” and “unethical” by LGBTQI and Human Rights Groups.
Ozanne stated that spiritual abuse is something that can cause near-permanent damage to those who fall victim to it. She has even suggested that the current definition of abuse, which is limited to physical, emotional, and sexual abuse, include spiritual abuse as well.
According to the activist, spiritual abuse is prevalent in evangelical charismatic churches. Citing her own experience, Ozanne stated that the felt ashamed and guilty during her time with an evangelical church. Her experience eventually led to depression and a subsequent breakdown.
Ozanne claims that several people suffer just like her.
Her major concern was with the fact that such churches create a group dynamic that leads to more abusive behavior.
A recent report by the CoE, titled “Responding Well to Domestic Abuse”, defines spiritual abuse as telling someone that God hates them for their actions or behavior, preventing them from worshiping in the church or group, citing religious texts to justify abuse, and using faith as a tool to terrorize them.
Ozanne also mentions that there is recognition of spiritual abuse from the Methodist and Baptist churches, but, none from the Catholic Church.
Ozanne has called on external organizations as well, asking them to safeguard people from such a form of abuse. She added that people suffering from spiritual abuse need to be protected in the same way that other abuse victims are protected.
Next month, Ozanne plans to convince the CoE’s synod in backing up a statement against conversion therapy, which, has been signed by leading experts from mental health institutions.