Homosexuals left traumatised by ceremonial 'cure'

Gay exorcisms are regularly being performed in Christian churches in Britain, it has emerged.The ceremony is being carried out to rid worshippers of the supposed demons which make them homosexual.

The pastor of one Pentecostal church in north-west London said he held four or five exorcisms a year and claimed they always worked. However, gay campaigners said the 20-minute ritual often traumatised those on whom it was carried out. Details of the practice emerged after a video of the exorcism of a 16-year-old American boy was posted on YouTube.The footage was taken down amid calls for the church leaders involved to be prosecuted. Here, the Rev John Ogbe-Ogbeide, who runs the United Pentecostal Ministry in Harrow, said he carried out the riutal to cast out evil spirits that were responsible for homosexuality.

He added: 'The evil spirits are telling you what's wrong is right, the opposite sex is not attractive.'There was no minimum age for the ceremony because a demon could take hold at any point in life, said Mr Ogbe-Ogbeide.Sometimes people were calm during the process but sometimes their body convulsed.'There are some who speak but we know this is the demon. The demon can speak through anybody,' he added.

Mr Ogbe-Ogbeide last performed the ritual in January to help a young man, who was planning to marry his girlfriend but said he was also in love with another man. He added: 'He said if it carried on it would upset their plans to have kids and he wanted to live in matrimony.' But the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement said it was frequently contacted by people left traumatised by the experience.

Chief executive the Rev Sharon Ferguson, said 'a lot of fundamentalist groups believe homosexuality can be cured'.Human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell said he had heard of exorcisms on children, which was child abuse 'pure and simple'. He added: 'Some adults who have been pressured into exorcisms have been preyed upon when they're in a vulnerable state and not really able give fully informed consent.

'They're maybe people with learning difficulties or mental health problems. There needs to be a thorough investigation of all the churches who are doing these exorcisms.' In March, it was revealed that a fifth of therapists, many in the pay of the NHS, had attempted to 'cure' patients of homosexuality.