Religion and Spirituality

Exorcisms and Agency

I’ve been quietly going about my business in the election, waiting for various people to tell me whether it’s more feminist to vote for Bernie or Hillary, and then I see stories like this.  Some people attempted to exorcise Ted Cruz.  I hate exorcisms as a thing.  Even by the standards of Christianity, they are a horrific violation of boundaries.  It is simply decided, by someone, that a person is not in control of themselves and must be subjected to a process that can involve physical restraint, violence, and at times, death.  The subject of the exorcism has no recourse against the process, no way to deny or demonstrate that an exorcism is neither wanted nor needed.

As if it weren’t bad enough that we we have a practice that is designed to strip a person of all agency until the exorcists decide somehow non-deterministic-ally that the exorcism is finished, this is also a fun way for practitioners of exorcisms to continue stigmatizing and suppressing people with mental health problems.

So ugh.  Let’s all please stop with the whole exorcism thing already.  Or at least, exorcists, please obtain informed consent first.


Featured Image Credit: Eric Sorenson via Flickr

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Elizabeth is a professional belly dancer, a flaky computer scientist, and a returned Peace Corps volunteer. She lives in Georgia (the state of the U.S., not the country) but is nonetheless somehow not a combination of stereotypes from Gone with the Wind and Deliverance. Her personal blog is Coffeefied. Operafied. Fluffified. Beglittered.

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