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Man says church kept him imprisoned for being gay

Tue 23 Oct 2012 In: International News View at NDHA

Mike Lowry Four members of an extremist church in North Carolina have been charged over allegations they held a young gay man against his will and repeatedly assaulted him, in an attempt to “cure” him. WLOS News 13 reports 21-year-old Michael Lowry is pursuing charges against Word of Faith Fellowship Church in Spindale. Lowry, who was born into the church, claims he was confined against his will in a building on church property and subjected to repeated assaults. He told said he was knocked unconscious by church members last August, as they read him scripture because of his sexuality. "The pastor said to find out what my darkest secret was, and I was like, 'I'm never telling,' Lowry told WLOS. "They hit my head with fists and I was out on the floor, they held my hands and feet down and were pushing on my chest and I could barely breathe." He also says he was supervised when he went to the toilet because church leaders feared he might be masturbating. Brent Childers, Executive Director of anti-extremism group Faith in America says it’s the most disturbing story he’s encountered in six years working to educate people about the harm caused to gay and lesbian people by religion-based bigotry. “This young man has had to flee his family and his community with little more than a few personal belongings. He feels he has been exiled, shunned, humiliated and denied the pursuit of happiness that most young people would be enjoying at his age.” A former pastor of the church is denying the allegations. Cooper has pressed charges against Word of Faith members for harassment, and a court date is set for November.    

Credit: Daily News staff

First published: Tuesday, 23rd October 2012 - 4:55pm

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