08 July 2009

Lutherans Do Exorcisms. Who Knew?

A cop and two other adults connected to the Lutheran Church in Australia youth camp have been charged criminally in Australia for holding a teen with stomach cramps for twelve hours to conduct an exorcism. The demon possession theory of illness still lives somewhere, apparently.

Vacation Bible Camp for Lutherans in Ohio when I was growing up was simply not that hard core. Even if the adults had wanted to do an exorcism, I am quite confident that they wouldn't be sure if it was actually a Lutheran thing, and certainly had no idea how to do one, or any inclination to experiment. Our camp counselors were more the guitar playing, long haired, kumbaya singing, finger paint project types. For that matter, neither do the local official Lutheran church authorities:

The Lutheran Church has tried to distance itself from the embarrassing affair, saying that it does not condone practices such as exorcism.

"The Lutheran Church does not endorse or encourage any actions which are abusive or which results in the limitations or freedoms of any individual," Robert Voigt, president of the Lutheran Church in South Australia [said.]

But, this is not the first time Lutherans have done this in Australia:

Joan Vollmer, 49, died in January 1993 after her husband, Ralph Vollmer, and three other members of a breakaway Lutheran sect performed an exorcism at the couple's home in western Victoria.

Maybe it has something to do with Lutherans being so much more of a minority in Australia than they are in Ohio and Michigan, where I usually encountered them. Minority religion status can heighten one's resistance to ourside opinion and increase one's need to vigorously assert one's religious identity.


Michael Malak said...

Although I am now Catholic, I took Lutheran Catechism class for two years, and I knew for a fact that the Lutheran Catechism did not cover exorcism.

A Google search just now confirms this, but turns up that a mention of exorcism as part of baptism was removed by others after it was published -- on the theory that every act of redemption requires active faith on the part of the believer.

These Lutherans would appear to be violating tenets of their faith.

Vicki said...

I am a Lutheran teenager living in South Australia, and have had the events discribed to me by someone told about it at the camp.
First thing: This isnt really that important but the boy had more than stomach cramps. There was something wrong with his medication, he hadnt taken or something and he had complained of hallucinations. The leaders of the camp obviously made the mistake of not consulting his medical form.
Second thing: President of LCA in SA Robert Voigt is the one who reported the incident to the police. He had made it clear that exorcism has no part in Lutheranism in Australia.
Third thing: There was another Lutheran church camp on when this incident was revealed to the public. The first thing that happened was that the campers were asked to call home to make sure their parents were comfortable with them being there. No one was asked to come home. This indicates to me that parents are still trusting the Church with their children.
I think the LCA has handled this issue very well and it furthers my general mistrust of the media who will bring any minor incident relating to the church to the public, sometimes in an excacerbated way, when other incidents are left unpublished.

Anonymous said...

Lutherans Do Exorcisms.