Over the past eighteen months I, with others, have been involved in the shaping of an Action Plan to tackle child abuse linked to faith or belief. The evidence brought before us shows that whilst the numbers of cases are relatively small, approximately ten per annum in London, the trauma caused to every affected child is deplorable.
Research shows that these beliefs cut across faiths and nationalities; and the practice of exorcism does not compulsorily lead to harm. However in some cases it does with the devastating outcomes we have sadly come to know.
I find it strange and deplorable that even a single child is harmed in pursuit of religious ideals. And thankfully this is the exception not the rule. Of course some argue that religion is itself harmful, I beg to differ. All of the great religions of the world teach the good of humanity as their ultimate goal, and Christianity in particular is clear about the care of children. ‘Let the children come to me, for the kingdom of heaven is like unto them’, Jesus says.
Creator God, thank you for human life that begins simply and profoundly and grows into your image and likeness. Thank you for the faith in your indwelling. May nothing we do in pursuit of our faith ever harm one of your little children ever again. Amen.