Stella Immanuel’s theories about the relationship between demons, illness and sex have a long history

Matfre Ermengaud’s ‘Temptation by Lechery’ from a 14th-century manuscript. The British Library

President Donald Trump has a new favorite doctor

On July 27, the president and his son Donald Trump, Jr. tweeted a viral video featuring Dr. Stella Immanuel, in which the Houston pediatrician rejected the effectiveness of wearing face masks for preventing the spread of COVID-19 and promoted hydroxychloroquine to treat the disease.

Journalists quickly dug into Immanuel’s background and found that she’s also claimed that having sex with demons can cause illnesses like cysts and endometriosis.

These beliefs don’t come out of thin air, and she’s far from the only person who holds them.

As a scholar of biblical and apocryphal literature, I’ve researched and taught how these beliefs have deep roots in early Jewish and Christian stories – one reason they continue to persist today. 

Hints of demons in the Bible

As in many religions, demons in Judaism and Christianity are often evil supernatural beings that torment people.

Although it’s difficult to find a lot of clarity about demons in the Hebrew Bible, many later interpreters have understood demons to be the explanation for the “evil spirit” that haunts King Saul in the first book of Samuel.

Another example appears in the book of Tobit. This work was composed between about 225 and 175 BCE and isn’t included in the Hebrew Bible or accepted by all Christians. But it is considered part of the Bible by religious groups like Roman Catholics, Orthodox Christians, Beta Israel and the Assyrian Church of the East.

Tobit includes a narrative about a young woman named Sarah. Although Sarah doesn’t suffer any physical affliction, Asmodeus, the demon of lust, kills every man betrothed to her because of his desire for her.

The Christian gospels are full of stories linking demons and illness, with Jesus and several of his early followers casting out demons who afflict their victims. In one of the most prominent stories told in the Gospel of Mark, Jesus encounters a man possessed by a group of demons who call themselves “Legion” and sends them into a nearby herd of pigs who stampede off a cliff.

Demon lore spreads far and wide

Demons pervade biblical apocrypha, which are stories about biblical subjects that were never included in the canonical Bible and include various associations between demons, illness and sex. 

The early Christian text “Acts of Thomas” was likely composed in the third century and became hugely popular, as it was eventually translated into Greek, Arabic and Syriac. It tells the story of the apostle Thomas’ travels to India as an early Christian missionary. Along the way, he encounters a number of obstacles, including people who have been possessed by demons.

In the fifth act, a woman comes to him and pleads for help. She tells the apostle how, one day at the baths, she encountered an old man and talked to him out of pity. But when he propositioned her for sex, she refused and left. Later that night, the demon in the guise of an old man attacked her in her sleep and raped her. Although the woman attempted to escape the demon the next day, he continued to find her and rape her every night, tormenting the woman for five years. Thomas then exorcises the demon.

Astaroth rides a winged beast and clutches a snake.
A 19th-century drawing of Astaroth. Louis Breton

Another demon story is found in the “Martyrdom of Bartholomew,” which probably dates back to the sixth century. Bartholomew also travels to India, where he finds that the inhabitants of a city worship an idol named Astaroth who has promised to heal all of their illnesses. But Astaroth is actually a demon who causes afflictions that he then pretends to cure in order to gain more followers. Bartholomew reveals the farce and performs several miracles to prove his own spiritual prowess. After forcing the demon to confess to his deceit, Bartholomew drives him into the wilderness.

Apocrypha like the “Acts of Thomas” and “Acts of Bartholomew” were popular in the medieval period, and even those who couldn’t read or write knew these stories. They also helped fuel the “witch craze” of the 16th and 17th centuries, in which zealous Christian leaders persecuted and killed thousands of people – mainly women – for their beliefs, often concocting claims that they consorted with demons.

Beliefs that persist today

It’s clear that Immanuel has profited from her beliefs in the supernatural, especially in right-wing and religious circles. She has over 9,000 followers on Facebook and over 94,000 on Twitter, with a dedicated platform as a pastor. In fact, she casts herself as a prophet and destroyer of demons.

It isn’t difficult to find other modern Christians who connect demons, sex and health issues. The conservative Christian magazine Charisma published a story claiming that sex with demons causes homosexuality. And researchers recently were able to show that belief in supernatural evilcould predict negative attitudes toward abortion, homosexuality, premarital sex, extramarital sex and pornography. 

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Meanwhile, many evangelical Americans believe that Trump is God’s chosen one, who has been tasked with fighting actual demons. Trump’s personal minister, Paula White, is just one conservative figure known to espouse these views.

If anything, the coronavirus pandemic has shown how many on the religious right continue to rely on faith over scienceStudies have already emerged showing how the tension between faith and science has influenced many conservative Christians to resist the use of masks and other public health responses to the pandemic.

With many conservative Christians sharing some of the same views about demons as Immanuel – and conservative Christians forming a core base of support for the president – Trump’s promotion of the doctor’s beliefs makes perfect sense. 

He’s preaching to the choir.

Texas School District Mandates Teaching Kids How to Have Anal Sex

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The Austin Independent School District (ISD) school board voted in favor of a sex ed curriculum early Tuesday morning that normalizes LGBT sex acts at young ages and advises the words “mom” and “dad” be eliminated from school terminology.

The school board approved the sex ed curriculum that will be used to teach children in grades three through eight, despite the wishes of many outraged parents and faith-based groups who packed the meeting during which the vote occurred.

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As the Statesman reported, outside the meeting, Naomi Wilson chanted in front of parents and pro-family supporters, “Black trans lives matter.” Wilson was arrested and charged with trespassing.

LIVE at Austin ISD opposing radical sex education; leftists try to shut down and take over our press conference. But they did not prevail. Watch and see how it turned out.

David Walls, vice president of Texas Values and an Austin ISD parent, said in a statement the board’s vote “sends a clear message: people of faith and traditional moral values are not welcome in Austin ISD.”

“By passing this curriculum, Austin ISD has broken the sacred trust that parents put in their children’s schools,” Walls continued. “Austin ISD parents have no reason to entrust their children to a school district that weaponizes education to indoctrinate children into the LGBT political movement.”

The AISD school board is allowing parents to OPT OUT, rather than OPT IN, a procedure which means the children of parents who are not vigilant about signing the OPT OUT form will be automatically included in the curriculum.

Texas Values reported AISD abandoned its plans to use Planned Parenthood’s Get Real sex ed curriculum since Gov. Greg Abbott (R) signed a bill into law that bans local governments from contracting with abortion providers. The school district subsequently announced a “revised” middle school curriculum.

You can’t make this up folks, AISD swapped out Planned Parenthood’s sex ed for radical LGBT pro abortion Canadian sex ed. It’s so crazy not even we could believe it at first, but check the link for screenshots!https://txvalues.org/2019/09/24/planned-parenthood-sex-ed-not-radical-enough-aisd-proposes-canadian-curriculum-to-indoctrinate-children/ 

Planned Parenthood Sex-Ed Not Radical Enough, AISD Proposes Canadian Curriculum to Indoctrinate…

Despite continued opposition from parents and concerned citizens, Austin ISD is still pushing forward with radical sex-education curriculum designed to indoctrinate children, as young as the third…

txvalues.org

The family values organization said the “revised” curriculum “is just as radical and inappropriate as Planned Parenthood’s,” and continued:

In fact, despite AISD’s claim to have developed this curriculum “internally,” most of the curriculum seems to come from Canadian pro-LGBT abortion providers. Make no mistake, AISD’s revised curriculum shares the same legal (and moral) concerns as Planned Parenthood’s Get Real.

In the curriculum materials for grades three to five that were shared by Texas Values and PJ Media, teachers are instructed to “use Gender Inclusive Language,” and advised further:

It is important to avoid terms which refer only to ‘male’ and ‘female’ identities when speaking with young children as this can limit their understanding of gender into binaries and can exclude children who may not identify within these identities. For example, when discussing family members or adults they may have in their life, try not to only use terms like “mom” or “dad.” Try integrating words like, “parents” or, “guardians” to include children whose parents might not fit into “traditional” concepts of family structures.

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Signaling the tone of things to come, Texas Values reported last week that Austin elementary school Blackshear Fine Arts Academy hosted drag queen David Richardson, aka Miss Kitty Litter ATX, in the school’s library to read to young children.

In a search of Richardson’s background in August, pro-family organization Austin MassResistance found Richardson had been arrested and convicted of prostitution in 1996.

In the grade 6 curriculum, students will be taught to “differentiate between gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation.”

A cartoon graphic defines “gender identity” as “boy, girl, non-binary.” Sexual orientation is defined as “homosexual, heterosexual, bisexual, pansexual.”

Biological sex is defined as “male, female, intersex,” and gender expression includes “appearance, pronoun.”

In the section on “homophobia,” teachers are instructed to ask students “how gender can be thought of as a spectrum.”

“Explain that sexuality … is neither predictable nor linked to gender identity,” the program teaches. “While it is often assumed that boys like girls and girls like boys, these assumptions are harmful and exclude individuals who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, etc.”

In the curriculum, young children will be taught how to become activists for the LGBT agenda. Sixth graders, for example, will learn to “recognize injustices and plan ways to denounce inequality.”

Students will be taught they should not make “assumptions” such as “boys cannot wear dresses.”

More examples of the curriculum can be found at Texas Values. The pro-family group’s petition opposing the radical curriculum currently has over 7,600 signatures.

 

 

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PASTOR SAID HE WAS SUCKING DEMONS OUT OF MEN HE SEXUALLY ASSAULTED, LAWSUIT CLAIMS

A Presbyterian minister in New Jersey is accused of sexually assaulting several parishioners under the guise of exorcising evil spirits.

Three men have come forward claiming Rev. Dr. William Weaver performed sex acts on them when they came to him for private counseling at Linden Presbyterian Church. Weaver, 69, would allegedly tell the men that he needed to “suck” out demons through their semen, citing Native American rituals and a verse from Ephesians telling Christians to “put on the full armor of God.”

 

minister-sex-abuseThree men and one woman have filed suit against former minister William Weaver, claiming he sexually assaulted them under the guise of performing Native American exorcism rituals.GETTY IMAGES

 

According to impact statements the men submitted to the Presbytery of Elizabeth, which has jurisdiction over the church in Linden, Weaver would order each to strip naked and lie down. Then he would place an “angel coin” on their foreheads and have them balance stones on their hands and ankles.

Weaver would then allegedly perform oral sex on them.

One man, A.J. Meeker, says he started seeing Weaver about family problems in 2000, when he was 20. “I refuse to stay silent any longer,” he wrote in his statement. “I need to make sure that this never happens to anyone else ever again.”

Another man, Jared Staunton, said that after his assault, Weaver “lifted my head up and looked into my eyes, and said, ‘You don’t have to be afraid anymore, I’m your protector now.'”

With that, Staunton said, the minister kissed him on the lips.

In addition to working at Linden Presbyterian for 39 years, Weaver also served as chaplain for the local chapter of the Vietnam Veterans Association. Audrey Pereira, a representative for the chapter, described him as “a Jekyll and Hyde.”

“He did good on one hand,” she told My Central Jersey. “On the other hand, he did this evil to who knows how many. It can’t just have been these guys. There has to be more.”

linden-presbyterian-churchLinden Presbyterian Church in Linden, New Jersey.GOOGLE EARTH

An investigation by the Presbytery found credible evidence of “multiple acts of idolatry and sexual misconduct.” It also reportedly uncovered gay porn on a church-owned computer in Weaver’s office.

A church trial was set to start on January 25, but Weaver renounced the Presbytery and its jurisdiction the day before. He has subsequently moved to a gated retirement community in Lakewood, about an hour away from Linden.

 

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South Africa’s ‘Doom Pastor’ found guilty of assault

Lethebo Rabalago (not shown here) claims Doom insecticide can heal people with cancer and HIV

 

A South African self-styled prophet who sprayed his followers with the insecticide, Doom, has been found guilty of assault, local media report.

Lethebo Rabalago – widely known as the Doom Pastor – was also found guilty of contravening the Agricultural Stock Remedies Act, a court ruling said.

Rabalago claims the insect repellent he used in 2016 could heal cancer and HIV.

A sentence is yet to be handed down after the verdict by Mookgopong Magistrates Court in Limpopo province.

On Friday, magistrate Frans Mahodi told the court the state had proved its case beyond reasonable doubt that the five people who laid assault charges were violated, South Africa’s national broadcaster SABC reports.

The magistrate said the fact that the complainants “were sprayed on their faces with Doom makes this offence [the] worst of its kind”.

He also revealed some of them had suffered “detrimental side effects… like coughing for more than seven months” after the incident.

Rabalago – who run the Mount Zion General Assembly – was arrested after it emerged he had used the product to “cure” his followers of various ailments in 2016.

The pastor claims afflicted church members have been delivered after being sprayed with the insecticide

 

In photos circulating on social media, he was seen spraying the insecticide directly into the eyes and various body parts of his congregants. 

At the time, he told the BBC’s Nomsa Maseko in Johannesburg he had sprayed the face of one woman because she had an eye infection and claimed the woman was “just fine because she believed in the power of God”.

Rabalago’s case had been delayed on a number of occasions, most recently when his lawyer forgot his glasses.

South Africa has seen a wave of incidents where church members have been subjected to unorthodox rituals which purportedly healed them of various ailments. 

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The dangers of worshipping some South African preachers:

Lethebo Rabalago, Mount Zion General Assembly

  • Posted a photo on Facebook which showed what looked like a large speaker on top of a person lying face-up on the ground
  • In another photo, he is seen sitting on the speaker while a person remains underneath
  • In 2016, he is photographed spraying insecticide into the faces of his followers, saying it will heal them

Lesego Daniel, Rabboni Ministries 

  • The self-styled prophet in Pretoria instructed members of his congregation to drink petrol
  • In 2014, Facebook images on the church’s website also showed his followers eating grass and flowers on his orders 

Penuel Mnguni, End Times Disciples Ministries

  • Dubbed “snake pastor” by local media
  • The 25-year-old “man of God” reportedly started his church 2014 after training under Lesego Daniel.
  • In 2015, Facebook images showed the self-proclaimed prophet feeding his members stones which he claimed to have turned into bread
  • That same year, other images emerged of him feeding his followers snakes and rats , which they claimed had been turned into chocolate
  • He has since been chased out of the Soshanguve, north of Pretoria, where his church was located

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