If there is one thing about religion that really drives me crazy it is when religious people act out their beliefs in ways that harm children. If adults want to handle snakes and otherwise kill themselves out of faith, that’s one thing. But leave children out of it.
We all know of children suffering and dying because the religious beliefs of parents stop them from giving medical care. But here is an even more infuriating story of people actually killing their children in the course of performing an exorcism.
A Maryland mother and another woman charged with murdering two of the mother’s small children believed they were performing an exorcism at the time of the killing, police said on Saturday.
The two children, Norell Harris, 1, and Zyana Harris, 2, suffered multiple stab wounds at a townhouse in Germantown, Maryland, Montgomery County Police said in a statement. Their siblings, ages 5 and 8, were injured and hospitalized, police said.
At the court hearing, more details were released.
Members of ExouSia Ministries, a small Christian congregation which worships at a Germantown elementary school, Avery and Sanford told investigators they’d recently created a side-car clan they called the Demon Assassins. The four-member group maintained a rank and order, with Avery positioned as “commander” and Sanford, “sergeant.”
According to comments made in court, Avery and Sanford had scheduled an in-home exorcism Thursday evening for a group member named Troy. Only problem, Troy never arrived for his appointment. Then around 5 a.m. Friday, both women reportedly became convinced a demonic spirit had invaded the soul’s of all four children, turning their young eyes dark black.
“It began with an attempt to break the neck of the youngest child, it proceeded into strangulation and ultimately graduated into stabbing,” McCarthy said.
Despite deeply penetrating stab wounds, three of the four children weren’t covered in blood when officers arrived, but instead wrapped in wet blankets.
“The women, after the attack, showered together to wash the blood off themselves, cleaned-up the crime scene and then prepared the children to see God,” McCarthy added. “It was to be an everlasting life in heaven.”
It is this aspect of religion that really angers me. Mainstream and moderate religious people may point to all the benefits religion supposedly provides but there is no question that it is also the breeding ground for bizarre ideas about the supernatural that can be positively dangerous.