Sarah Anderson, a member of the World Faith Fellowship in Spindale, North Carolina, thinks she knows the cure for homosexuality: beat it out of someone. In a court hearing, Anderson admitted to rallying 30 other church members to violently attack Matthew Fenner, another member of World Faith Fellowship, to “expel his homosexual demons.”
After Anderson labeled Fenner as “unclean and sinful,” Brooke Covington, the minister, led a two-hour verbal attack on Fenner, which started as verbal and then escalated to slapping, beating, and finally, choking. “God said there is something wrong in your life,” Covington allegedly told him.
“You can’t imagine the emotional toll this has taken on my life. I can’t do anything until this is over,” Fenner said. He recalled that he really thought he was “going to die.” Now, his life is “on hold.” In an interview with the Associated Press, he said, “I can’t do anything until this is over.”
Covington is facing charges of kidnapping and assault, but for leading a brutal attack on an innocent man, she only faces up to two years in prison. No charges have been filed for a hate crime though this is a classic case of one. In fact, if Fenner had died in the attack, it would have been a lynching. Thirty “Christians” beat a man for being gay.
This is not the first time World Faith Fellowship has used violence. The Associated Press’s investigation also concluded that church leaders ordered members to lie to authorities investigating reports of abuse. Two assistant district attorneys and a veteran social worker even coached the congregants and their children on what to say when being questioned by an authority. Since the investigation, both prosecutors and the social worker resigned.
Anderson herself is now a former member of the church. She left in 2015 after members of the church abused her 1-year-old son.
According to the World of Faith Fellowship, the Associated Press is trying to “incite hate crimes against us” and that “it appears that the accusers want the church doors closed.”
Don’t let those doors hit you on the way out!