“They allegedly strapped the victim to a chair with belts and doused her face with water,” he said.
She was confirmed dead early the next day when her mother called an ambulance after the girl fell unconscious.
“The cause of death is suffocation,” the police official said.
News reports said the two men poured water over her as an “exorcism” with the father holding the girl down while the monk chanted sutras.
Reports said the girl’s parents had turned to the monk after the youngster had suffered several years of mental and physical ill health that doctors had not been able to resolve.
It’s ugly. It’s tragic. It is also, essentially, the point of exorcism.
Exorcism is a cop-out. It’s a way of saying the people performing the exorcism just aren’t up to the task of humanely dealing with someone. Only it isn’t those people’s fault, of course. It isn’t a question of impatience or lack of skills needed to deal with someone unusual. It’s a demon, and it must be banished.
If the choice were banishing, or outright killing, the person receiving the exorcism instead of torturing them in the name of religion until they break or die, I think the calculus would be different. It is a much harder thing to admit that you can’t handle a person the way they are than to vent your frustrations in the name of “helping them.” The gloss of good and evil and powers beyond what a human can control is a polite, inhumane lie.
So let’s just admit the truth out loud, now and whenever one of these cases comes up. You don’t perform an exorcism if you ever want to see the person in front of you–the person they are now–again. You don’t commit an exorcism unless your intent is to kill.