Friday 9 February 2018

The Evangelical Alliance UK on the Discourse of ‘Spiritual Abuse’

The Evangelical Alliance UK has published a report, which is critical of the term ‘spiritual abuse’ as well intended but not fit for purpose.

Revd Dr David Hilborn, Chair of Evangelical Alliance Theology Advisory Group which produced the report, said:

‘We take the harm caused by Emotional, Psychological and other forms of abuse in religious contexts very seriously indeed. The Alliance has worked closely with its partner organisations and member churches in this area. However, we are deeply uneasy about increasing usage of the unhelpful and potentially misleading term “Spiritual Abuse”. We believe the existing legal frameworks of Emotional and Psychological abuse are sufficient and need to be enforced in religious contexts, as in other contexts. However, creating a special category of “Spiritual Abuse” just for religious people potentially singles them out for criminalisation. As such, it carries the risk of religious discrimination, and threatens social cohesion. As a diagnostic term, “Spiritual Abuse” may be well-intended, but this report shows that it is not fit for purpose.’

The executive summary is available as a pdf here, and the full report here.

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