An Oklahoma church is now under investigation for allegedly holding down a gay man in an attempt to pray his sexuality away.
The family of 23-year-old Sean Cormie urged him and his partner, Gary Garner, to attend services at First Assembly of God Church in Blackwell, Oklahoma. The family had been insisting that Cormie visit the church since he came out as gay last spring. After months of denying the invitation, the couple finally decided to go on Sept. 8. “I wanted to go to church and make my mom proud,” Cormie said.
Following the service, the pastor Bill McKissick started preaching about homosexuality, and approximately 12 church members began surrounding the couple, Cormie explained. “They hold me down, pin me down, and I’m crying, and the Holy Spirit just comes through me, and they keep speaking in tongues, praying over me,” Cormie said. “I was just crying, ‘Mercy, mercy.'”
Cormie said Garner was pushed out of the church and just as he tried to leave with him, he was punched in the face and held down by the congregation. After the incident, Cormie filed a police report with the Blackwell Police Department. Police Chief Dwayne Wood confirmed to NBC News that the investigation is ongoing. McKissick and his wife, Tami, who is also a pastor at the same Pentecostal church, issued a statement on Facebook about the incident, stating that the church’s congregation “is comprised of people from all different backgrounds.”
“In response to allegations that have been made, this incident began as a family matter that escalated. Our church would never condone restraint of any person unless they were engaged in violent activity,” the McKissicks wrote. “There is much more to this story, and we are cooperating fully with law enforcement to bring all of the facts to light as a rush to judgment is not in anyone’s best interest,”
Cormie said that he has received several threats from the community demanding that he drop the investigation, but Cormie wants justice to be served. “I love the pastors with all my heart, but what they did was totally wrong. I want some kind of consequences out of it,” he told KFOR-TV. “I want it to be heard and known because it really saddens my heart.”