You know the story won’t end well when it involves a religious rehab clinic.
In Sydney, Australia, some people have been ordered by the courts to spend time in the Healing House, a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center. But a new report from ABC Investigations finds that it’s basically a faith-based torture chamber for people who simply wanted to get better.
Said one victim whose bail was dependent on going to the Healing House:
“It was an absolute nightmare. I was mentally more sound in jail. I asked to go back to jail.“
What’s wrong with the place? First, there’s the literal filth:
“When I first walked in [to the Healing House] I was just gobsmacked. The filth and the dirt in the place was just unbelievable,” [former resident Francis Loy] said.
“There were kids running around. There were flies stuck to all the benches in the kitchen. There was plates and dish washing that hadn’t been washed and half-eaten meals, half-cooked meals. The fridges were disgusting.“
That’s disgusting, but that’s not a religion-specific problem. Those were separate:
At least seven residents were reluctantly baptised in one of the bathrooms at the Healing House. A number of them have told ABC Investigations they felt they didn’t have a choice. One of them is a Muslim.
The centre has no staff, nor any qualified medical or mental health professionals on site. Residents are instead fed a daily diet of fringe religious teachings and bizarre online videos as part of a “Christ-centered Structured Recovery Model.”
If it’s “Christ-centered,” that’s usually code for a lack of any supporting evidence that shows the methods work. In fact, not only is the place unregulated, the people in charge have no qualifications. They’re just Christian and think that gives them power to do whatever they want no matter how harmful it may be.
The drug and alcohol rehabilitation sector is unregulated. It means there is no oversight, no requirement to uphold certain standards and no minimum qualifications for staff.
In a statement to ABC Investigations, NSW Police said they “do not conduct checks as offenders are referred to the programs by the courts.”
The NSW Attorney General, the NSW Chief Magistrate and the Federal assistant Minister for charities have declined to comment.
In other words, the clinic was given the benefit of the doubt because it’s faith-based and it turned out the Christians in charge couldn’t be trusted. If the police can’t take action, it’ll be up to the courts to make sure no faith-based, non-regulated clinic is ever offered to people as an option.
The founder of the place, Meredith Raymonde, wouldn’t speak to reporters and shut down her YouTube channel. But the other board members — Fini de Gersigny, Dr. Seinyenede Onobrakpor, and Amra Sehic — haven’t defended their actions either. Why do they enjoy hurting so many people in the name of Jesus? When are they going to apologize? Why haven’t they quit?
On Facebook yesterday, Raymonde posted a comment about how many women she had helped.
There’s no apology. Just a note that she’s “doing my best.” If her intentions are the only thing she has going for her — and it’s not like she has professional credentials that would say otherwise — she needs to quit and stop punishing women who need help, not Jesus.
(Thanks to Chris for the link)