Gay Christian Student Recalls Being Hazed And Tortured For Hours By 15 Of His Fellow Church Members

Photo credit: Cameron Robert/Daily Tar Heel

In January 2013, Matthew Fenner (pictured) was captured, dragged into a dark room, pushed into a chair, and tortured for hours on end by members of his church who claimed they wanted to rid him of his “homosexual demons.” Last November, Fenner’s own mother and brother testified against him on behalf of his attackers, who have just been indicted on charges of kidnapping, strangulation and assault, the Daily Tar Heel reports.

The attack happened on January 27, 2013. Fenner was 20 years old and openly gay. He claims about 15 members of the Word of Faith Fellowship in Spindale, N.C., where he worshipped at the time, ganged up to beat the “homosexual demons” out of him.

First, they dragged him by the arm then shoved him into a chair, where they proceeded to beat him and call him a pervert and a sinner. As he was being choked by one of the church members, Fenner says he temporarily lost his vision. He was brought back to consciousness by jabs in the chest, neck, arms and stomach by at least five people.

“Matthew, I’m tired of this homosexual stuff,” minister Brooke Covington allegedly screamed into his ear as she beat him. “You’re either going to get it out of you, or I’m going to beat it out of you! You’re going to sit here for the next two days if you have to!”

“In the middle of all this,” Fenner later recalled, “I’m sitting there thinking to myself, ‘I’m going to die. I’m going to die. I’m going to die.”

The assault continued for two agonizing hours before his attackers grew tired and left.

A year and a half later, in November 2014, the case finally went before a grand jury. Seven members of the church, including Fenner’s mother and brother, testified against him, but it wasn’t enough to sway jury members. In the end, Adam Bartley, Brooke Covington, Justin Covington, Robert Walker Jr. and Anderson were all charged with felony second-degree kidnapping and misdemeanor simple assault. Anderson was charged with a second felony for strangulation.

The trial is set to begin in July of this year.

Fenner, who hopes to attend medical school after graduating from the University of North Carolina next year, tells the Daily Tar Heel that the horrors he faced at the hands of his fellow church members have inspired him to fight for others, including his mother and brother, who he believes are being held captive by the church.

“This has nothing to do with me,” he says. “I’m a very forgiving person, but I also realize that these people have gone a very long time without having to face repercussions for their actions. They’ve got to stop. You can’t use religion to permit abusing someone.”

h/t: Daily Tar Heel

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  • Gloria Anne

    Because torturing other humans is the “Christian” thing to do? It reminds me of Islam extremists who somewhat think it is ok to kill certain groups of people. These FUCKING bigots!!!

  • Dennis Patrick Ellis

    how do i not tune in2 this a happening?live off facebook*

  • AtticusBennett

    yup. i have a very good friend who was forced to undergo THREE “gay exorcisms” in his early teens. hours of being starved, hit, abused, “prayed” over, while he screamed and vomited. because, you know, demons are like totes a real thing.

  • Xzamilio

    He’s wrong about one thing… you can use religion to permit abusing someone. We as civilized moral human beings however ignore the blatantly immoral passages in archaic Abrahamic doctrine, which is why when we see those who gladly embrace it, we look at them as hateful people. Although, in this case he’s absolutely right… there’s nothing in the bible, torah, or koran talking about “homosexual demons”, even though the stuff these writings do say about us gays is not-a so good. Plus, there’s nothing about stomping and beating the crap out of someone, but of course, when you have the seeds planted, you can do just about anything to a group the bible deems “unworthy” and feel morally justified in doing so.

    Mmmm, Mmmm, Mmmm. Love me some of that gawd!!!

  • Tom Remillard

    All in the name of Christ, how christian of them.

  • John B Good

    Yeah religion all together is bad

  • John Howard Fearman

    It’s usually the ones that vehemently deny, strongly attack and denounce the most, who are themselves the very thing they despise. If only they had been brought up properly.

  • Atrius

    Crap like this makes me so glad I’m atheist.

  • polarisfashion

    @Atrius: Stuff like this and greed from the church is the reason I left. The fact that God allows atrocities to be carried out in his name is the reason I can’t accept him. And don’t get me started on the sins of the Catholic Church! And these televangelists that get on TV and beg for money, all in the name of God. I hope this guy’s attackers get long prison terms were they can have all the gay sex they could never want!

  • jwtraveler

    Anything and everything is permissible in the name of religious faith. Isn’t that the message of laws like the one passed in Indiana? I’m sure many of these people would argue that they’re exempt from prohibitions against kidnapping and torture because their religion compels them to use whatever means necessary to exorcise gay people of demonic possession.
    It is IMPOSSIBLE to protect civil rights AND protect the right to ignore them. American society will have to make a choice about whether to embrace civil right or allow theocratic intrusion into our citizens’ lives.

  • Alexander R. Rodriguez

    Where’s the stories of gays being tortured by Muslims you Christophobic cunts…

  • Saint Law

    @Alexander R. Rodriguez: “Christophobia” lol. As if there is anything irrational about fear of Christians!

    But, yeah, you’re right. Torture is only bad when committed by Muslamic extremists.

  • NoCagada

    @Alexander R. Rodriguez: I’ve seen several on QUEERTY, alone…items about IRAN and what they do in the name of their god…seen them here about IRAQ…and PAKISTAN…where have you been?

  • Xzamilio

    @Alexander R. Rodriguez: Well that is a good point? I do find that we as liberals (I’m starting to lean away from that label) can easily point out the evils of Christianity, but rarely do we have this level of scrutiny concerning Islam, and LGBT individuals in the Middle East are being murdered by some of these radicals. But, let’s not pretend that the pendulum swings evenly in America when it comes to these two religions… Christianity is by the far the most influential religion in this country, and the majority of our population is Christian, or at least identifies as so. You hear more about Christianity almost entirely because of the fact that this is a majority-Christian country… there is no “Christophobia”. What you have is people sick of you using your sky daddy to impose religious nonsense on our laws and to justify horribly immoral acts against your fellow human being.


  • Billy Budd

    I repeat, there is something terribly wrong about the world. How on earth can people beat a boy until he is unconscious, just because he prefers carrots instead of oysters?

  • jwtraveler

    @Alexander R. Rodriguez: Thank you for that warm expression of Christian love.

  • Eloweez Rainbowz

    Happens here every single day. Y I will never set foot in a church…. EVER

  • Giancarlo85

    @Alexander R. Rodriguez: Why don’t you take your hateful nasty vendetta somewhere else? Nobody cares what you think. And people like you have done such a fine job supporting the Ugandan dictatorship.

    I have a problem with all religions that seek to harm others, and that includes both Christianity and Islam.

  • Transiteer

    Atheists know that this is wrong. Christians don’t? Or are they Christian or just pretending with the “set” (church etc) around them.
    This shows again, that there is NO god, there was NO Jesus (cause no one is listening to what he supposedly said), and that the Bible is a work of poorly written Fiction.
    Leave the Church, and find a group of Secular Humanists to spend your time with. Atheists are a far superior group of people to associate with than the lunacy of Christians who do these sorts of things. It’s very Pagan.
    Religion is Poison, and a way to control people, bilk them out of their money, and hold power over others. It’s crowd control. You don’t need it.

  • Pete Sims

    Please stop the advertising pop up. To force someone to read and see something is very wrong.

  • Mark Pointon

    He should have burnt the fuckin church down…

  • ted72

    As long as you hold a deep religious belief, you’re OK

  • Robert Litman

    “You can’t use religion to allow abusing someone,” he says, but he’s wrong. It’s done all the time, especially by born again evangelical Christians.

  • Richard Holaday

    I find it difficult “liking” a post like this ???

  • John Kuehnle

    I was thinking the same thing, what is wrong with society?

  • martinbakman

    If that was truly a religious event, wouldn’t someone have taken up a collection?

  • Will Millington

    Once again people using religion to abuse people….so wrong.????

  • Giancarlo85

    Where is that maude troll? Not one word in this article. He’s always excusing religious right wingers.

  • NateOcean


    (Who Whould Jesus Torture?)

  • mcflyer54

    @Alexander R. Rodriguez: Where in THIS story does it say anything that warrants the condemnation of any other religion that commits these atrositities? This was apparently just your attempt to redirect attention from the hateful Christians at this young man’s church. Believe me Jesus would be so proud of you Alex for you nasty name calling which obviously is a result of your “Christian” upbringing. If not allowing Christians to force their religion on other people makes one a “Christiaphoba” then I’ll proudly accept the title.

  • Billysees

    @John Howard Fearman:

    “It’s usually the ones that vehemently deny, strongly attack and denounce the most, who are themselves the very thing they despise.”

    That’s true. ‘Love others as yourself’ is too difficult for some.

    “If only they had been brought up properly.”

    How can you be brought up properly in the midst of super-conservative religious fundamentalism?

  • Kevan1

    ,\..and these people call themselves Christians. That is not what I learned about God as a Christian.

  • dwbyers1960

    Totally made up.

  • Giancarlo85

    @dwbyers1960: No not made up. Thanks for sharing how stupid you are.

  • Will L

    The Inquisition still exists. It’s just changed its form over the centuries.

  • jwtraveler

    Kill a queer for Jesus.

  • Evji108

    Christians have been looking for the antichrist in every place except for where it actually is – The Christan Church. Everything that evangelical Christians stand for is the exact opposite of what Jesus stood for and preached.
    “We have found the enemy, and he is us.”

Comments are closed.