Did Jennifer Garner Perform an Exorcism on Ben Affleck?

In its latest edition, the tabloid magazine National Enquirer published a salacious story claiming that “Alias” actress Jennifer Garner attempted to “exorcise” “Justice League actor (and her former husband) Ben Affleck, using the Bible. While the event may have happened, the magazine arguably went too far in using the term “exorcism.”

“SAINTLY Jennifer Garner performed a dramatic at-home exorcism on booze-soaked ex Ben Affleck before carting him off to rehab!” the Enquirer breathlessly claimed, in a print article that has not yet made it onto the Internet.

An anonymous source close to Jennifer Garner set the stage for the story: “Jen is a very religious person and she’s at the end of her rope with Ben’s endless screwups,” the source reportedly said. “Her spirituality has helped her through the most difficult times. Now she’s hoping it can do the same for Ben!”

The Enquirer reported that Ben Affleck received an at-home delivery of “what happened to be alcohol on Aug. 20.” Two days later, Garner arrived at his house.

“Jen dragged Ben inside the house and hold him that he needed to pray with her,” the source told the Enquirer. “She began to recite passages and scripture from the Bible aimed at delivering Ben from his addiction demons. As she prayed, Ben began to cry and collapse. It felt like an actual exorcism!”

The source added, “It was extremely emotional and left them both drained.”

The Enquirer reported that “after about 15 minutes of intense prayer,” Garner drove Affleck to a rehab facility.

The source explained that while Garner has given up on getting back together with Affleck — they finalized their divorce this year — she wants to help him overcome alcoholism so he can be a good father to their three children: Violet, 12, Seraphina, 9, and Samuel, 6. “Jen has no intention of working anything out with Ben, but she does want him to stay sober so he can be a father to their kids,” the source said.

So, what’s going on? Did Jennifer Garner actually perform an exorcism on Ben Affleck?

The short answer is no. A representative for Garner told Gossip Cop that “the exorcism claim is untrue.” Jennifer Garner is a Methodist, and formal exorcisms are mostly the domain of Roman Catholics. Some non-Catholics may attempt to practice exorcism — after all, Jesus Himself did it, and told His disciples to do it — but this is extremely rare.

That said, Garner likely did recite scripture to Affleck and pray with him, emotionally. The Bible is replete with passages warning against drunkenness. While scripture presents alcohol as a good gift of God, it consistently warns against drinking to excess.

“Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit,” reads Ephesians 5:18. “Wine is a mocker and beer a brawler, whoever is led astray by them is not wise,” reads Proverbs 20:1. Proverbs 23 warns that those who “tarry long over wine” will have “woe,” “sorrow,” “strife,” and “complaining.” This passage points a picture of the irredeemable drunkard: “You will be like one who lies down in the midst of the sea. … ‘They struck me,’ you will say, ‘but I was not hurt; they beat me, but I did not feel it. When shall I awake? I must have another drink.'”

The New Testament includes many exhortations to avoid drunkenness and to live holy lives. It is very likely Garner opened her Bible to a few of these passages, helped her ex-husband to see the light, and prayed for God to deliver him from his drunkenness.

Scripture, prayer, and mutual sobbing do not an exorcism make. I’d say the National Enquirer should know better, but … it is the National Enquirer, after all. Pray that Affleck might get the help he needs, and be a good father to his children.

Follow the author of this article on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.