When it comes to banning conversion therapy, many people would think it’s only right to end horrific and abusive practices.
They are right. No abuse should be allowed to carry on in our society.
But many Christians are concerned that a ‘conversion therapy’ ban is not what it seems.
The term ‘conversion therapy’ doesn’t make much sense – everyone is actually agreed on that. LGBT activists want to use the term ‘conversion practices’, because, as they rightly point out, ‘therapy’ is supposed to help, not harm.
But Christians also ask about the term ‘conversion’. It’s a word that has several meanings. But the thought that usually comes first to mind is of a person becoming a Christian. It is fundamental to what many believe.
Many of the activists calling for a ban are directly targeting the beliefs of such Christians. For many LGBT campaigners, ‘conversion therapy’ has much less to do with changing someone’s feelings, and much more to do with following Jesus Christ.
Unlike banning conversion therapy, banning ‘conversion’ isn’t a new thing.
Today in India, various regions have bans on ‘forced conversion’. They argue the laws are necessary to prevent abusive practices – coercion of the weak and vulnerable – carried out against those of the majority Hindu religion.
But the reality does not match up to the claims.
Instead, the laws are used to prevent Christians from sharing their faith with anyone – regardless of force or coercion – while exemptions for ‘reconversion’ mean those from Hindu communities do not face similar restrictions.
Instead of protecting the vulnerable, these laws actively discriminate against Christians and other minority religions. There are no known convictions. Instead, spurious accusations and false arrests are used to shut down religious voices.
The simple fact is that these ‘forced conversion’ laws give those who hold the majority viewpoint a veto over those they disagree with.
We all like to think such attempts to limit people’s freedom of belief are long gone in the West. We are told of the importance of tolerating others’ viewpoints and protecting freedom of speech.
But limiting Christian freedom is precisely what many LGBT activists seek.
They say ‘conversion therapy’ must be banned to end horrific practices no one could condone. But knowing these abuses are already illegal, they demand the law go much further. They say Christians should face the courts for ‘gentle non-coercive prayer’, pastoral care, and even ‘casual conversations’.
Incredibly, they say no one can consent to living in line with the Bible’s teaching; that those who agree with gospel truth are merely weak and brainwashed and need to be protected by criminal law.
These claims are incredibly repressive. Such laws would see religious freedom destroyed. They would ensure Christians are falsely accused and prevented from speaking out in the UK.
A conversion therapy ban could give LGBT activists a veto over the ordinary work of churches. It is a clear attempt to silence any who would encourage repentance and faithful living.
Activists may say they want to ban ‘conversion therapy’, but many would argue they want to ban ‘conversion’.
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