‘Abandon conversion therapy law plans’, PM told
In the last week, several Christian groups have called for the Prime Minister to ditch plans for a new law on ‘conversion therapy’.
The Government’s legislative agenda will soon be set out in the King’s Speech on 7th November. Previously, it was reported in the press that a new law on conversion therapy would be included. Since then, some have speculated that it won’t get a mention, but that a draft Bill could still emerge at any time.
The Government has repeatedly promised a period of ‘pre-legislative scrutiny’ – where a draft version of a Bill is examined by a committee of MPs and Peers. But it has also been reported that there is recognition behind-the-scenes that the plans are deeply problematic.
There is an increasing awareness of the threat to religious freedom. A new law in this area is likely to criminalise the ordinary work of churches, as well as restricting the rights of parents. It is therefore unsurprising that so many have written to the Government with their concerns.
Association of Christian Teachers
The Association of Christian Teachers has written to the Prime Minister, calling on him to reconsider whether new legislation is needed.
Executive Officer Lizzie Harewood wrote:
“As Christians, we obviously support the protection of children from abuse. But we fear the broad definition of 'conversion therapy' used in all the discussions around this issue is bound to affect both the wording of the legislation and, crucially, its implementation by the police and the courts.
“Our concern is that any legislation in this highly controversial space may inadvertently harm children and potentially criminalise teachers. ACT calls for an urgent reconsideration of whether there is a need for new legislation.”
The letter explains that families, children and teachers are all at risk:
“While abusive and coercive methods must be condemned by all right-thinking people, they are already punishable under existing law.
“This proposed ban seems driven by lobby groups seeking to enforce their particular social and political perspectives, discriminating against families, children and teachers with differing views.
“Our members have no desire to become criminals, and as a Christian organisation, we place a high value on being law-abiding citizens. It is extraordinary that we find ourselves in a position where this could be jeopardised by the Government giving in to activists who are openly hostile to us because of our beliefs.”
Affinity is a network of over 1,200 churches and Christian organisations across the UK. It has also written to Rishi Sunak to express concerns about a possible new law on conversion therapy.
Its Director, Graham Nicholls, is an official supporter of Let Us Pray. His letter to the PM, on behalf of Affinity, explains:
“We believe any such legislation, however well intentioned, would criminalise most ordinary Christians and church leaders for expressing mainstream, orthodox beliefs.
“Therefore on behalf of our members, we would urge you to stand firm against this unreasonable curtailment of our freedom of thought and religion.”
He goes on to say that the proposals could be discriminatory towards Christians:
“…such a law would be discriminatory and a threat to the religious freedom of Christians and people of other faiths who have sincerely held views on these issues. We also believe it discriminates against individuals, denying their personal liberty to freely choose to seek prayer and pastoral support about their sexual orientation and desires.”
Greater Love Declaration
The Greater Love Declaration was produced a year ago, and is a statement affirming orthodox Christian teaching on marriage, sex and identity. It has been signed by over 1500 church leaders and over 2500 others.
The team behind the Declaration has also written to the PM, calling on the Government to drop any proposals for a new ‘conversion therapy’ law:
“We are writing to ask that you make a clear and final decision to drop the misguided proposal for a new law against ‘conversion therapy’, which is both unnecessary and fraught with dangers of unintended consequences.”
“... Christianity has always taught that God made us male and female, with the intention of sexual faithfulness in the marriage of one man and one woman, and sexual abstinence otherwise. This is how Christians are called to live.
“It holds, with the strongest of reasons, that this is what is best for every man, woman and child, for families, and for society as a whole. It is our God-given duty to teach and pastor people in the light of this; a duty which we will under no circumstances cease to carry out.”
Labour Party confusion over ‘conversion therapy’2023-11-21 12:33:00
The faulty foundations of a ‘conversion therapy’ law2023-11-16 15:19:39
‘Abandon conversion therapy law plans’, PM told2023-10-31 11:07:32