Govt pledge not to ban prayer in ‘conversion therapy’ ban is welcome, but “the devil will be in the detail”
The Let Us Pray campaign has welcomed the UK Government’s pledge that its ban on so-called conversion therapy will target coercive pseudo-therapies and will not outlaw prayer and the ordinary work of churches.
But the new campaign, launched this week, warned that the legislation will have to be very carefully crafted to fulfil this pledge.
Let Us Pray also urged the Government not to cave in to the demands of activists who see the ban as a means of attacking the theology of Bible-believing churches.
Simon Calvert, a spokesperson for the Let Us Pray campaign, said:
“We welcome the fact that the Government has rejected the demands of campaigners who want to criminalise prayers that fail to endorse liberal theology. The Government has clearly recognised that this would be a serious breach of human rights.
“However, we have yet to see the specifics of the Government’s proposals to ensure it delivers on its pledge. The devil will be in the detail. They must ensure the legislation does not result in vicars being prosecuted for praying with members of the congregation who ask for prayer about their sexuality.
“Everybody supports protecting people from dangerous pseudo-medical practices and physical abuse. The Government’s proposals clearly aim to do that. But activists are trying to pressure the Government to bring in a draconian law that would effectively give them a veto on the teaching and practice of churches. It is frankly repugnant for them to exploit legitimate concerns about the abuse of gay people to further their own hostility against evangelical churches and the people who worship in them.”
The kind of law called for by Ban Conversion Therapy,the leading campaigners on this issue, would, according to a leading QC, lead to numerous ordinary and harmless church activities being put at risk of criminalisation. Jason Coppel QC said this would breach the UK’s obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights.
A Ban Conversion Therapy spokesperson, Jayne Ozanne, has expressly called for “gentle, non-coercive prayer” to be outlawed.
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