A new report from the United Kingdom indicates that the government there is now dropping the idea of a ban on Christian prayer as part of its move against so-called “conversation therapy.”
The Christian Institute is reporting that the government itself announced prayer will not be outlawed.
At the same time, the institute warned that the “devil will be in the detail” of the plan that still is being developed.
The government word came in the form of a statement from the government that was from Women and Equalities Minister Liz Truss.
It was confirmed by a letter to the Christian Institute from Mike Freer, a member of parliament, who said, “Our proposed package of measures will not impact everyday religious practice and we are clear that private prayer of course could not be considered to be conversion therapy.
“The freedom to express the teachings of any religion will not be affected by the ban, and there should be no doubt that individuals will still be able to access support and counsel from religious leaders.”
Simon Calvert, a spokesman for the institute’s “Let Us Pray” campaign, said, “We welcome the fact that the government has rejected the demands of campaigners who want to criminalize prayers that fail to endorse liberal theology. The government has clearly recognized 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.”
He explained, “LGBT people who come to a Bible-believing church get the same warm welcome as anyone else. And most of them are not surprised to find that the church believes things that they don’t. That’s what freedom of religion means.
“But some who oppose the church’s teaching, having failed to win the argument by persuasion, want the criminal law to settle their theological disputes. The government must remain firm in its resolve not to give them what they seek.”
WND previously reported on the dispute that has developed not only in the U.K., but also in the United States.
The problem was with pending plans by lawyers and government officials to address “conversion therapy,” and one of the provisions was that some of the “solutions” would literally make praying for people illegal.
The institute explained that top human rights lawyer Jason Coppel has confirmed that there would be problems with a decision to criminalize the “expression of mainstream Christian beliefs about marriage” because that action likely would violate the European Convention on Human Rights.
Conversion therapy is a term for actions that are used to allow people to establish their lives in their own birth sex. It allows males who have unwanted homosexual attractions to address those issues in their lives, for example.
Its detractors call it “conversion therapy” but what it involves essentially is counseling for a person to work through their unwanted feelings of gender dysphoria.
In the past, extreme quack treatments like electric shock and illegal “corrective rape” were used by some of those who called themselves therapists. At this time, treatment by recognized counselors involves almost exclusively talk therapy.
And that’s what implicates prayer. Activist Alicia Kearns said, in support of a prayer ban, “Conversion therapy can range from ‘therapy’ and prayer sessions, to aversive treatments like electroshocks or even ‘corrective’ rape.”
The pro-LGBT Ozanne Foundation said, “This is not a matter of freedom of speech… this harmful practice is unfortunately promoted and practiced primarily by religious leaders… the ban must… ensure that no loopholes are created that allow those who practice conversion therapy to offer help in ‘changing one’s behavior.’”
And from activist Jayne Ozanne herself: “I would strongly refute that ‘gentle non-coercive prayer’ should be allowed. All prayer that seeks to change or suppress someone’s innate sexuality or gender identity is deeply damaging and causes immeasurable harm.”
The campaign warns that a ban on prayer, preaching and pastoral advice as suggested would put the nation in conflict with international law.
Similar arguments have developed in the United States, where LGBT promoters have convinced some states to restrict such counseling already, but the moves there have not gone as far as to implicate prayer.
Studies have shown that a vast majority of minors with those issues eventually grow out of them and accept living in their unaltered biological body.
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