By Bob Unruh
October 30, 2021
A new campaign has been launched by the Christian Institute in the United Kingdom to oppose an agenda that would make some praying illegal.
The problem is with pending plans by lawyers and government officials to address “conversion therapy,” and one of the provisions is 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.
Nevertheless the plans remain and now are being addressed by the institute’s “Let Us Pray” campaign.
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.
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. Proponent of the ban activist Alicia Kearns said, “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.'”
Another, Matthew Hyndman, charged, “Those who resist legislation against conversion therapy often resist the idea of a prayer or a pastoral conversation being subject to the scrutiny of law. However, if these things take place in an overwhelmingly homophobic or transphobic context the pernicious power of prayer must be dealt with.”
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.
Campaign spokesman Simon Calvert said: “We simply want to protect the human rights of Christians to teach and practice their beliefs. A conversion therapy ban should target abuse, not prayer.”
The campaign explains it should not be illegal for Christians to teach their faith, or for people to pray for their friends.
The ban as proposed would outlaw, according to the institute, “praying with friends about unwanted feelings of same-sex attraction,” “church ministers from urging people to repent of sexual sin,” “inviting gay people to follow the Bible’s teaching on celibacy and marriage,” and “Sunday schools and youth groups from advocating the Christian sexual ethic.”
WND previously reported the institute had told Prime Minister Boris Johnson and others in government that such a ban would be problematic.
The dispute, like in the United States, has pitted those who advocate for transgender procedures and more against those who want to be able to counsel those, especially children, with gender dysphoria on accepting their biological sex.
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.
But LGBT advocates have worked to have banned any “talk” that would encourage that pathway, instead saying only counseling that encourages a transgender agenda should be allowed.
The institute’s message was,”While the Institute does not oppose a ban that protects people from harmful pseudo-medical practices, the idea that ‘gentle non-coercive prayer’ should be included in a list of illegal actions is alarming. In any event, it would violate the human rights of believers.”
It added, “Those pushing for the ban to include ordinary prayer seem to attribute the worst possible motives to those of us who hold different theological beliefs from them. They are not willing to listen to mainstream Christian groups or to their concerns. Now they have gone a step further by stating that the legislation should cover not only practices they consider coercive but all forms of prayer, no matter how mild.”
Several states in the United States have banned it, especially for minors, although they still allow counseling that encourages the dysphoria, including transgenderism.