Church leaders warn Boris Johnson his ‘conversion therapy’ reversal puts pastors at risk

Apr 3, 2022 by

from Christian Today:

Church leaders have written to U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson to express their “considerable concern” after a double U-turn by the government this week on banning so-called conversion therapy.

The government said it would be dropping the ban altogether and instead review how existing law could be used to prevent abusive practices. But just hours later, it backtracked under pressure from LGBT activists.

In a clarification, the government said it would be bringing in a ban on conversion therapy for gay and bisexual people but not transgender people.

Writing to the prime minister, nine church leaders have called on the government to reconsider its decision to push ahead with an LGB ban.

They welcomed the decision to exclude trans issues but raised concerns about the impact on the religious freedom of Christians and church pastors.

“[It] remains the case that a poorly-drafted ‘LGB only’ conversion therapy law could still criminalize mainstream Christian teaching and ministry, by making it illegal for us to teach people and help people of every age to live according to the Christian understanding of marriage,” the letter reads.

The church leaders ask for “urgent clarification” on whether the government intends to make it illegal to teach and pastor people according to the Christian view of marriage.

They say that it would be “exactly the right approach” to use existing law to hold abusers to account rather than bring in a ban “since coercive and abusive practices are already well covered in U.K. law.”

“We have no interest in defending any kind of disreputable practices which purport to ‘cure’ homosexual or transgender feelings,” they write.

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