Conversion Therapy: ‘Signs are not good’

Mar 2, 2024 by

by Nicola Laver, Evangelicals Now:

The Scottish Government is consulting on a far-reaching ‘conversion therapy’ ban on ‘any effort to change, suppress or inhibit a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity’.

The proposals include a new civil protection order that could be used ‘for preventing harm caused by individuals or institutions that conduct conversion practices on a wider scale’.

The Free Church of Scotland has warned of the implications for church trustees. Responding to the consultation, it said: ‘It could result in ministers, church workers and parents being disqualified from being trustees of charities or holding senior management positions in charities.’ Churches and other religious charities holding to orthodox Christian teaching could have their charitable status withdrawn.

John Mason, a Christian MSP, expressed ‘serious reservations’ about the proposals – particularly if a wide definition of conversion practices was introduced. He said: ‘The signs are not good and I find it difficult to see that I could support this legislation.’

He added: ‘A narrow definition outlawing physical actions (like torture or beatings) and close to the existing law would be broadly acceptable. But the wider the definition, and especially the inclusion of prayer in any ban, would be a particular problem for many people including myself.

‘For example, in the government consultation document it says: “Core to the definition of conversion practice is a purpose or intention to change or suppress another individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity.”

‘Firstly, that is problematic as the Bible teaches that we are to be self-controlled and not to give in to temptations, including sexual temptations. And if encouragement to “suppress” means encouragement to exercise self-control, then it would seek to change the teaching of most of the major churches, including evangelical and Catholic.’

The Evangelical Alliance (EA) said it is preparing its response to the proposals, but added that the law already covers abusive and forced practices. Fred Drummond, Scotland director of the EA said: ‘No law should prevent Christian leaders from teaching what they believe.

Nicola Laver

Read Evangelicals Now here


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