What Conversion Therapy Counseling Bans Really Mean

Sep 26, 2020 by

by Rick Plasterer, Juicy Ecumenism:

Civil rights doctrine has been very strong public policy since the mid-twentieth century. This writer has argued that few if any civil rights categories beyond race are reasonable. In particular, personal behavior cannot consistently be treated as free and equal without mandating anarchy. Yet sexual orientation and gender identity doctrine depends on identifying people with their behavior. This can only be done on the basis of sensibility, not liberty or equality.

But so has free speech doctrine been important. We have thus been in a paradoxical situation in which what can be taught (separation from sin) cannot be practiced. The next move in LGBT liberation is to attack this as well. Outside the United States, where there is no First Amendment, it can be done with hate speech laws. This is likely to apply to speech in public, not in private. But now even private speech is being attacked, with a strategy which may work in the United States as well.

The avenue of attack is provided by the war against voluntary counseling to overcome homosexual attraction and behavior. Once called “reparative therapy” by its supporters, it is referred to as “conversion therapy,” by its adversaries. It is outlawed in an increasing number of jurisdictions. Simply outlawing psychiatric efforts to change sexual orientation represents a grave threat to freedom of religion and freedom of speech, and to patients’ ability to seek the counseling they want. It also threatens parental rights to direct the education and socialization of their children. But the gravest threat is that “conversion therapy” will be legally defined as any expression of opposition to homosexuality or transgenderism. Thus even books, including the Bible, would be covered by the definition, as well as pastoral counseling, and the private discussions of parents with children.

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