Churches should face ‘high-profile prosecutions’ in the future if they preach, pray, or offer pastoral counselling according to biblical sexual ethics.
That’s the call that has been made by former evangelical, Steve Chalke, who has organised a conference on the issue.
A press release sent by Chalke’s organisation, the Oasis Charitable Trust, outlandishly claims churches are already ‘skating on thin ice regarding the law’.
Together with other campaigners, he wants churches to be places where LGBT+ people are affirmed and so-called ‘conversion ministries’ are shut down.
He says it is ‘psychologically abusive’ to express pastoral concern or pray for people with unwanted same-sex attraction or gender confusion.
Under pressure from campaigners like Chalke, the government is currently considering whether to introduce laws in this area.
‘What churches often describe as pastoral concern,’ says Chalke, ‘is, in fact, a highly toxic and psychologically abusive environment where vulnerable LGBT+ people, many of them teenagers or even children, report that they have been taught to believe that their desires are “sinful”.’
If the government decided to go ahead with legislation in this area, it would not only impact on sp ecific ‘conversion ministries’, but also on any church that preaches, teaches, or counsels people according to biblical sexual ethics.
Chalke’s comments reflect those made by the Ozanne Foundation earlier this month. The Foundation was established by Jayne Ozanne, who describes herself as an evangelical Anglican, and is a leading campaigner for a ban on conversion therepy.
A letter, co-signed by the Bishop of Liverpool the Rt Revd Paul Bayes and the Moderator of the Baptist Union Revd David Mayne, urged the Prime Minister to introduce a law covering ‘the full range of religious practices’, including outlawing calls to sexual abstinence.
It also called for the law to prevent trans people who regret changing sex getting help to de-transition.
Mike Judge, editor