A Conservative MP has listed ‘prayer sessions’ alongside abhorrent acts such as ‘corrective rape’ as she called on the government to ban so-called ‘conversion therapy’.
Campaigners want a complete ban on any institution urging anyone, by any means, to change or resist LGBT practices.
This could make it illegal for churches to advocate biblical sexual ethics in sermons, prayers, bible studies, or pastoral counselling.
Writing in the House Magazine, a publication for MPs and Peers, Conservative politician Alicia Kearns demanded the law be changed.
She says any attempt to ‘convert’ someone away from a lesbian, gay, or bisexual lifestyle should be made a criminal offence.
Also, it should be made unlawful for anyone to try to prevent a gender transition, says the MP for Rutland and Melton.
In her article, which can be read online, she said any attempt to stop someone from expressing their chosen gender identity or sexual orientation is ‘conversion therapy’.
She added that it ‘can range from “therapy” and prayer sessions, to aversive treatments like electroshocks or even “corrective” rape’.
She also said family courts should be given strong new powers to issue ‘protection orders’ against parents.
While she accepts some provision will have to be made for ‘complex discussions around faith and sexuality’, she doesn’t want that to slow down the legislative process.
Reacting to the article, Ciarán Kelly, a Deputy Director at The Christian Institute, said, ‘It is outrageous to suggest that praying with someone is in any way comparable to rape.
‘Christians everywhere naturally oppose the abusive practices mentioned. But they are already illegal.
‘Banning prayer and pastoral care of people with unwanted same-sex attraction or gender confusion would be unacceptable.
‘And parents everywhere will be horrified at the prospect of being threatened with a court order for warning their kids off damaging puberty blockers.’
Meanwhile, in Northern Ireland, a politician is facing calls to resign because he tweeted a link to the story of a gay man who turned celibate after converting to Christianity (see p.2).
And last month the Australian state of Victoria passed a new law which bans religious practices – including prayer – that seek to change or suppress a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.
Mike Judge, Editor