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Encouraging words, but where’s the detail?

December 2021 | by Evangelical Times

It is encouraging to read what the government has written in its public consultation document on criminalising so-called ‘conversion therapy’. They say they don’t want to catch ordinary church practices. Nor do they intend to stop parents from bringing up their children in accordance with biblical values. And they say, ‘simply expressing the teachings of a religion will not constitute conversion therapy.’

However, the consultation document is very light on specific details. So Christians must keep pressing the government to make good on these promises. If you haven’t already done so, and if the deadline of 10 December is not yet past, ET would urge you to respond to the consultation. The website makes it easy for you to respond.

But keep an eye on the Scottish Parliament. There are separate plans to introduce a ban on ‘conversion therapy’ north of the border. And the ban there may be much broader and more dangerous than in England and Wales. Activists know they could get more of what they want from the government in Edinburgh than the one in London.

A committee in the Scottish Parliament has been taking evidence on this issue. And the evidence presented by one liberal church leader shows the real intention behind this proposal. Revd Fiona Bennett of Augustine United Reformed Church in Edinburgh says a ban on conversion therapy ‘would be very, very helpful’ in pushing a pro-LGBT theology in the church.

That’s it in a nutshell. They want to criminalise their theological opponents. They want to silence the Bible’s teaching on sexual ethics. They want to handcuff faithful ministers of the gospel. That is why this is such an important issue.

So yes, we are encouraged by what the Westminster government has said. But without the details, we must keep on praying and acting to defend free speech and religious liberty – and do so throughout the whole of the UK.