Boris flip-flops over conversion therapy

Boris flip-flops over conversion therapy
Prime minister Boris Johnson CREDIT: Number 10 / Flickr
Mike Judge
Mike Judge Mike Judge. Editor of Evangelical Times, and pastor of Chorlton Evangelical Church in Manchester.
22 April, 2022 2 min read

In an astonishing period lasting less than 24 hours, Prime Minister Boris Johnson decided to drop a ban on so-called ‘conversion therapy’, but then he backtracked under pressure from LGBT campaigners.

It was announced there will be a conversion therapy ban after all, but it will only cover homosexuality and not transgenderism.

A group of church leaders then wrote to Boris Johnson to express ‘considerable concern’ over the government’s decision to press ahead with a ban.

They are concerned because a new criminal ban in this area has the potential to limit the freedom to preach, pray, pastor, or parent in line with biblical beliefs about marriage and sexual ethics.

The letter from church ministers – signed by pastors including Ray Brown, Matthew Roberts, and Graham Nicholls – says dropping the ban altogether was ‘exactly the right approach’.

They told the prime minister the ban was unnecessary, pointing out that ‘coercive and abusive practices are already well covered in UK law’.

The drama began on the evening of 31 March, after the April edition of ET had gone to print. A high-level government document was leaked to ITV’s LGBT correspondent, Paul Brand, a leading advocate for the ban.

The document set out plans for how to drop the ban in the least controversial way, and government sources at first confirmed that this was the prime minister’s intention.

The government memo – which has since been published in full on the ET website – says that the research basis for a ban is doubtful.

It also estimates that 30 MPs feel strongly against a ban, 30 strongly for it, and most others are ‘neutral’ or had yet to take a position.

But within hours of this document being leaked, LGBT activists in the media and elsewhere put enormous pressure on Number 10, and the prime minister speedily backtracked.

So a ban on conversion therapy remains a government proposal, albeit the ban won’t cover transgenderism.

A campaign by LGBT activists has started, which aims to get transgenderism included once again in a conversion therapy ban.

Activists decided to boycott the UK’s first international LGBT conference, called ‘Safe To Be Me’, leading to its cancellation.

Meanwhile, Boris Johnson waded into the wider debate about transgenderism, saying trans women shouldn’t compete in female sporting events.

And cabinet minister Jacob Rees-Mogg said on LBC Radio, ‘The Bible gives the best answer to this, Genesis 1:27, God made man in his own image, he made man, he made woman, he made both of them. I think God making us in his image is quite good enough for me.’

Mike Judge, Editor

Mike Judge
Mike Judge. Editor of Evangelical Times, and pastor of Chorlton Evangelical Church in Manchester.
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