The Christian Institute has told the government it will take legal action if the proposed conversion therapy ban outlaws the ‘wrong kind of prayer’.
As outlined in the front-page story of this issue, the Queen’s Speech confirmed that Boris Johnson’s government will bring forward measures to ban so-called ‘conversion therapy’.
But in a legal opinion, Jason Coppel QC told The Christian Institute that activists’ proposed definitions of the law would criminalise the ordinary work of churches.
Coppel warned that prayer, evangelism, church membership, baptism, and communion could all breach a broad conversion therapy law like the one recently passed in Victoria, Australia.
He stated that such legislation would contravene UK human rights laws, which protect ‘the freedom of church organisations to preach’ [and] ‘require conformity’ to its beliefs on sexual ethics and gender identity.
Simon Calvert, deputy director of public affairs for the Christian Institute, commented, ‘A ban on spiritual guidance and prayer would be tyrannical and unworkable.
‘We must not allow activists to exploit legitimate concerns as a cover for pursuing anti-religious agendas.
‘Most people would be horrified by the prospect of someone being convicted for praying “the wrong kind of prayer”. We must not allow activists to exploit legitimate concerns as a cover for pursuing anti-religious agendas.’
He said if the government were to introduce the kind of broad ban demanded by the activists, he was confident a court would find it to be a breach of human rights law.