The gloves have come off in the dispute in Scotland over conversion therapies, those talk-based counseling sessions sought out by people who have unwanted same-sex attractions.
There long have been plans to restrict those discussions, to impose limits on what people involved, even religious leaders and counselors can say.
But now, according to a report from the Christian Institute, the Scots Equalities Committee is proposing that “religious teaching, prayer or other speech aimed at groups or individuals which does not affirm their view of gender or sexuality should be criminalized.”
The institute called it the “most extreme legislation on conversion therapy in the Western world.”
The legislative body had cited a legal precedent in Australia, “which expressly bans prayer,” as “one of the best practice examples” of a conversion therapy ban.
According to the institute, the 45-page report claims “ordinary religious teaching or the right of people to take part in prayer or pastoral care to discuss, explore or come to terms with their identity” should only be permitted if conducted in a “non-judgmental and non-directive way.”
The legislative plan apparently would ban any mention of sin, which Jesus openly condemned in the Bible, even though he did not condemn the sinner.
The proposal claims that “most conversion practices take place within a religious setting” and those “practices should fall within a ban,” the institute explained.
The lawmakers on the committee also recommended a re-education program for Christians, suggesting they be told to accept the committee’s LGBT promotions.
Simon Calvert, deputy director for public affairs at The Christian Institute, said, “If Scotland were to implement all the demands of this report we would end up with the most extreme legislation on conversion therapy in the Western world.
“Everyone understands that there have been abuses in the past and no one defends that. But MSPs on the committee have made no effort to approach this in a balanced, human rights compliant way and as a result their recommendations are unbalanced and, frankly, repressive.”
He warned that the lawmakers actually are targeting “conversations based on beliefs and individual viewpoints.”
His warning continued:
“The committee wants a ban on seeking to ‘suppress an individual’s expression of sexual orientation or gender identity’ on the basis that ‘any sexual orientation or gender identity is inherently preferable to any other.’ Christians believe in showing gentleness to all and reject the description of their beliefs and practices as forms of ‘suppression.’ But you can easily see how gently teaching a trans-identifying young person that God made us male and female could be viewed as ‘seeking to suppress’ their expression of gender identity. And explaining to a gay friend the church’s traditional teaching that sex should only take place within man-woman marriage could be deemed an attempt to suppress their expression of sexual orientation.”
The institute also said the report “targets church teachings about sin and repentance, as well as churches’ attempts to uphold those teachings.”
“Teaching a church member that sex outside of marriage is a sin and praying with them, at their request, that God would give them grace to resist temptation will be viewed by some as seeking to suppress sexual orientation,” Calvert warned. “But this is what churches do in relation to all kind of temptations, not just those relating to sex. It’s an expression of religion that is protected by equality and human rights law and the parliament can’t outlaw it.”
The report cited LGBT activist Jayne Ozanne who wants to allow only prayers “that create an open and safe place into which people can go and where any outcome is acceptable…”
In Australia, pastors have been informed, “that no person’s sexuality or gender identity is broken or sinful, and to suggest so contravenes the intent of the new laws.”
“We are to affirm peoples sexual orientation and preferences and ‘the love of God’ in that!'” they’ve been told.
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