UK ‘conversion therapy’ ban won’t criminalise pastoral counselling

Christian Post 14 April 2021
U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has assured that pastors will not face criminal charges for counseling individuals seeking help with unwanted same-sex attraction as Parliament seeks to ban so-called “conversion therapy.”

In a March 27 letter responding to concerns raised by the Evangelical Alliance and its 3,500 member churches that clergy might potentially face criminal prosecution, the prime minister said: “As the Government made clear in 2018, when we first made our commitment to end conversion therapy, we will continue to allow adults to receive appropriate pastoral support (including prayer), in churches and other religious settings, in the exploration of their sexual orientation or gender identity.”

Along with several other religious groups, the Evangelical Alliance has offered its support of the plans to prohibit the practice of conversion therapy that the government is seeking to ban, provided that freedoms remain for individuals who adhere to biblically-based Christian teachings on marriage and sexual ethics.

Johnson added in his letter, “Like you, I do not want to see clergy and church members criminalized for normal non-coercive activity.”In the Evangelical Alliance’s letter to Johnson dated March 15, its Director, Peter Lynas, asked the government to clarify what it means by conversion therapy and said that a blanket prohibition would violate the individual rights of same-sex attracted people and would “threaten the everyday practices of churches, church leaders, and Christians across the U.K.”

A bill banning conversion therapy is expected to make its way through Parliament later this year.

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