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Conversion therapy church leaders letter.JPG
World News

Christian teachings will be protected from conversion therapy ban, gov tells church leaders

by Kelly Valencia

The government has promised church leaders Christian teachings will be protected from the ban on conversion therapy.

It’s as a group of church ministers met with the Government Equalities Office (GEO) to deliver a letter warning they are willing to be "criminalised" if a proposed ban stops them from teaching their faith.

Over 2,500 UK clergy signed the letter to the Equalities Minister, Liz Truss warning the current proposal would outlaw traditional Christian views on marriage and sexual ethics.

They are worried the ordinary work of churches, such as praying for someone with unwanted same-sex attraction, would be criminalised.

Rev Ian Paul, member of the Church of England's General Synod told Premier that, during the meeting, government officials were really clear that “it was not the intention of the government to outlaw mainstream Christian religious practice” but were also “adamant that the government is going to introduce legislation outlawing conversion therapy”.

A consultation on conversion therapy - which covers a variety of practices seeking to suppress or change someone's sexual orientation or gender identity - was delayed in December after the government faced criticism over wanting to rush it through.

The consultation ended earlier this month.

Rev Ian continued: “I think the difficulty we were left with is that those two claims seem to us to be incompatible, and irresolvable. Given that the way they couch the debate, given the lack of clarity of terms, given this extraordinary range of things, given the use of religious explicitly religious language, they seem to be running into a problem about how they can square that circle,” Rev Ian continued.

He delivered the letter together with Ray Brown, Senior Minister at East London Tabernacle and Trustee at Universities and Colleges Christian Union (UCCF), Dr Ros Clarke, Associate Director of the Church Society and Member of the Church of England’s General Syno, Rev. Matthew Roberts Minster of Trinity Church York, Dr Julie Maxwell, Paediatrician, Youth Worker St Mary’s Basingstoke and Rev. Dave Gobbett, lead pastor of Highfields church in Cardiff.

The legislation is expected to be brought to Parliament this spring.

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