Church leaders intervene in Scottish conversion therapy ban

Religious figures from various churches and denominations across Scotland have contacted the Government to ask it to reconsider a plan to move forward with a ban on all practices designed to inhibit, suppress or restrict a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity to change.

The Scottish Government has committed to a full and comprehensive ban on these practices, a cornerstone of the Bute House Agreement between the Scottish Greens and the SNP.

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The group argues that the phrase “conversion therapy/practices” is too broad a term, covering everything from “corrective rape” and electroshock therapy to what they call criminalizing “innocent Christians for teaching what Christians.” have always taught.”

READ MORE: Warning ban on conversion therapy would ‘criminalize parents’

Some 20 church leaders from the Church of Scotland, the Scottish Episcopal Church, the Elim Penetecostal Church and others have written to newly appointed Equality Secretary Emma Roddick.

Religious groups have previously said they are considering legal action against the government over what they have described as the “world’s most totalitarian ban on conversion therapy”.

Reverend Dr William Philip of Tron Church, Glasgow, a co-signer of the letter, described the advisory group’s recommendations as “alarming”.

He added: “The portrayal – as law protecting LGBT people from abuse – is disingenuous; all of this abuse and coercion is already illegal by law.

“It is these proposals that are abusive towards ordinary people, including loving parents who protect their children – simply by speaking to them, praying for them or daring to go against LGBT ideology.

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“The threat of punishment against church leaders and churches for upholding Christian doctrine; terrorizing mothers and fathers with the specter of depriving them of parental rights simply for trying to help their children navigate a normal adolescence – are these really the hallmarks of a free and tolerant society?”

His co-signer, Professor David Galloway of Lennox Evangelical Church in Dumbarton, said it was a call from church leaders “to share the good news with all communities,” including LGBT people.

He said abuse and coercion could never be supported, adding: “[These] are completely contrary to the teachings of the Bible.

“But we have a duty to lead our churches to live for Christ as He taught us.

“And that means teaching what the Bible says about all areas of life — including sexuality and gender.

“No evidence-based argument for a new law was made and no gaps in the existing law were identified.

“Yet the Scottish Government continues to push legislation that could criminalize ordinary Christians simply for expressing their faith.”

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “Our aim is to address harmful acts, not general guidance, advice and support from parents or religious leaders.

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“The legal rights to religion, opinion and private and family life are protected by existing laws and any laws we introduce regarding conversion practices will recognize and respect them.

“We are developing proposals to end harmful conversion practices and will publish a consultation in due course to gather public and organizational input.”

Maggie Chapman of the Scottish Greens again vowed that the ban on conversion practices would be in place by the end of this year.

The MSP added: “The Government Expert Group found that conversion practices violate the prohibition of torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, are discriminatory and violate children’s rights to non-violence.

“These abusive practices have no place in a modern day Scotland and it is vital that a watertight, sweeping ban is put in place.

“Most religious groups and leaders involved in the process, including the Church of Scotland, understand the harm these practices are causing and support the ban.” Church leaders intervene in Scottish conversion therapy ban

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