Church buildings are allowed to wish for individuals with undesirable same-sex attraction, says the prime minister
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has assured churches, concerned about a ban on conversion therapy, that they can continue to pray for people who turn to them for help or advice on their sexuality.
Evangelical churches have been concerned that the government's contemplation of banning conversion therapy will result in pastors and churches breaking the law when offering spiritual counseling or prayer to someone struggling with unwanted same-sex attraction or gender dysphoria to offer.
The Evangelical Alliance challenged the proposals in a recently published letter warning that any legislation "could restrict individual freedom and interfere with essential religious freedom – potentially criminalizing Christians and communal church activities".
"The problem is that some of the arguments, campaigns and lobbying for the ban involved discipleship, preaching and teaching and praying for other people, and here comes the problem because we don't have a clear definition," said UK Director Peter Lynas, who wrote the letter.
"If a person says they want to ban conversion therapy when they mean extreme and abusive practices, absolutely. If it means praying for someone else, we would have real concerns."
In response to concerns, Johnson told EA that he "takes freedom of speech and religion very seriously" and has promised that adults in "exploration" will continue to receive "adequate pastoral support including prayer" in religious settings relating to their sexual orientation " reports the Daily Mail.
Mike Davidson of the Core Issues Trust, which helps people with undesirable same-sex attraction and gender dysphoria, has previously raised concerns about the erosion of religious freedom if conversion therapy is banned.
"Are we really saying that a man who is married and attracted to the same sex, but wants to save his marriage and protect his children, is forbidden to receive help? And what about those who tell us that their feelings for same-sex people arose after they were sexually abused and they want help? Let's honestly say that they cannot get that help? Because if that is us, it is inhuman. A ban will grossly run over a minority identity ", he said to Christian Today.
He added, "To be honest, if we are now, it will be the next pastors. If counselors and therapists are forbidden to do this work, I very much doubt the churches will escape."
Earlier this month, Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer apologized for visiting Jesus House Church in north London because of his conservative views on marriage and sexuality.
He was visiting a pop-up vaccination clinic in the church when he was pressured by LGBT + members of the Labor Party.
Sir Keir responded by removing a video from Twitter praising the Church and then calling the visit a "mistake".