A church in London has cancelled an event which featured a number of ‘ex-gay’ activists who have attempted to ‘cure’ people of homosexuality.
The Seventh-day Adventist Church – had been planning to host a 5-day ‘Holy Sexuality Conference’ later this month, at which a number of people who have purportedly ‘healed’ their sexuality were due to speak.
In a statement on the EventBrite website for the event, and following a petition which was signed nearly 40,000 times, the organisers announced it would not go ahead.
Recognising that “the conference had the potential to divide”, the church said the event was cancelled.
Read the full statement below.
A decision was taken on Monday, 13 April to cancel the ‘Holy Sexuality’ Conference originally planned for London, 21-25 April 2015.
Seventh-day Adventists are a people of peace who believe in hope and dialogue. However, it appeared that rather than drawing people together the conference had the potential to divide. The Adventist Church recognises that the individuals invited to speak at the Holy Sexuality Conference have compelling life stories to share but equally appreciate that there are those who take a different point of view.
We are disappointed that in a society that values freedom of speech and divergence of opinion that there are those whose wish it is to silence individuals who hold a different point of view to their own. We do not believe that the potential disruptions that were being planned for this event would have been beneficial either to the participants or to our friends in the LGBT community. As such a decision has been made to cancel the event which had been locally organised by a group of members in the South London area.
The Adventist Church strongly subscribes to a belief in freedom of speech. This also includes the freedom to hold different views. The Seventh-day Adventist Church seeks to minister to all men and women in the spirit of Jesus, recognising that every human being is valuable in the sight of God.
As a Bible believing Church, the Seventh-day Adventist Church affirms the dignity of all human beings, and as a Church is well known for its commitment to community work both globally and locally in London.
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg recently spoke out about ‘gay cure’ therapy, telling PinkNews in a Q&A that it was “dangerous nonsense”.
Responding to a question from Telegraph boss Lord Guy Black of Brentwood, Mr Clegg said: “It is grossly offensive to me that anyone could think gay people need to be ‘cured’.
“If anything needs curing, it is the outdated belief that being gay is wrong or something to be ashamed of. Sexuality is not an illness but an inherent part of who you are.
“Most people now recognise conversion therapy as dangerous nonsense, but we do need to challenge any remaining counsellors who believe they can ‘treat’ homosexuality.
“Norman Lamb, the Liberal Democrat Health Minister, helped bring together leading organisations across the NHS, medical and psychological professions to sign up to a new Memorandum of Understanding.
“This made clear that conversion therapy is unethical, potentially harmful and cannot be provided within the NHS. I wouldn’t rule out further action if necessary.”