Religion

Thousands of church leaders tell Liz Truss to ban so-called conversion therapy, now

Josh Milton March 3, 2022
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Liz Truss removing her face mask

Liz Truss removes her mask. (Getty)

In a brilliant show of unity, thousands of priests and church leaders have urged Britain’s equality minister Lizz Truss to finally ban conversion therapy.

More than 2,500 Christian leaders across various different traditions and denominations have signed a letter in support of the ban to put a stop to the barbaric practice long compared by healthcare professionals and activists to torture.

It’s something that the ruling Conservative Party announced in 2018 that they would seek to ban. But in the many years since, ministers have fumbled and delayed efforts to put a ban in the books, throwing it on the backburner or launching even more consultations to draw it out.

From Anglican parish priests to Baptist church senior ministers, 2,557 members of the church signed a letter to Truss sharing their “heartfelt and informed desire to see an end to conversion therapy in the United Kingdom and around the world”.

“We believe that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, and queer peoples are made fully and beautifully in the image of God, and that their sexualities and gender identities can neither be cured nor changed – for this is how God has made them to be,” the letter stated.

“It is this belief that motivates us to encourage and remind all those who have suffered at the hands of the Christian Church, and all those who continue to suffer today: that you are loved and valued, and that these undersigned clergy, ministers, and Christian leaders, do not wish to see you harmed.

“We will continue to pursue a church and a world that truly represents the love of God as expressed through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.”

Many signatories rejected the “Ministers Consultation Response“, signed by 2,500 Christian ministers and pastoral staff have signed a letter objecting to a ban on conversion therapy.

Despite worrying religious exemptions already in the government’s proposed ban, the other letter’s signatories say that doesn’t go far enough in letting the horrific practice continue and should be scrapped altogether.

In fact, they said that conversion therapy is “kind and merciful”. Actual healthcare and mental healthcare professionals would disagree, with the debunked practice being tied to higher risks of depression, suicide attempts, and drug addiction.

Naomi Nixon, CEO of the Student Christian Movement, would agree. “Conversion therapy damages people, and it is wrong,” she said in a statement.

“We saw so many members of the LGBTQ+ community hurt by the ‘Ministers Consultation Response’. We knew that the view that this horrific practice should continue is not held by all or even most Christian Leaders.

“We want the LGBTQ+ community to know that they are seen and loved for who they are by so many of us.”

“Whilst it can often be felt that the church and its leaders are unloving, this letter goes some way to show that there is a significant number who want to share a different message,” said Luke Dowding, executive director of OneBodyOneFaith, a grassroots group for LGBT+ Christians.

“We saw the harm and pain that was caused by the letter written by Christian leaders at the end of 2021 and wanted to respond pastorally and firmly: Christian leaders DO support a full ban on ‘conversion therapy’ and want to see an end to this harmful practice.”

More: Christianity, conversion therapy, liz truss

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