The Knesset approved a bill to ban psychologists from practicing conversion therapy in Israel on Wednesday, amid a stormy plenum vote. The bill passed with 42 for and 36 against, with haredi members of the government threatening consequences after coalition members voted in support of the bill.
The legislation, proposed by Meretz leader Nitzan Horowitz, would take away the license of psychologists who uses conversion therapy, fine them and send them to jail for repeat offenses.
Similar attempts to ban conversion therapy in Israel have failed in the past.
“Shame and disgrace” shouted some haredi MKs after the bill passed, as a number of MKs began to applaud.
Harbingers Daily Addition:
“Conversion therapy” bans have become more and more prevalent in recent months, with many warning that the bans endanger ministries, pastors and religious freedom.
Ken Ham of Answers in Genesis commented on Canadian politicians introducing a similar bill banning conversion therapy in March; Ham explaining the Canadian bill is chiefly aimed at silencing Pastors:
“The fear is that clinical therapy or spiritual counseling to help a person overcome any gender identity confusion, same-sex attraction, and to accept their bodily reality and birth gender will be defined as “conversion therapy” and, thus, become illegal,” he said.
Ken then went on to explain that this broad bill also bans “advertising” to provide conversion therapy, which he says targets “Christian churches and pastors” most.
“The ban and criminalization of ‘advertising an offer’ to provide conversion therapy is potentially one of the ones most targeting Christian churches and pastors,” he wrote. “According to the language in Bill C-8, advertising means ‘any material—including a photographic, film, video, audio or other recordings, made by any means, visual representation or any written material—that is used for advertising an offer to provide conversion therapy . . . .'”
“So, if your church wanted to put a flyer in its bulletin mentioning a guest speaker who (as an example) was formerly homosexual but has now left that lifestyle, it could be considered “advertising” conversion therapy.” Ham continued. “And if you collect a love offering for that speaker, would that be considered “a financial or other material benefit from the provision of conversion therapy”? According to the broad definition of the bill—yes!”
Decision Magazine recently reported Facebook and Instagram’s plan to “block the promotion of any counselling they deem as ‘conversion therapy’ on both social media platforms”:
Christopher Doyle, a professional counselor and executive director of the Institute for Healthy Families, told The Christian Post that he considers [conversion therapy bans] an “assault on free speech and religious liberty.”
“While the company claims they are taking this action to prevent discrimination towards the LGBT community, the real people they are hurting are those who experience unwanted sexual and gender identity conflicts and are seeking options for healing and ethical, licensed therapy,” said Doyle.
“Everyone should have the right to seek help for unwanted attractions or sexual/gender conflicts without interference, and public companies should not be able to discriminate the views of some they may disagree with for political purposes.”