“Conversion therapy bans” have been popping up throughout the West. Those pushing these bills claim they’re trying to protect people, often specifically children and teens who identify as LGBT, from supposed abusive practices (which do sometimes make up certain so-called “conversion therapies”). But what are these bans really all about?
Well, for years, conservative politicians and Christian commentators (including me) have been saying these “conversion therapy bans” are “Trojan horses” that pave the way for the bridling of free speech and the criminalization of those who believe and act on biblical principles. You see, LGBT activists claim that if you don’t fully embrace, support, and celebrate an LGBT lifestyle or identity, then that’s hate speech and harming someone because that person is more likely to commit suicide since you did not affirm them. In their minds and by their flawed logic, those who hold to the biblical belief that an LGBT identity and lifestyle are sinful are hurting other people and driving them to suicide; therefore such people (Christians specifically) don’t deserve to be able to speak their views. Many politicians are viewing this matter now as a civil rights issue—but it’s not. It’s a moral issue.
The warning that these bans are Trojan horses isn’t a fallacious slippery slope argument. As an opinion piece by Jonathon Van Maren on LifeSite news points out, LGBT activists are starting to publicly make that argument in the UK. He notes that several leaders from “post-Christian churches” are urging the Prime Minister of the UK to take proposed “conversion therapy bans” one step further:
Whilst we recognise and applaud your overall aim to “end conversion therapy” we would caution you that this will not be possible until our religions have done more theological thinking on these matters – which we and others are committed to helping them do. [In other words—until other churches have abandoned God’s Word like these churches have in favor of a message that is not the gospel and therefore doesn’t save!]
We urge you to make it clear that the UK will not tolerate those who practice conversion therapy in any form, whether consensual or not, and that those who practice it will be prosecuted. This will have the impact of causing religious leaders to think twice, as they will be loathe to risk having a criminal record that would stop them from following their vocation.
Religious leaders—those who would preach, teach, and counsel from God’s Word—are called out here as being part of these “conversion therapies” and that legislation should make them “think twice” before speaking the truth from God’s Word on sexual issues. It’s an outright assault on freedom of religion and speech and, above all, on biblical truth and the gospel of Jesus Christ (the only message that truly delivers someone from their slavery to a sinful identity, if they will repent and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ).
Van Maren’s article goes on to quote from Steve Chalke, a pastor who has utterly rejected the clear teachings of Scripture on sexuality as well as the gospel, who argues that “even traditionally Christian expressions of support for those struggling with unwanted same-sex attraction and the offer of prayers [is] ‘psychologically abusive,’ and stated that Christian teaching on sexuality that taught people ‘that their desires are ‘sinful’’ is dangerous because it ‘only contributes to the already high levels of mental health issues reported among people from the LGBT+ community.’”
In this “pastor’s” view, sharing the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ and the biblical truth that God has created us male and female and created marriage to be between one man and one woman is abusive and dangerous. What’s abusive and dangerous is what Chalke and others do: twisting God’s Word to scratch itching ears and lull people into complacency in their sin so they don’t see their need of a Savior.
As believers, we must be prepared to continue sharing biblical truth regardless of what the culture around us says or threatens. Teaching God’s Word is not abusive or dangerous—the gospel is the power of God unto salvation (Romans 1:16). It is the gospel and the truth of God’s Word, with the power of the Holy Spirit, that free us from our slavery to sin (Romans 6:6) and makes us a new creation in Christ Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:17).
The time is coming when speaking biblical truth regarding sexuality will be illegal. But we must love people enough to continue to contend for the faith (Jude 1:3), making disciples (Matthew 28:19), as we do the King’s business until he returns (Luke 19:13). Are we courageous enough to boldly state as Peter and the apostles did: “We must obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29)?