Evangelical Alliance: “Loving & Orthodox” or “Damaging & Dangerous”?

by Jayne Ozanne, Editor Director of ViaMedia.News, Member of General Synod and Chair of the Ban Conversion Therapy Coalition

Evangelical Alliance: “Loving & Orthodox” or “Damaging & Dangerous”?

Last week the campaign to ban conversion therapy was given a significant boost by a letter to the Secretary of State from hundreds of Christian leaders stating clearly that they believed their “Christian duty” was to continue to conduct harmful conversion practices.

It was just the proof needed to show a sceptical public that the modern-day threat of conversion practices is real and that, even more worryingly, there is absolutely no recognition or remorse for the harm that they have caused countless LGBT+ people.

If ever the government needed evidence of why they must urgently introduce legislation to protect LGBT+ people, they now have it in spades. It seems that no amount of reasoned argument, academic or medical opinion, research evidence or the harrowing testimonies of survivors has caused them to stop and reflect on the damage that they’ve done and continue to do.

Concerns had already been raised by politicians following two evidence sessions, one in Edinburgh and the other in Westminster, both involving senior figures from the Evangelical Alliance. Indeed, one Scottish Labour politician, Pam Duncan-Glancy MSP commented on Twitter after hearing evidence at the Scottish Equalities, Human Rights and Civil Justice Committee: “I honestly could hardly believe my ears this morning. I am more convinced than ever* that we need to end all conversion practises, and fast. (*My views that it should end were already very strongly held).”

Interestingly, in their letter to the Secretary of State, the Christian Leaders, the vast majority of whom are evangelical, made three claims which need public and firm rebuttal:

Firstly, they boldly claim that they “act in love” and “never with any coercion or control”. Have they learnt nothing from the sexual abuse scandals that have riddled their evangelical churches? Have they not seen the level of coercion and control that exists in their communities?! It is something that the rest of the world can and does see, that is now well evidenced in various research reports, but it is fascinating and telling that they seem to be so determined not to acknowledge it.

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