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Why an anti-conversion Therapy Bill in Australia is a Huge Threat to Churches – CT

This weeks Christian Today Article…you can read the original here.…(this stuff is so crazy it’s difficult to believe it is actually happening!)

Why an anti-conversion Therapy Bill in Australia is a Huge Threat to Churches

Sometimes it appears as though, among those which regard themselves as ‘progressive’ states, there is a rush to the bottom. And at the moment it appears as though the Australian state of Victoria is leading that rush. This week, with scarcely a whimper, the Victorian state parliament passed the first stage of an act which will, as the former deputy prime minister John Anderson poses “the biggest threat to our democratic freedoms in Australia’s entire legislative history”.

In case readers in the UK, US and other Western countries think that this is just a minor story from a land faraway, let me point out that similar laws are on their way to you. The Scottish government, the UK, the EU and the President-elect of the US, Joe Biden, are all seeking to promote similar legislation – although the push back has been such that it looks as though the UK and Scottish governments are going to have to back down.

The Victorian law is seeking to outlaw parental, therapeutic or religious discussions on issues of sexuality and gender. The pretext for this is the supposedly great threat posed by so-called ‘conversion therapy’. No one has been able to give us concrete examples of this ‘conversion therapy’, nor tell us how extensive this is. Apparently, the churches are the main ‘superspreaders’.

When you actually read the bill, you realise that the term ‘conversion therapy’ covers not just practices which most of us would regard as abhorrent and are rarely if ever used; but also practices which many of us regard as perfectly normal and, at worst, harmless.

Prayer as Crime

This includes prayer. The Victorian legislation will make prayer in some cases a criminal offence. In my pastoral ministry, I have experienced young people coming to me to discuss and pray about some of the struggles they were having with sexuality and gender. I did not send them off to a ‘conversion therapist’ – I didn’t know any such people existed. But I did listen to them and prayed with them. But the new Victorian law prohibits anyone “carrying out a religious practice, including but not limited to, a prayer-based practice”. Bear in mind that this applies even if the subject asked for such prayer. For such a prayer you can go to jail for 10 years or face an enormous fine.

But it’s worse. Complaints can be made anonymously and come from anyone – whether or not they have been affected. As Nick Cater, columnist in The Australian, pointed out: “This is a charter for anti-religious activists to harass and intimidate churches or individuals at no cost to themselves.”

Jail for Telling Trans Truths

A couple of years ago, I was asked by a transgender woman who had detransitioned if she could tell her story on my blog. She had to do so anonymously because of the threats and danger she would face. It is an incredible and deeply moving story.

Under this new law I could go to jail for publishing it, as I could for a programme I recorded for Channel 4 where I had a discussion with Victor, a trans person who had moved from being non-binary to saying they were male. To produce that programme in Victoria (and in Scotland when the hate crime Bill is passed) could result in jail!

Loving Parents Criminalised

But it’s not just the church. The Human Rights Law Alliance warns that “parents who struggle with their 13-year-old daughter’s sudden presentation of gender confusion and who oppose chemical and surgical practices to transition appearance to that of a male, could be made criminals and face jail time,” as could doctors and clinicians who would dare to question the child’s own judgement.

This is really strange. We don’t believe a child can choose to drink alcohol, watch an R-rated film, consent to sexual activity or many other things. But our progressives are telling us that in this particular case, to question the child (i.e., to be non-transgender affirming) should be made a crime!

There is a fascinating study from Brown University which shows that of the 256 transgender people they investigated, 82% were born female, their average age was 15.2 years, and in 87% of cases the parents reported that increased use of social media and having at least one friend who was trans, preceded the announcement. The children were predominantly the children of white, middle class ‘progressive’ parents. There is considerable evidence that much of the trans fashion is being driven by peer pressure and social contagion. But as Cater observes in The Australian: “Yet the Victorian law will make it illegal to do anything other than pat them on the head. The issue here is not the maturity of minors, but the intellectual immaturity of adults who exploit teenage anxiety for ideological ends.”

There are even more implications from the regressive and authoritarian law. The High Court in the UK, in an important decision in the Keira Bell case, ruled that children are not able to give informed consent to radical transgender treatments. It is the opposite of what the Andrews government is proposing. Indeed if any of the judges made those statements in Victoria, they could be breaking the law.

Here in Australia, the Family Court has removed a child from their parents because of their refusal to consent to invasive treatments and because they want psychologists to consider other factors in their child’s gender dysphoria. The new Victorian law would make any non-gender affirming conduct or practice illegal. I think of a friend of mine who has ‘detransitioned’ – if she were to speak of her experience in Victoria to any young person, she could be charged with breaking the law. Similar laws have been passed in Queensland and the Australian Capital Territory.

Mob Rule and Censorship

As well as the law, there is phenomenal pressure from the media and from the social media mob. Dare to question the new trans religion and the wrath of Twitter falls on you – and it works. The editor of The Age newspaper in Melbourne published a story by a parent worried that their child was transitioning too quickly and without adequate support. Cue the trans warriors on Twitter accusing him of encouraging the murder of trans people. And so the editor backed down, apologised and withdrew the offending article (which was also physically published in The Sydney Morning Herald). Other journalists, politicians and clergy take note and generally give in to the mob. Only the few like JK Rowling have the courage, intelligence and resources to stand against the tide.

But what about the Church?

As always there are those in the Church who are at the forefront of the progressive/regressive agenda and who even incite the mob. Like good Pharisees, they love the idea of imposing their moralistic agenda by law. In Victoria, only the Catholics, Presbyterians and the Australian Christian League have made a solid stand. And the Baptist minister Murray Campbell is an astute and wise guide in all of this (although other Baptist ministers have been in the press saying they see nothing wrong with the law – thereby proving the old adage that there are none so blind as those that will not see!).

There are those who think that this does not really matter, that it only affects a few people, and we should just get on with our lives. But will we be allowed to? The Andrews government has just issued guidelines to their considerable number of employees asking public servants not to use phrases such as ‘husband’, ‘wife’ and ‘sir’ or ‘madam’ in order to avoid offending people. People in court should not be called ‘Mr’ or ‘Mrs’ but rather ‘citizen’ as this better reflects “the diversity of bodies, genders and relationships in society”. I have to say as a non-Australian citizen that I find that suggestion deeply discriminatory and exclusive!

The Yarra LGBTQI+ Strategy

As a Christian I know I should pray and seek the good of all society, and so I can’t just ignore this progressive craziness; but in some ways I am tempted just to let the revolution eat itself. The City of Yarra in Victoria (a progressive green spot) has a new LGBTIQ+ strategy. Interestingly, they had to remove the appendix of “language and terms” because the “wording and understanding in this space changes incredibly quickly”. Exactly! They can’t even keep up with their own madness! Can we not return to the relatively sane world of Christian society?!

The Eye of the Storm – The Transgender Backlash and the Timing of the Lord

WWJD – about Transgender?

Is It Ok for a Charity to Discriminate Against Christians -CT


  1. The progressive craziness to which you refer is just a middle class Synthetic Leftist joke.

    Nobody wants to attack Capitalism in the way that real Marxists did.

    As I remember from the Kirk : ” Let us be thankful”.

  2. I don’t know the specifics about the Victorian law. However the laws that are already in place in several US states mostly ban *licensed medical practitioners only* from offering any form of therapy which claims to be able to make gay *children* attracted to the opposite sex. This is due to the practice itself being unethical (these therapies “work” on the basis of increasing anxiety in the subject, which is the opposite of what legitimate therapy should do), that some people have reported long term physical or mental health problems as a result of them and -of course- it doesn’t actually work. I keep suggesting that instead of banning it we could have laws saying that the people who offer it should have to provide success rates, side effects and monitor the long term impact on their patients – as any other medical procedures would do. I hope there could not be objections to such a requirement from churches or conservative politicians and it would soon shutdown illegitimate or harmful practices.

    I know there have been attempts to extend this to adults as well, but I cannot tell you if any were successful or not. The additional issue with children is that they cannot legally consent to the treatment and, anecdotally, often are forced to go against their will by a parent etc. It’s also the case that the practice used to involve physical torture (electrocution, water boarding) which just seems to me monstrous to carry out on children for any purpose.

    There was an attempt to simply ban profit from *any* form of attempting to make gay people attracted to the opposite sex in California about a year ago, but Bethel put a stop to it.

    The U.K. government has been promising to ban the practice since at least the 2015 election. I say this because I remember it being a pledge of David Cameron (remember him?!) in that election. They’ve done absolutely nothing and the latest iteration of Tories seem to be of a mind that LGBT rights and protections have already gone too far.

    Conversion therapy has been available on the NHS in both our lifetimes. Now it is recognized widely as ineffective and potentially harmful. I read a harrowing account of a boy at a school which gave him the choice between going to a doctor for weekly electrocution to “cure” his attraction to boys or being expelled. Being expelled meant to him that he would not be able to leave home for university and so he stuck it out for months. That was in the late 70s.

    Sorry for the long background. All this is to say that not all of these laws are the same law or the same threat. The American laws are very specific and focused. And the equality act will never pass the senate anyway. The U.K. government are never going to find the time to actually do it.

    1. I’m afraid you are missing the point. As explained in the article the legislation has nothing to do with anti-conversion therapy as you explain here and everything to do with being a Trojan horse to undermine Christian teaching and discriminate against Christians.

      1. My point is that you scoop all laws against conversion therapy into one “Trojan horse”, but actually that’s not the case.

        In the state in which I live we have a law preventing state licensed therapists and doctors from attempting to make gay children attracted to the opposite sex. Of course some conservative churches objected to it, but it is hard for me to see that this is causing any religious institutions harm.

        I just am disagreeing that all Conversion Therapy laws are wide reaching or that their primary motivation is to restrict freedom – actually ours grants freedom to young people not to be put in potentially harmful therapies against their will!

        I was also remarking that I cannot see a US federal act banning this happening any time soon because it will never pass the senate, which has a deliberate built in conservative lean, and I also can’t see it happening in E&W since the government are clearly not making it a priority (and almost certainly don’t personally agree with it).

      2. All valid points – but can I request that when you are commenting on one of my posts you comment on the actual post and don’t introduce red herrings. The discussion here is not about the extremist conversion therapy…

      3. Already law in Canada and already used to threaten parents, psychologists, school councilors, and therapists

      4. Just for clarity to explain how my posts are not red herrings, but a direct response to your article

        You wrote

        “In case readers in the UK, US and other Western countries think that this is just a minor story from a land faraway, let me point out that similar laws are on their way to you.”

        But I think it is worth pointing out that not all of these laws are the same or, in the case of the UK and US,are even likely to see the light of day.

  3. David,

    Today the Global Interfaith Commission on LGBT+ Lives, organised by the Ozanne Foundation (who else) has been launched today at a conference funded by the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office, “which works with “religious organisations around the world to eliminate discrimination based on sexuality or gender”, aims to provide a voice for religious leaders to “affirm and celebrate the dignity of all, independent of their sexuality, gender expression and gender identity”.

    Central to this is a declaration signed by 370 “religious” leaders from around the globe, including “Christian” leaders.

    Who could possibly disagree with the “aims”? Of course discrimination is wrong, and Christians above all else believe in the “dignity of all” since we are create in the image of God, although fallen and sinful, and needing redemption.

    But the real agenda is not to abolish discrimination, it is to increase it. Anyone who challenges the new sexual religion will be branded as hateful and bigoted, unfit for public office and employment, and possibly open to criminal proceedings.

    We already know that this is happening.

    Jayne Ozanne , Steve Chalk et. al. will not rest until they have reshaped the CofE into their own likeness. When that happens I hope that every single evangelical Anglican church will follow the example of Mervin Tinkler and leave.

    How strange that the High Court has recently banned “conversion therapy” through drugs on teenagers wanting to change gender due to inability to give meaningful consent.

    How much further down the rabbit hole can this crazy generation go?

  4. It’s huge threat to the health and well-being of children. That is a sufficient argument.

    Basing a response because it’s a threat to the continued religious indoctrination of children to view human sexuality as a moral concern for religious leaders to make pronouncements is hardly a reasonable position, given that it was the religious aspect of such ill-informed and harmful pronouncements urging practitioners to try to ‘pray away the gay’ and moralize ‘acceptable’ sexual attraction and conduct that instigated this half-baked and very dangerous legislation.

      1. The legislation is a huge threat to the health and welfare of children, where parental and/or medical and/or professional counselling regarding gender and changing biological sex characteristics can be classified as prohibited speech and punished as ‘conversion therapy.’ I am staunchly against transactivist ideology that insists without evidence that gender is biological and sex is socially constructed. Reality provides overwhelming evidence this claim is factually wrong and exactly backwards. This ideology is synonymous with a religious belief – a kind of belief based on faith rather than facts and evidence – in that it is assumed to be true and then imposed on reality with calls for everyone everywhere to ‘respect’ the claim and show tolerance for it or be some kind of terrible person for not doing so. The same kind of apologetics is used, too: the rejection by supporters and their leaders of any and all contrary evidence from reality.

  5. You wrote, “As always there are those in the Church who are at the forefront of the progressive/regressive agenda and who even incite the mob.”
    I have to respectfully disagree. From my perspective, an organization that permits that kind of heresy is not really a Christian church at all. It might be some kind of religion — but certainly not part of historic Christianity.

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