Monday, July 10, 2017

Church of England: Ban "Ex-Gay" Conversion Therapy

By far a minority of states in the United States - but nonetheless, a growing number - have banned fraudulent "ex-gay" conversion therapy for those under 18 years of age.  The practice has been a cash cow for the bogus "ministries" and "Christian counseling centers" who have  marketed the "ex-gay" "change programs."   Moreover, the myth that they have sought to maintain (namely, that sexual orientation is a choice) has long been used as a political weapon by Christofascists to oppose LGBT non-discrimination laws and ordinances.   I have been actively working to show how dangerous and fraudulent these programs are since 20013.  An article here looks at the take down of Michael Johnston, one of the leading "ex-gay" poster boys of the Christian Right.  Now, the Church of England is call for the fraudulent practice to be banned in the United Kingdom.  A piece in The Guardian looks at this surprising and most welcomed development.  Be assured that Tony Perkins of FRC, Victoria Cobb of The Family Foundation in Richmond, Brian Brown of the National Organization for Marriage and similar charlatans are likely shrieking at this news.  Here are excerpts from The Guardian:
The Church of England has called on the government to ban conversion therapy and has condemned the practice, which aims to change sexual orientation, as unethical and potentially harmful.
At the end of an emotional debate in which two members of the C of E synod described their experiences as spiritual abuse, the church’s governing body overwhelmingly backed a motion saying the practice had “no place in the modern world”.
Conversion therapy is usually described as an attempt to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity. Some churches in the C of E and other denominations have encouraged LGBT members to take part in prayer sessions and other activities to rid them of their “sin”.
Proposing the motion, Jayne Ozanne – who underwent conversion therapy resulting in two breakdowns and two spells in hospital – said conversion therapy was “abuse from which vulnerable adults need protecting”.
It was “discredited by the government, the NHS, the Royal College of Psychiatrists, the Royal College of General Practitioners and many other senior health care bodies,” she said.
Quoting from a statement issued earlier this year by the UK Council for Psychotherapy and other bodies, she said: “Exclusion, stigma and prejudice may precipitate mental health issues for any person subjected to these abuses.”
John Sentamu, the archbishop of York, said conversion therapy was “theologically unsound, so the sooner the practice of [it] is banned, I can sleep at night”.
Paul Bayes, the bishop of Liverpool, said LGBT orientation was neither a crime nor a sin. “We don’t need to engage people in healing therapy if they are not sick.”
Fenella Cannings-Jurd, a student at Durham university, said she found it hard to believe that “in 2017 we are seriously debating the pros and cons of conversion therapy”. It was “by and large” seen as a violation of basic human rights, she said.
The final vote, after a complicated series of amendments, was 298 to 74, with 26 abstentions. The motion had the backing of all three houses of the synod, the bishops, clergy and laity.
Speaking before the debate, Ozanne said she wanted the church to make a clear public statement. As the established church “we can encourage other denominations and faiths to consider their positions on this”, she said.
Conversion therapy was particularly prevalent in minority ethnic Pentecostal denominations, and in some extreme cases young people were sent back to their family’s country of origin for “corrective rape”.
"Corrective rape" - I suspect that Jesus would not have been an advocate of such batshitery and violent abuse.  I tried to "pray away the gay" for 37 years and I can assure you, it does NOT work.  Kudos to the Church of England.  Hopefully, more American denominations will follow the example and condemn this fraudulent practice which epitomizes right wing Christians' embrace of ignorance.

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