CofE says prayer should not be criminalised in ‘conversion therapy’ ban

The Church of England has told MPs that any ban on so called conversion therapy should not criminalise pastoral support.

Responding to questions in the House of Commons yesterday, Andrew Selous MP, who speaks on behalf of the CofE in the Commons, said the Church “remains committed” to its 2017 resolution calling on the Government to “end conversion therapy”.

He also said the Church “will work with the Government on how it can most effectively be framed”.

Religious freedom

Selous told the House: “The Church believes that it is possible to end conversion therapy without outlawing prayer and private conversations with clergy and Church members that an individual has requested.

“The Church has not requested an opt-out from the proposed law and will look carefully at the detail when the legislation is published.”

He was answering a question from the Conservative MP for Darlington, Peter Gibson,  who asked if Selous would “ensure that religious freedom and banning this abuse is not presented as a binary choice”.

‘Non-coercive pastoral support’

Aaron Bell MP called on the CofE to “reject any assumption that any one identity or orientation is preferable to another” and asserted that “any one-directional pursuit of a particular orientation amounts to conversion therapy”.

However, Selous responded: “The Prime Minister remains resolutely committed to prohibiting the imposition of any harmful and unnecessary practice in this area, without criminalising clergy and Church members for non-coercive pastoral support that individuals ask for.”

Also see:


NI politicians attack prayer and preaching in ‘conversion therapy’ debate

Proposed NI conversion therapy ban targets ‘the wrong kind of prayer’

EXCLUSIVE: Evangelical leaders express concern over broad ‘conversion therapy’ ban

Top lawyer: ‘Conversion therapy ban could criminalise Christian parents’

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