A letter outlining the concerns of church leaders to a broad ‘conversion therapy’ ban has been likened to the Holocaust by an LGBT charity.
Robert Mee, founder of Lancaster’s Out in the Bay, branded the church leaders’ plea not to criminalise the ordinary work of churches in plans to ban ‘conversion therapy’ a “barbaric” attack on LGBT people.
The letter, signed by more than 2,500 Christian ministers and pastoral workers, urged Westminster to ensure prayer, preaching and pastoral care were not caught by vague legislation.
Mee told the Lancaster Guardian that people “are still attacking LGBTQI people and they are getting away with it – the attacks are more discreet and secretive and almost whispers, but they are still attacks on us”.
He asked: “have we forgotten about the holocaust and how LGBTQI people were persecuted and killed – history is repeating itself”.
The LGBT activist added: “Conversion therapy is barbaric – punishing people for being who they are. Surely churches are supposed to love everyone – did God not teach this?”
Responding to Mee’s controversial comments, local signatories to the letter said they had done so because of their “concerns for this proposed law’s potential impact.
“As the letter says, we would join with Christians across the country in describing some historic practices in this area as abuse so it is misleading to say we are against a ban on conversion therapy.”
However, they concluded, this could “have a significant impact on our day-to-day ministry of teaching the good news of Jesus Christ as outlined in the Bible, which we think is both wonderful but also challenges every person”.
A Let Us Pray spokesman said that “it is not ‘attacking’ LGBT people to disagree with their views”. He added: “the Government must not be taken in by the overheated rhetoric that says Christian values are abusive”.