Former evangelical Steve Chalke has warned churches that they risk “high-profile prosecutions” if they take a biblical stance on sexual ethics and biological sex.
In a press release, Chalke, founder of the Oasis Trust, called it “psychologically abusive” to express pastoral concern or pray for people with unwanted same-sex attraction or gender confusion.
He made the remarks as the Government considers introducing a ban on conversion therapy.
Chalke complained that churches were teaching LGBT people “to believe that their desires are ‘sinful’”.
He claimed that preaching the biblical view of sexuality “only contributes to the already high levels of mental health issues reported among people from the LGBT+ community”.
He said this included suicide, as well as self-harm and eating disorders.
Chalke’s comments reflect those made by the Ozanne Foundation earlier this month.
A letter, co-signed by the Bishop of Liverpool the Rt Revd Paul Bayes and the Moderator of the Baptist Union Revd David Mayne, urged the Prime Minister to introduce a law covering “the full range of religious practices”, including outlawing calls to sexual abstinence.
It also called for the law to prevent trans people who regret changing sex getting help to detransition.
In response, The Christian Institute’s Director Colin Hart said: “Whatever else a conversion therapy law may do, it’s clear that LGBT campaigners like Steve Chalke want a veto on Christian preaching, and private prayer and discussion between ministers and members of their congregation.”