Thousands of Christian pastors have signed a letter demanding to be allowed to keep trying to turn LGBTQ people straight, arguing that conversion therapy is “kind and merciful.”
The U.K. Parliament is considering a ban on conversion therapy, a practice that has been denounced by mainstream mental health professional organizations as damaging to LGBTQ people. But a group of 2,546 Christian ministers has written a letter to Minister for Women and Equalities Liz Truss arguing that trying to change one’s sexual orientation is a part of their religion.
Referring to LGBTQ people as “people who have different experience and views, including same-sex attraction and forms of gender transition,” the letter says that the ministers actually “love” and “respect” them, they just believe that Jesus wants them to undergo conversion therapy.
“We see in these proposals a clear possibility that our duty as ministers, of proclaiming the Lordship of Jesus Christ, and calling people to find life in him, which includes living by his laws, will be criminalized,” the letter states.
The letter even goes so far as to claim that Christian parents will face prosecution for rejecting their LGBTQ children if the bill passes.
“We also believe it could be used against Christian parents who could equally be criminalized for loving advice and teaching given to their own children,” the letter says. Truss has said that the bill is specifically about people who coerce others into conversion therapy, not people who support others as they try to figure out who they are.
The letter says that the ministers believe not marrying someone of the opposite sex or living as a gender incongruent with sex assigned at birth “carries with it deep and tragic consequences for individuals, families, and society.” The letter does not list out those “deep and tragic consequences” of the existence of LGBTQ people.
The ministers say that conversion therapy, “far from being harmful, is a kind and merciful act, and of benefit to all,” and that those who are gay or trans are “misusing and harming their healthy bodies.”