‘CONVERSION THERAPY’ BILL
The NZ Government is considering passing a bill that will ban ‘conversion’ therapy. In essence not allowing any form of prayer or spiritual intervention in treating people with gender issues.
In a shocking display of disrespect towards the democratic process, the Labour MPs on the select committee considering the ‘conversion therapy’ bill have gone against normal protocol regarding public submissions (usually 6 weeks – at least!) and have set a deadline date of less than four weeks. Now, at the time of this publication, less than two weeks.
But this bill has the potential to significantly affect the faith community – in terms of pastoral care, prayer, and what you can teach.
* Under the proposed ban, it could be illegal for a counsellor, spiritual leader, pastor, youth worker, teacher or other professional to counsel a child or adult with gender dysphoria in a way that affirms biology. They could be liable to up to five years imprisonment.
* If a young person, for example, wanted to align their sexuality with the teachings and values of their particular faith – be it Muslim or Christian, Jewish or Sikh, etc – and sought help to do so from a minister or faith leader, the proposed law change would make it virtually impossible to access the support they wanted.
* Prayer, as part of counselling or within the setting of a religious meeting, could fall inside the concept of ‘conversion therapy’. This has been acknowledged by the Ministry of Justice: “Conversion practices that take the form of prayer and counselling that are directed towards an individual would be captured.”
* Incredibly, the bill says that “consent” is irrelevant. Apparently, the mantra “my body my choice” doesn’t apply here. The right of self-determination is a founding principle of the mental health profession.
*If society believes a person is not fully informed enough to vote until 18, why does the select committee believe a child under 18 is informed enough to make such a life-impacting, independent decision that is contrary to his/her biological & hormonal predisposition. Voting Labour or National is walk in the park in comparison!
* this law could affect the charitable status of churches
(1) This means a 12 year son/daughter could embark on a therapy programme of hormone blockers without the parents knowing. No parental consent necessary.
(2) The bill is entirely fear based and irrelevant. There have been no persecuted cases ever in NZ or Australia of the spiritual ly abusive conversion tactics this bill is perported to protect the community from.
(3) The irony is that bill itself is in fact an abusive conversion therapy. It denies the free will choice of the person to seek a pathway of their own choosing. Parents are excluded from the process and a hormonal sledgehammer is used to direct the process. This is highly invasive, agenda driven and physically abusive.
(4) This bill is a direct attack on religion, religious values and processes. In essence it says, “Prayer and spiritual intervention is harmful so much so that those participating in such practices should be jailed.” If this becomes law, it is a very short step to banning prayer for all physical and mental ailments. My counselling practice would cease to lawfully operate.
(5) Genital surgery and hormones are no more than a bandaid attempting to stop an arterial bleed. You can’t change a Ford by putting a Toyota badge at the front. Masculinity and femininity are profoundly rooted in the soul and spirit of a person affecting every aspect their mind, will and emotions. Necessarily then, to be effective any intervention regarding gender dysphora and same sex attraction must address these fundamental components. Far from being a danger to the person, religious intervention within a professional counselling framework is key to complete and deep resolution of these dysfunctions.
If you want to watch a balanced video on this topic: https://youtu.be/8rJlEdY-vIk
It is very simple to make a submission and make a difference.
IF NOT YOU, THEN WHO?