by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent
(Worthy News) – In a response to the passing of a new Canadian law that bans ‘conversion therapy’ for gay people, some four thousand US pastors took Sunday, January 16 as a day on which to preach coordinated sermons on Christian sexuality, Church Leaders reports. The day of preaching was triggered by fear that a similar anti-conversion therapy law could be passed in America, and that it could ultimately lead to the criminalization of Christianity there.
Having come into effect on January 8, Canada’s Bill C-4 bans what Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau described as the “despicable and degrading practice of conversion therapy,” Church Leaders reports. The law defines conversion therapy as a practice, treatment, or service designed to: (a) change a person’s sexual orientation to heterosexual; (b) change a person’s gender identity to cisgender; (c) change a person’s gender expression so that it conforms to the sex assigned to the person at birth; (d) repress or reduce non-heterosexual attraction or sexual behaviour; (e) repress a person’s non-cisgender gender identity; or (f) repress or reduce a person’s gender expression that does not conform to the sex assigned to the person at birth.
Under the law, anyone who uses or advertises conversion therapy, and anyone who forces another to go through it, may face criminal prosecution and up to five years in prison.
Supporters of the law say the conversion therapy “causes harm” and “propagates myths and stereotypes about sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression.” However, Christian leaders in both Canada and America are alarmed at the vagueness of the bill’s wording, which they believe may ultimately lead to imprisonment for teaching Christian positions on sexuality, and even be twisted to attack and criminalize Christianity itself.
In a statement addressing how the church should respond to the new law, legal group Liberty Coalition Canada said: “This bill, while purporting to protect individuals from coercion and abuse in the form of ‘conversion therapy,’ will instead criminalize Christianity in our country. This bill’s wording is sufficiently broad to allow for the criminal prosecution of Christians who would speak biblical truth into the lives of those in bondage to sexual sins like homosexuality and transgenderism.”
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