Reports coming from The California Family Council claim that the California legislature is pursuing adoption of Assembly Concurrent Resolution 99 that reads, “This measure would call upon…religious leaders with conviction to counsel on LGBT matters from a place of love, compassion, and a knowledge of the psychological and other harms of conversion therapy.”
I have been staunchly against the idea of gay conversion therapy, which appears to consist of torturing or brainwashing someone to go straight. This is not suggested in Scripture and has absolutely no basis in biblical teaching.
But I am confident that those who counsel those ensnared by the homosexual lifestyle, of the need to reject their sin by repenting and turning to faith in Christ for forgiveness, firmly believe they are counseling from a place of “love, compassion, and a knowledge” of the asinine and ineffectual practices of conversion therapy.
Pastor Ken Williams and Pastor Elizabeth Woning, two former gay people, oppose the bill claiming it discriminates “against people like themselves, who overcame suicidal thoughts by following their faith away from their LGBT identities.”
Woning said, “For us, walking out our faith with Biblical conviction means life and hope. Our faith has saved us from suicide and given us freedom to live with clear consciences,” adding, “We too would like to be acknowledged and affirmed. Instead, activists attack our efforts to care for like-minded friends by promoting dangerous counseling restrictions and stifling our free speech.”
Williams agreed, “For years, I believed that even God hated me because of my behavior,” he said. “But in my early 20s, I encountered a God who loved me despite my sins and temptations. Today, I love my life. I have been married to my beautiful wife for 13 years, and we have created four incredible children together. To someone like me, California Assemblyman Evan Low’s proposed resolution, ACR-99, feels like an unfair and direct attack.”
Joe Dallas an ordained pastoral counselor writes, “While warning against the dangers of so-called Conversion Therapy, ACR 99 restricts much more than counseling, which attempts to change internal sexual responses. It, in fact, dictates to pastors that they cannot teach that homosexuality is a sin, nor can they encourage homosexually-attracted people who hold a traditional biblical view to live in accordance with their own faith.”
While I understand the concerns of those reported here, the language of the bill is ambiguous. I am not sure “calling upon” California’s citizens to do something has the same force as compelling them to do something. After all it is just a resolution. I will leave it to the legal experts to split that legislative hair.
But if it has the effect of compulsion Christian leaders in California may be forced to declare what Peter and the apostles did in the early days of the faith, “We must obey God rather than men,” Acts 5:29.