In a move that has infuriated the few real conservatives left in the Tory party, Rishi Sunak’s government has announced an extension of its planned ban on “conversion therapies” for homosexuals to “transgender” people, i.e., people self-identifying as persons of the opposite sex.
The plan was confirmed on Jan. 17 by Sunak’s Culture Secretary Michelle Donelan, with the responsible minister, Equalities Minister Kemi Badenoch, later somewhat toning down the announcement by saying that the planned ban would undergo thorough consultations to avoid ending up criminalizing parents when they advise their children on gender issues and other undesirable side effects of the new law.
The day before the planned ban was officially announced by a senior member of the so-called Conservative government in London, another cabinet member, the Leader of the Commons and MP for Portsmouth North, Penny Mordaunt, disclosed that she had written to the Anglican bishop of Portsmouth “in advance of February’s General Synod regarding discussions on how the Church will move forward on the issue of same-sex relationships.”
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“I hope they will back reform,” Mordaunt wrote on Twitter where she published a copy of her letter.
This is the first time a U.K. government cabinet minister is formally pressing the Church of England to celebrate same-sex unions as religious marriages.
“It is some time now since Parliament legislated for Civil Partnership and then same-sex marriage,” the cabinet minister wrote in her letter to her local bishop. “Since then, both the Episcopal Church in Scotland and the Church of Scotland have agreed to offer same-sex marriage and the Church in Wales plans to do so soon.”
“This issue has been under discussion within the Church of England for a long time. (…) It is also important to recognize the pain and trauma that this continues to cause many LGBT+ people who are left feeling that they are treated as second-class citizens within our society. As a Unionist, I also would value some consistency across the U.K. on these matters.”
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When the equally “Conservative” government of David Cameron extended civil marriage in England and Wales to same-sex couples in 2014, it was promised that churches and other religious organizations would never be pressured to follow suit.
Last November, it was revealed a growing number of Church of England bishops were coming out in support of “gay marriage” after the Bishop of Oxford had called for allowing the clergy to marry same-sex couples. Last week, a majority of bishops refused to back the change but agreed to bless same-sex unions and issued an apology to “LGBTQI+” people for the Church’s past conduct towards them.
According to The Telegraph, “around a third of the bishops were in favor of same-sex marriage, a third were against and a third were undecided.”
The bishops’ recommendation will therefore be not to allow for the celebration of same-sex marriages in the Church of England. However, this issue could still be put to a vote at the Anglican Church’s General Synod next month.
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That said, the Anglican Church is becoming increasingly irrelevant in England, with increasing numbers of believers, priests, and even bishops fleeing its new neo-Marxist, woke brand of Christianism and seeking refuge in the Catholic Church.
According to the latest census for England and Wales, average weekly attendance figures at Anglican churches in England were at 605,000 in 2021, representing just over 1 percent of the population.
For that matter, much less irrelevant to England as a whole is the “Conservative” government’s plan to ban ill-defined “conversion therapies” for both homosexuals and “transgender people.” In fact, the move represents a reversal of Boris Johnson’s policy and also of Rishi Sunak’s own promises, which he made while competing last summer with Liz Truss for the leadership position of the Tory Party to become Johnson’s successor as prime minister. Sunak then vowed to “protect British freedoms,” to end the “woke nonsense,” and protect women from having to share bathrooms and compete in sports with men calling themselves women.
No wonder then that there has been a Tory backlash at the government’s plans over a ban that risks making “spiritual guidance” and some prayers illegal, as the U.K.-based Christian Institute has warned, fearing a “totalitarian ban that criminalizes everyday church activity.”
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A year ago, the Christian Institute published a dire warning by an Australian pastor on a similar ban that came into force in the Australian state of Victoria, where the wrong kind of prayer, even if said with the knowledge and consent of the person for whom that prayer is said publically, can now earn Christians several years in prison.
According to legal advice obtained by the Christian Institute, the ban planned by the U.K. government could be in violation of the European Convention on Human Rights, as it would “prohibit actions in a range of commonplace situations, which do not involve improper pressure or coercion, or abuse of power, or incitement to hatred, where the relevant beliefs are expressed, taught or applied as a matter of church discipline.”
Even a pro-Tory, LGBT-friendly newspaper like The Telegraph is highly critical of the planned ban on “transgender conversion therapy.” In the “Telegraph view” published on Jan. 18, the newspaper accuses the government it otherwise supports on many issues of having “got this the wrong way round.”
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“It is not the trans community that needs extra provisions, since laws to protect them already exist, but the children and women whose lives are being affected by the encroachment of identity politics into schools and safe spaces. The major scandals in this area have had nothing to do with charlatans posing as therapists, for which there is little evidence, but gender identity services like the NHS Tavistock Clinic. If ministers want to introduce legal safeguards they should do so against the promotion of potentially harmful gender-changing practices.”
Unsurprisingly, a similar ban is being considered in Scotland, where MPs of First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s Scottish National Party have been photographed at a pro-transgender rally in front of signs with calls to decapitate “terfs,” meaning in the transexual/transgender lobby’s Newspeak “trans-exclusionary radical feminists.” The term refers to people, most often women, who raise their concerns over real women’s rights in the face of the trans lobby’s radical demands, such as J.K. Rowling.
“The ‘therapy’ at Tavistock was geared towards changing gender. At schools, children are being encouraged to question the immutability of sex, but who decided this should be on the curriculum? Even now, cash-strapped NHS England is recruiting staff to run ‘gender-inclusive training’ across maternity services, to enforce the use of trans-inclusive language and pronouns. There is little support in the country for any of this,” writes The Telegraph. “The Conservatives would be very unwise to proceed.”
If they do proceed, they will likely share the fate of the Church of England, heading fast toward extinction.