Friday, June 15, 2012

Another Attack on Religious Liberty?: California Bans Anti-Gay Treatments

I am not a fan of ministries, treatments, or whatever whose sole purpose is to "fix" homosexuals. I do not believe that homosexuality is a moral lifestyle nor do I believe that same-sex marriage should be normalized or legalized. However, as a believer in the gospel, my hope is in the power of Christ who liberates sinners from their slavery. Homosexuals can't be fixed anymore than the pedophile, the gossiper, the thief, the porn addict, or the compulsive liar can be magically fixed. But all of them, and everyone, can be justified, sanctified, redeemed, cleansed, and restored (see 1 Corinthians 6:9-11).

With that said, I cannot support the efforts of the state of California to ban anti-gay therapies that try to "fix" homosexuals.  The Blaze reports:

California lawmakers are poised to vote Tuesday on a first-of-its-kind ban on a controversial form of psychotherapy aimed at making gay people straight.

Supporters say the legislation is necessary because such treatments are ineffective and harmful.

“This therapy can be dangerous,” said the bill’s author Sen. Ted Lieu.

He added the treatments can “cause extreme depression and guilt” that sometimes leads to suicide.

It cannot be forgotten that a few years ago, same-sex marriage was defeated at the ballot box only to be challenged in the courts and now awaits for the final decision by the US Supreme Court. But when given the chance, the people of California voted against same-sex marriage. Grant it, the issue here isn't same-sex marriage in particular, but with homosexuality in general.

The issue here really regards freedom. Even if the bill's author, Senator Ted Lieu, believes that such therapies are dangerous, can the state in a free nation intervene? After all, are not the homosexuals entering such treatment centers doing so of their own choice and liberty? Are they being physically forced to go through treatments?

This is also an issue of parental rights.  Many of those who go through such therapy are students and children who are encouraged, and perhaps made, to attend under the authority of their parents. The challenge of parental authority in a free society is that even though the broader culture may disapprove of one's parental philosophy and actions, beyond issues of abuse of course, the parents are still the parents.

The bill focuses on parents who send their students to such treatment centers making this a parental rights issue. Even though I disagree with much that such "ministries" and therapies do, I do not believe that the state has any right stepping in here.

The Blaze goes on to report:

Conservative religious groups emphatically reject that view of sexual orientation therapy and say the California bill would interfere with parents’ rights to seek appropriate psychological care for their children.

“While this is a direct assault on everyone’s freedom it is also a not so subtle attack on religious liberty,” the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality said in a statement.

The debate comes as gay rights issues take the spotlight around the nation.

This is the other issue involved here: religious liberty. Obviously most of these therapies are done so in the name of Christ or other religious reasons. Thus if the state legislator bans such "ministries" are they not encroaching on religious liberty? Grant it, statists have shown complete disregard for the first amendment. If the culture and the secular culture disagrees with a certain ministry, it is more than willing to ban it, control it, tax it, or demonize it. Ministries like Exodus International are under assault.

More from the Blaze:

AB1172, sponsored by Equality California, was expected to go to its final committee hearing Tuesday afternoon and will go to the full Senate if approved.

Lieu says attempts to pathologize and change people’s sexual orientation should be treated akin to smoking and drinking: harmful activities that adults can choose to participate in, but children cannot.

“We let adults do all sorts of stupid and risky things, but we ban dangerous things for young people,” Lieu, D-Torrance, said in a telephone interview.

He was inspired to take up the issue by a cable news documentary featuring people whose parents had attempted to change their sexual orientation. The doctor featured in the show “was evil,” he said.
Interest in the religion-based therapy appears to have surged in recent years.

Exodus International, the world’s largest Christian referral network dealing with homosexuality, now refers people to 260 groups across the country, up from about 100 a decade ago. The organization has 35 ministries and churches scattered around California, from the Central Valley to the U.S.-Mexico border.

Mainstream mental health organizations say people shouldn’t be seeking out groups like Exodus at all.

Again, I do not agree with many of these Christian efforts to fix homosexuality. Sin cannot be fixed, it must be forgiven, cleansed, and the sinner must be restored. Homosexuality is a real challenge in the culture and the only answer is the gospel. Jesus Christ is the only hope for the homosexual, the womanizer, the abuser, the criminal, the self-centered pastor, or the greedy homemaker.  But if these efforts spread to other states or even to the nation itself, what else can the state control and shut down?

The Blaze - California to Ban Therapies That Try to Turn Gay People Straight
CBS News - California may ban gay teen 'conversion' therapy
Christianity Today - California Moves To Pass First State Ban of Gay Conversion Therapy   

For more:
Blogizomai - The Answer is the Gospel: Mohler on Homosexuality at the SBC
Blogizomai - "A Shrewd Three-Step Maneuver": D'Souza on the Homosexual Movement
Blogizomai - Thou Canst Choose Thy Sexuality: Nixon Commits the LGBT Unpardonable Sin
Blogizomai - Being Who We Think We Are: Moral Bondage, the Gay Gene, and the Gospel
Blogizomai - The Missing Gene and Ray Boltz: The Theistic Argument, Did God Make Him This Way?
Blogiozmai - The Missing Gene: The Failed Search For the Gay Gene
Blogiozmai - The Piling Evidence:  Homosexuality Is a Choice   
Blogizomai - Is What is Natural Moral?:  Homosexuality and the Animal Kingdom (Part 1)
Blogizomai - Is What is Natural Moral?  The Great Chasm Between Nature and Morality (Part 2)
Blogizomai - Is What is Natural Moral?:  The Way Forward is Backwards - Cave Men and the Return to Amoral Sexuality (Part 3) 
Blogizomai - The Slippery Slides Towards Pedophilia: Pandora's Box Has Already Been Opened
Blogizomai - The Slippery Slope: From Victorian Values to Bestiality . . . And Beyond - Part 1
Blogizomai - The Slippery Slope: From Victorian Values to Bestiality . . . And Beyond - Part 2
Blogizomai - The Slippery Slope:  From Victorian Values to Bestiality . . . And Beyond - Part 3
Blogizomai - The Slippery Slope:  From Victorian Values to Bestiality . . . And Beyond - Part 4   
Blogizomai - Maybe There is a Slippery Slote After All: Slate Comes to Terms With the Obvious
Blogizomai - Onward Polygamy Soldiers: Taking The First Steps Towards Polygamy
Blogizomai - Ravage Love:  Mutually-Agreed Infidelity and the Future of "Marriage" 
Blogizomai - Is Love Ever Wrong?: The Danger of Shaping Law on Such a Weak Foundation
Blogizomai - Polygamy in the Mainstream:  The Slippery Slope in Full Effect
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