In past months several city, county and state governments around the country have passed bans on “conversion therapy” for minors by “licensed mental health professionals”. Many have been spearheaded in our local South Florida region with Miami Beach in 2016, West Palm Beach County in December of 2017 and Broward County in January of 2018 passing these bans. The Miami Dade County commission narrowly denied the ban in October of 2017 only after Christian leaders attended the commission meetings showing their opposition to prohibiting the practice.
As Christian leaders oppose the banning of this therapy, some have labeled them as oppressive. It’s possible to see why some would consider this oppressive when these same people consider being homosexual or trans gender non-voluntary, or something with which someone is born. There are even some who have come to the conclusion that God made homosexuals and trans genders that way and therefore who should try to change them into something different from how God made them.
This generation of young people has had to deal with pressures unlike any generation in history. They are constantly bombarded with sexual images and stimuli through music, television, movies, video games and easy access to pornography on the internet. Their young minds were never meant to process such serious images at such a young age and it’s taking its toll on many. Compound this with the fact that children and youth are naturally going through such dramatic hormonal changes in their bodies at this stage in their lives. There is no wonder why there is so much sexual confusion in today’s society. I am the first to admit the deep sexual challenges I personally had in my adolescence and I am grateful to have had help navigating through this difficult time in my life.
Many Christian leaders are concerned that bans on conversion therapy for health care professionals will ultimately lead to a ban on all such counseling. That could mean that before long there could be a ban on pastors and their own parents counseling children and youth about this subject. Just last month, the California Assembly voted to ban “advertising, offering to engage in, or engaging in sexual orientation change efforts with an individual”. California already has a ban on conversion therapy for minors; this is new law is for any age! The laws being proposed by the entire California State government could easily be used in court to prohibit Christians and churches from offering any counseling for sexual orientation change efforts. These proposed laws could make it illegal for Christian authors and churches to write books, have ministries or conferences, or provide unlicensed counseling that does anything other than to affirm homosexuality and trans gendered orientation.
I have several homosexual friends and some family members who I love dearly. They are innately valuable as human beings and God’s creation. I would never mean any of them harm and I don’t think the vast majority of Christians would mean them harm either. I have known many who are not happy in their homosexual lifestyle and want to change but have had a difficult struggle to change their attractions. I also have seen many people who have been in the homosexual lifestyle change with God’s help and no longer live in that lifestyle. Many have gone on to enjoy heterosexual marriages with children.
In God we can find the power to choose whatever we want in our lives. His greatest desire is to see us all live in freedom. Freedom from sin, addictions, hate, sickness, poverty and powerlessness. He has made that freedom available to us but we might be required to struggle to attain that freedom. Life is not easy and each of us is given a different deck of cards with which to play. We work to do the best we can with what we have but many times we need help from others along the way. May no one and no government hinder anyone from receiving the help they may need in life’s struggles.