Australian Christians say they’ll defy ban on prayer for overcoming unwanted sexual attractions
VICTORIA, Australia, February 12, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) – Christian leaders are poised to resist Victoria’s controversial Change or Suppression (Conversion) Practices Prohibition bill, which threatens parents with up to 10 years in prison if they don’t affirm their kids’ sexual confusion and bans “carrying out a religious practice, including but not limited to, a prayer-based practice, a deliverance practice or an exorcism” to help someone overcome unwanted sexual attractions.
The Presbyterian Church of Australia has been the first to raise its voice following the bill’s passage through the Victorian Upper House, with its Moderator Rev. Dr. Peter Barnes urging his ministers to remain faithful to scripture on all matters of sexual morality, including homosexuality and transgenderism.
“The Change or Suppression (Conversion) Practices Prohibition Bill has now passed through both houses of the Victorian parliament. It forbids any attempt to change or suppress, or induce any person to change or suppress, his or her sexual orientation or gender identity. Prayer or counselling designed to change a person, even at that person’s request, is prohibited. In short, this means that sexual preference is protected by law, as is any person’s gender preference. Homosexual sex is not permitted to be called ‘sin’, and a male today can claim to be a female tomorrow,” Barnes said.
In his regular column for the Spectator Australia, fellow Presbyterian Minister Mark Powell doubled down on his superior’s statement.
“Significantly, the Victorian legislation makes it illegal for a parent to pray for their own child, even if they had requested them to do so. As such, Dr Barnes believes that it is right for Christians to defy the governing authority such as, ‘When King Darius exceeded his God-given authority, Daniel did ‘as he had done previously’ (Dan.6:10),” Powell wrote.
Powell also warned his readers of a push for similar legislation to be passed in his home state of New South Wales.
Author Bill Muehlenberg exhorted Christians to stand up for Christ “regardless of the dire consequences” on his popular blog, CultureWatch.
“Will this finally be the wakeup call we all need? Guess what folks? The time for playing games is now over. Given that Christians are the main group being targeted here, we need to be aware of what is really going on. We either commit to standing for Christ… or we renounce our faith altogether and admit it was all just a charade. We must choose now,” Muehlenberg wrote.
Prior to the bill’s passage, Catholic Archbishop of Melbourne Peter Comensoli urged Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews, a baptized Catholic, to halt the bill in a joint statement with local faith leaders: “[T]he State has no interest in how I pray, who I pray to, and what I pray for. I warmly welcome any legislation to protect people from harm, but sadly this Bill does a whole lot of other things as well, and we have to be forthright and clear, as well as charitable.”
“We are praying for a constructive way forward to open up with all members of the Victorian Parliament,” they wrote.