New law in Wales threatens pastor’s religious freedom
09/13/2021 United Kingdom (International Christian Concern) – The Welsh government recently acknowledged that its plans to ban ‘conversion therapy’, the LGBTQ + Action Plan for Wales, will limit the religious freedom of pastors in the country. On page 8 of the proposal’s impact plan, the government openly admits that “The draft plan to ban conversion therapy practices may restrict religious freedoms and put religious leaders at risk of prosecution.”
While the term “conversion therapy” is generally used in reference to professional counseling settings, the term is now applied to pastors who counsel their own parishioners in a private religious setting. As part of the proposed course of action, this could lead to lawsuits against pastors if this advice asserts a traditional biblical view of sexuality.
According to Dr Carys Moseley of UK legal advocacy group Christian Concern (CC), this is a strange claim by the Welsh government since, as part of the UK, Wales does not have the power to make criminal law nor to apply rights, including religious freedom. This had led Dr Moseley to suspect that it was possible that “The Welsh government wants people to be able to report religious leaders to the police in the event of ‘hate incidents’.”
In an interview with the BBC, Welsh Deputy Minister for Social Partnership Hannah Blythyn said: “It is a political priority for the Welsh government… to really drive this [proposed Action Plan] cheeky. Launching our action plan today will enable everyone across Wales to help us achieve our goal of becoming the most LGBTQ + friendly nation in Europe.
As the proposed plan attempts to make Wales the most LGBT-friendly country in Europe, Dr Moseley fears the plan will make Wales a dangerous place for a pastor with a biblical view of sexuality.
“[In the proposed plan,] the Welsh government wants to promote ‘dialogue’ between communities, presumably between the ‘LGBTQ + community’ and ‘religious groups’, ” Dr. Moseley notes. “Now, since August 31, he admits that religious leaders who refuse to comply with this agenda could face prosecution. In other words, if you do not agree to participate in the (perhaps forced) “dialogue” in exactly the way the Welsh government wants you will be reported to the police … Welsh pastors must wake up and surrender reckons that they could be at risk of prosecution simply for doing their job faithfully.
For interviews, please contact Addison Parker: [email protected].