Proposed Conversion Therapy Laws NZ

Our government has introduced a bill called, "Conversion Practices Prohibition Legislation Bill 56-1 (2021)". In this article, I want to help you understand why this is something we, as Christians, must oppose. Let me highlight the disastrous nature of this bill through 5 quotes directly take from the bill (linked above).

Conversion practices encompass a broad range of practices that seek to change or suppress a person’s sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression. Research emphasises that conversion practices do not work and can contribute to issues such as low self-esteem, depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts and attempts."

The gospel which we preach has bound up in it a call to repent and come to Christ. This includes putting off sin and confirming one's life to the word of God. This would mean that when we proclaim the gospel, according to the law, we are seeking to change or suppress people's sexual orientation, identity, and expression. According to our government, we would be practising conversion therapy and contributing to issues such as low self-esteem, depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts and attempts.

The Government’s objectives in prohibiting conversion practices are to affirm the dignity of all people and that no sexual orientation or gender identity is broken and in need of fixing...

The Scriptures clearly teach that transgenderism and any sexual orientation, other than faithful heterosexual relationships within the marital relationship, are a result of the fall and therefore are broken and in need of bringing under the gospel of Christ. As a denomination, we expressed this belief in our recently adopted statement on gender and sexuality.

The definition clarifies that it does not capture the expression only of a religious principle or belief that is not intended to change or suppress a person’s sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.

The bill makes room for freedom of religious thought and expression, providing it doesn't aim at change or suppression. However, because our religious belief is that sanctification includes putting to death these sinful patterns, our belief puts us outside of this allowance. As a friend of mine informed me, "I asked the labour MP up here face to face about this - she pretty much told me straight that I could have my view about what the Bible teaches, and that was fine, as long as I am accepting. We talked more and she agreed that if we didn't "accept" - meaning that we don't critique, say it needs to change (in examples of evangelism or church membership) then yes we would be breaking the law. It's clearly going to criminalise us."

It will be an offence for any person to perform conversion practices on a person who— is under the age of 18 years.

If the Church, pastors, elders, parents, or any others (this is inside the church or in your own home) work with children under 18 and encourage them to not embrace homosexuality, or to act upon their desires we will be facing up to 3 years imprisonment. This would include telling your children they are boys or girls, or encouraging them to express the heterosexual relationships ordained by God.

Clause 10 provides that consent is not a defence to a charge under clause 8 or 9.

The fact that a person consents to this change does not change the fact that this is a criminal act potentially causing up to 3 or 5 year imprisonment. You could potentially convert a homosexual, their family lodge a complaint, and you would be liable to imprisonment. Even if one of your own children asks you to help them, or someone comes for advice, you could face imprisonment.

So what can you do?

Let me encourage you to do three things. First, pray that God would overthrow this heinous bill. Second, make sure you are informed on the reality of what this means. As a starter, check out these two videos on the Family First YouTube channel: (here and here). Third, contact your local MP and tell them that you are opposed to this bill. The third of these is the hardest. If you need some help with this, get in touch with us and we can help you along the way!


This article was contributed by Logan Hagoort. Pastor at Covenant Presbyterian Church.

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