Christian Conservatives Claim Bill Banning Conversion Therapy Would Also Ban the Bible

 
 
Christian conservatives are up in arms about a bill they claim bans the Bible. A.B. 2943, which passed the California House on Thursday by a 50-13 vote, expands an existing law that bans the practice of "conversion therapy" or "reparative therapy" on minors. These so-called therapies, often the product of misguided religious practices, are not only not effective, but have been deemed harmful, and have been linked to suicide.

But don't tell that to some Christian conservatives, who are flippantly calling the legislation the "Must Stay Gay Bill" – as if that's a bad thing.

A.B. 2943 extends the ban on the practice of Sexual Orientation Change Efforts (SOCE) to all persons, not just minors, by adding the the words “advertising, offering to engage in, or engaging in sexual orientation change efforts with an individual” to the "existing list of unfair methods of competition and unfair or deceptive acts or practices," according to the bill's official summary.

It does not ban the Bible, and unless those who claim it does are willing to say the Bible is "unfair or deceptive," they should probably back down.

But try telling that to California State Assembly member Travis Allen, a Republican who just happens to be running for governor, or the far right wing news network OANN, whose host offered this intro on Thursday:

"This is essentially criminalizing religious beliefs," Liz Wheeler said, falsely. "I don’t mean to speak in hyperbole here, but if this bill were to pass, would this prohibit the sale of the Bible, that teaches these things about sexual morality?"

Allen was only too pleased to agree.

"Well, literally, according to how this law is written, yes, it would," prohibit the sale of the Bible, he said, falsely. "This is, you know, PC culture, politically correct culture, gone horribly awry. This is really directly hitting at our First Amendment rights as American citizens. Now the Democrat legislators in this building, right behind me, the California state legislature, they want to tell you how to think, what sort of books that you can read, write and purchase."

Snopes, which notes "the Bible itself is not a 'gay conversion therapy' manual," declares Rep. Allen's claim "False."

(OANN's title of this video they posted to YouTube: "This California State Assembly bill would BAN the Bible!")

And Rep. Allen should be reminded that conversion therapy has been labeled as harmful and dangerous by nearly every major medical organization, not only in the U.S., but also by many around the world.

Right wing author David French – who was strongly considering a presidential run to defeat Donald Trump in 2016 – says in The National Review earlier this week that "the California State Assembly is set to vote on a bill that would actually — among other things — ban the sale of books expressing orthodox Christian beliefs about sexual morality."

Nope.

Right wing Christian activist Michael Brown writes that the "onerous" bill "could literally mean the banning of certain religious books."

Nope.

"If we don't stop this, what's coming next?" he fear-mongers.

Ten states, Washington D.C., and dozens of cities across the country have already banned conversion therapy. New Jersey famously declared the practice of attempting to change someone's sexual orientation fraud.

Some LGBTQ people who have undergone the practice call it torture. Christian conservatives call it freedom of speech and religion. And that's a problem.

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