President Joe Biden signed an executive order this week that will crack down on conversion therapy and any state laws currently allowing it in an effort to ostensibly promote equality for LGBT people.
On Wednesday, Biden issued the Executive Order on Advancing Equality for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and Intersex Individuals. The order starts by discussing the strides made toward equality for LGBT people. “In spite of this historic progress, LGBTQI+ individuals and families still face systemic discrimination and barriers to full participation in our Nation’s economic and civic life.”
“Today, unrelenting political and legislative attacks at the State level — on LGBTQI+ children and families in particular — threaten the civil rights gains of the last half century and put LGBTQI+ people at risk. These attacks defy our American values of liberty and dignity, corrode our democracy, and threaten basic personal safety.”
A part of those attacks, according to the administration, is “conversion therapy.” The American Psychological Association (APA) defines conversion therapy as “counseling and psychotherapy to attempt to eliminate individuals’ sexual desires for members of their own sex.”
The APA argues that the motivation is built on a flawed view of homosexuality as an immoral or abnormal sexual expression. It claims that all major health organizations have supported the removal of homosexuality as a mental disorder and claim it is a normal sexual expression, not one to be cured.
It claims that ministries and religious groups that seek to use religious doctrine to eliminate homosexual desires are harmful.
The executive order tasks the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to “reduce the risk of youth exposure to so-called conversion therapy.” Under that initiative, the order calls for making people aware of the harms of so-called conversion therapy. It also tells the agency to “seek funding opportunities for providers of evidence-based trauma-informed services to better support survivors of so-called conversion therapy.”
It also encouraged the Federal Trade Commission “to consider whether so-called conversion therapy constitutes an unfair or deceptive act or practice, and to issue such consumer warnings or notices as may be appropriate.”
The administration doesn’t seek to only target conversion therapy at home, but abroad. “To address so-called conversion therapy around the world, within 180 days of the date of this order, the Secretary of State, in collaboration with the Secretary of the Treasury, the Secretary of HHS, and the Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development, shall develop an action plan to promote an end to its use around the world.”
“In developing the action plan, the Secretary of State shall consider the use of United States foreign assistance programs and the United States voice and vote in multilateral development banks and international development institutions of which the United States is a shareholder or donor to take appropriate steps to prevent the use of so-called conversion therapy…”
In a statement, Terry Schilling, president of the conservative American Principles Project, said it’s “ironic” that the President is banning conversion therapy “when, in fact, that is exactly what it is promoting.”
He explained, “What the administration really wants to do is lock mentally distressed children into the sex-change process and criminalize any attempts to make them feel comfortable in their own bodies.”
Biden’s executive order comes on the heels of Canada’s Bill C-4, which became law on January 8, 2022, and bans conversion therapy for any aspect of LGBT activity. It was fast-tracked through Parliament and has such an overly broad interpretation that Christian counselors and pastors could face legal action for preaching the Gospel on God’s design for marriage and sexuality. It could potentially even cover conversations between parents and children. Violation of the ban carries a prison sentence of up to five years.
The psychotherapy profession is supposed to work to help people with mental and emotional issues, but over the last several decades, the standards of care pushed down from academic institutions, the APA, and federal healthcare agencies have been to counsel patients to seek happiness over contentment and short-term fixes rather than long-term solutions. The result has been a further undermining of an objective moral code and a destabilization of institutions, including marriage and the family.
For example, laws and professional standards now permit (or even require) school counselors and private therapists to counsel children (sometimes outside of parental knowledge and consent) to act on their sexual impulses, that an abortion is in their best interest, and that they were somehow born in the wrong body, among other misguidance. Therapists are encouraged — sometimes mandated — to immediately affirm a child with gender dysphoria, and some are even pushing patients to use medical and surgical interventions. Many are also willing to liberally prescribe medications and even shock therapy to treat depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues.
But now, at a time when the country is facing exigent threats to the economy and public safety, the federal government is focused on telling therapists, pastors, and parents the specific words and moral beliefs they must adhere to when having conversations with homosexuals and others living or contemplating the LGBT lifestyle.
The hubris of the federal government’s overreach down into the very heart of human interaction is breathtaking, and the consequences to religions, Christian counselors, and families are potentially catastrophic.
Hopefully, the courts will find that this executive fiat is clearly a blatant assault on the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment. However, it might also be a violation of the Establishment Clause as the state is increasingly instituting secular humanism — or the idolatry of the self — as a “state-sponsored religion” by demanding that society and individuals adopt its doctrine, language, and symbolism — or face consequences.
Judges who took an oath to uphold the Constitution must overlook the intimidation and emotional tactics used to push this cult-like agenda over all other belief systems and quickly put the implementation of this order on hold permanently.
The Biden administration is attempting to prevent the Gospel from being proclaimed. While the administration will never say that, indeed they would deny it, their actions are telling. The message of Christianity is a depraved state of humanity met with the saving grace of Christ. Redemption from the eternal impact of sin and deliverance from sin’s impact on earth can all be found in Christ. But contemporary laws prohibit the acknowledgment that gender dysphoria or unbiblical sexual orientations are the results of depravity, even if one isn’t trying to pursue this lifestyle. Yes, many legislative initiatives throughout the U.S. attempt to prohibit Christian counselors, including pastors, from conversion therapy even if the patient requests it.
Regardless of what the government says, the Bible says that homosexuality is a sin (Lev. 18:22, Rom. 1:27, 1 Corinthians 6:9-10), just as other sexual immorality, including adultery and sex outside of marriage. While the President claims that challenging a person in his or her belief and activity is harmful, what actually is harmful is letting people remain in their sin and deluding them into thinking that it’s not only normal but beneficial.
While officials may try to dictate to the Church and pastors how to handle issues of sexuality, the Bible is the authoritative source of truth.
To the world, nothing is worse than being converted from sinful desires to God’s righteous standard, but to those who have experienced His grace, nothing is better than being freed from sin and living in obedience to God. As 2 Corinthians 5:17 says,
“Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.”
Church, it is imperative to the Great Commission that we stand up for truth and not allow oppressive offices to advance the harm that they’re instilling in the lives around us.