The Presbyterian Church of Australia stands poised to defy Daniel Andrews controversial ‘Change or Suppression Practices Bill’, passed last week.
As has previously been reported, there are a plethora of problems with the bill—which has significant legal repercussions for people also outside of the state—and has been condemned by medical groups, as well as religious.
Former deputy prime minister John Anderson has condemned the Victorian legislation as “the biggest threat to our democratic freedoms in Australia’s entire legislative history” for “seeking to outlaw parental, therapeutic or religious discussions on issues of sexuality and gender is the biggest threat to our democratic freedoms in Australia’s entire legislative history.”
Moderator General of the Presbyterian Church of Australia, Rev. Dr Peter Barnes, has requested that all Presbyterian ministers to “preach the whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:26-27) and preach that not only all sex outside of the marriage—between a man and a woman—is sinful, but that all Christians should actively seek to pray for LGBTIQ people to turn away from both their behaviour and desires.
Dr Barnes states:
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.
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).”
A cross-party group of New South Wales politicians including Liberal MLC Shayne Mallard, Labor MLC Penny Sharpe, Greens MP Jenny Leong and Independent MP Alex Greenwich are now vowing to push a similar proposal in the state parliament, according to The Star Observer.
As such, it’s only a matter of time before the debate in Victoria comes to public prominence in NSW.
Mark Powell is Associate Pastor of Cornerstone Presbyterian Church, Strathfield.
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