A Christian group has threatened to pursue a legal fight against the Irish government should the state cave to LGBT activists and ban a certain kind of "prayer," effectively criminalizing Christianity and Biblical sexuality in the country.
WND reported that the Christian Institute (CI) has announced its threat against the Northern Ireland government if it pushes its ban on "prayer," which is being used in counseling for people with gender dysphoria and often referred to as "conversion therapy."
Conversion therapy has been banned in several American states while the issue on it is currently being raised by pro-transgender activists in the United Kingdom, WND noted. The said activists pointed out that prayer is being used to get rid of same-sex attractions and purport prayer as counseling that needs to be banned.
"LGBT activists are pushing for a broad ban to criminalize prayer, preaching, pastoral support and even parenting which does not affirm same-sex relationships or a person's chosen gender identity," CI said in a statement.
CI elaborated that banning prayer would be a violation on Christians' practice of religious beliefs, which pro-transgender activists are pushing to criminalize. The organization has expressed its conviction to resort to legal action should the Northern Ireland Executive persist with its ban on "conversion therapy," which includes "the wrong kind of prayer."
"(A) badly drafted ban 'could inadvertently criminalize those in churches and other faith communities who adhere to traditional beliefs about marriage and gender identity.'," CI said in a letter addressed to Northern Ireland Executive Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey MLA.
"Should any proposals from the department infringe upon the everyday church activities outlined within the enclosed opinion our client will not hesitate, where appropriate, to seek a judicial review," CI added.
In its website, CI cited leading human rights QC Jason Coppel in stating that Christian beliefs on sexuality are protected in the European Convention of Human Rights Article 9. Thus, these beliefs "must be treated by the State with neutrality and impartiality" and that criminalizing such beliefs are "particularly difficult to justify."
"One of the fundamental facets of freedom of religion or belief is the right of a religion to determine its own beliefs and practices, the legitimacy of which should not be questioned by the state," Coppel said.
The CI through its official Ciaran Kelly said that its is not up to government officials and personnel to decide what kind of prayers are acceptable as what the transgender activists purports to be used to push the ban on conversion therapy. Kelly said it is "shocking" that activists "weaponise a 'harm narrative'" on prayer to oppress Christians and to "outlaw" it in society today when it comes to sexuality.
"Protecting people from dangerous medical practices is one thing but banning preaching, prayer and pastoral care is quite different. It would be as tyrannical as it would be unworkable. It is not up to the police, prosecutors or the courts to decide which kinds of prayer are acceptable," Kelly said.
This would also imply, the CI pointed out, that parents would be criminalized if they encourage their children to embrace the Christian faith, especially its teachings on sexuality and gender. This is something that is totally wrong and against the rights of parents in rearing their child in a matter they know best.
While CI is not against banning "pseudo-medical" practices that are proven harmful, Christians' religious freedoms and rights must be protected from any form of attack, particularly from those who want Biblical practices outlawed.