Bill C-4 was passed in Canada and enacted into law January 8, 2022. The bill is an amendment to the Criminal Code in Canada regarding conversion therapy and can be accessed here.
Wikipedia’s definition of “Conversion Therapy” is stated this way: “Conversion therapy is the pseudoscientific practice of attempting to change an individual’s sexual orientation from non-heterosexual to heterosexual and/or their gender identity from non-cisgender to cisgender [sex at birth].” We agree that “Conversion Therapy” is a “pseudoscientific practice.” Also, after reading the research on the efficacy of “Conversion Therapy,” we conclude that the practice is not supported by credible evidence and should be banned!
The Preamble to Bill C-4 states:
Whereas conversion therapy causes harm to the persons who are subjected to it;
Whereas conversion therapy causes harm to society because, among other things, it is based on and propagates myths and stereotypes about sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression, including the myth that heterosexuality, cisgender gender identity, and gender expression that conforms to the sex assigned to a person at birth are to be preferred over other sexual orientations, gender identities and gender expressions;
And whereas, in light of those harms, it is important to discourage and denounce the provision of conversion therapy in order to protect the human dignity and equality of all Canadians;
Now, therefore, Her Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate and House of Commons of Canada, enacts as follows:…
The Preamble gives the reasons for enacting the bill and is a clear presentation of the opinions of a sinful, fallen world. The “Preamble” is the most quoted and opposed because it clearly denies and opposes biblical sexuality. However, the comments in the Preamble are not stated in the remainder of Bill C-4. The danger in the Preamble is that it could be a harbinger of how the “Definition of conversion therapy” in Bill C-4 may be interpreted by those in power. This is important because it is a central part of the bill.
In his sermon on January 16, 2022, Pastor John MacArthur of Grace Community Church said that he had obtained the support of 5,000 pastors who have joined him to protest, from the pulpit, Bill C-4. The most serious problem with the pastors protesting is that many will naively use the term “conversion therapy” or just the term “therapy” in stating what they themselves do. One pastor did so when interviewed by Fox News. He responded bravely and biblically, except for his use of the term “therapy,” when he said “I will always preach the whole Bible…. And if someone comes to me asking for help, for therapy, I want the government and everybody else to know I’ll never turn that individual away. And if it costs me, so be it. But every hurting person who is asking me for help, I’ll not turn away.” (Bold added)
Christians who protest Bill C-4 should not use the term “conversion therapy” and especially the word “therapy” for what they do when they minister God’s Word to a hurting soul. Biblically and simply speaking, conversion is a spiritual turning away from sin in repentance and to Christ for new life. Such is a spiritual transformation from the powers of darkness into the Kingdom of God, wherein they are given a new identity in Christ. Jesus said, “Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:3). As Christians we do NOT do “therapy” or “conversion therapy.” The word “therapy,” in reference to “conversion therapy,” is a licensed psychological practice. Those terms are worldly terms that carry much worldly baggage and are controlled by state laws.
In Canada Psychologists of various kinds are licensed, province by province, just as they are state by state in the United States. This bill is hopefully only directed at licensed practitioners and prohibits them from practicing conversiontherapy. However, the “Definition of conversiontherapy” in the bill is dangerous, because of its possible elasticity. Our concern has to do with how the bill will be applied.
The danger of the Canadian bill is that it not only regulates the practice of conversion therapy, but it leaves the door open as to who the guilty violators (criminals) might be. In other words, depending on the powers that be who interpret the bill, the net could be spread so widely that the bill will violate personal and religious rights, as well as free speech. Although it is a law against “conversion therapy,” will it extend to everyone and even encompass private conversations that may be overheard and reported?
We are in agreement with The Canadian Religious Freedom Summit’s response to Bill C-4:
The law’s stated purpose is to outlaw “conversion therapy”. We strongly oppose the coercive and unscientific therapeutic practices the Bill was introduced to address. We appreciate and affirm the desire of parliamentarians to protect the vulnerable. However, we are deeply concerned that the effective reach of the legislation could be extended far beyond its stated purpose. (Bold added.)
Knowing what we know about Conversion Therapy research and reading the entire response several times, we conclude that the reaction in the United States by Dr. John MacArthur and many others is a rush to judgment for the wrong reasons!
The following is the Bill C-4 “Definition of conversion therapy.”
Definition of conversion therapy
320.101 In sections 320.102 to 320.104, conversion therapy means a practice, treatment or service designed to
(a) change a person’s sexual orientation to heterosexual;
(b) change a person’s gender identity to cisgender;
(c) change a person’s gender expression so that it conforms to the sex assigned to the person at birth;
(d) repress or reduce non-heterosexual attraction or sexual behaviour;
(e) repress a person’s non-cisgender gender identity; or
(f) repress or reduce a person’s gender expression that does not conform to the sex assigned to the person at birth.
The danger of the conversion therapy ban bill is when the words in the Preamble to Bill C-4 become the driving force behind the “Definition of conversion therapy” and how “practice, treatment, or service” could be interpreted to apply to everybody, including Christians.
There are two “myths and stereotypes” about LGBTs that are the rationale for Bill C-4. The first is “born that way” and the other is “can’t change.” We will dispel those two shibboleths of LGBT activists in a future article.