Australian state takes steps to prohibit prayer

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We knew it was coming. Government officials have been seeking ways to restrict free speech for years by declaring certain messages to be “hate speech.” So it was only a matter of time before the bureaucrats wanted to try restricting the way we talk to God, too.

Victoria, a state in Australia, just passed the Change or Suppression (Conversion) Practices Prohibition Bill “to ensure that all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, feel welcome and valued in Victoria and are able to live authentically and with pride.”

Carl Trueman, blogging at First Things, notes, “It is hard to argue with that, both because the aim seems laudable enough (who wants to live in a place where she does not feel valued?) and because it embodies the nebulous jello-speak of our current therapeutic age. Feeling valued and living authentically are useful, empty phrases that sound wonderfully reassuring but can be given whatever content the month dictates.”

The new law prohibits any “practice or conduct directed toward a person, whether with or without the person’s consent on the basis of the person’s sexual orientation or gender identity; and for the purpose of changing or suppressing the sexual orientation or gender identity of the person; or inducing the person to change or suppress their sexual orientation or gender identity.”

That means, if a parent is upset with the direction a child is headed in their “sexual orientation,” simply praying that God change the child’s heart is now illegal in Australia.

The law expressly prohibits “carrying out a religious practice, including but not limited to, a prayer-based practice, a deliverance practice or an exorcism.”

Trueman writes, “In short, if someone asks a pastor, a priest, or a Christian friend to pray for him that his sexual desires or gender dysphoria might be changed, that pastor, priest, or friend runs the risk of committing a criminal offense. Presumably this also applies to parents praying for their children—or perhaps even parents teaching their children that untrammeled expressions of sexual desire are inappropriate.”

Being an island nation, Australia imposed some of the strictest COVID restrictions in the world to prevent the illness with a 99.6% full recovery rate from arriving on its shores. Hopefully, the world will be able to contain this senseless speech cancer to Australia and prevent it from spreading around the globe.

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Greg Gerber

A native of Wisconsin who moved to Arizona in 2009, Greg Gerber is a DODO -- Dad of Daughters Only -- to three grown daughters. He worked as a journalist for many years before pursuing a career as a faith-based writer, author, coach and speaker. Greg is the author of Pornocide: How Lust is Killing Your Faith, Stealing Your Joy and Destroying Your Life.

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