When it comes to trusting science to guide decisions around sexuality, progressively minded governments around Australia have a lot in common with anti-vaxxers.
Form your narrative first, decide where you want this thing to land, and then search for the “science” to back up your clearly unsustainable position.
In other words, ignore the science and find an torturous anecdotal pseudo-science to back your desires. Anti-vaxxers do it, COVID conspiracy theorists do it. And now state governments who are pushing a progressive agenda are doing it. What strange bedfellows!
Not convinced? Then how else could you explain Australian governments, such as the Queensland and Victorian State Governments, taking seriously the type of information put out by the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology submission on conversion therapy?
As Murray Campbell helpfully writes here, in a fantastic expose of the issue, there is actually no data in Australia to support the thesis that conversion therapy has been widespread in churches.
Yet that is the claim that the RMIT researchers who coauthor an article in The Conversation online magazine wish to push. And those are the voices that progressive goverments want to hear.
In hushed tones the authors describe how conversion therapy is all so “hidden”. Conversion therapy, often practiced in the past among psychologists, is sneaking around, lurking in Bible studies, sermons and prayer groups.
“Be on your guard!” they warn soberly, “It’s coming to a corner church near you. It might even be there!”
And note the scary religious graphic accompanying the article:
All looks very “prayer-groupy” doesn’t it? Luring in young people and love bombing them before trying to change their sexual practices and challenge their core identities.
And all this despite the fact that conversion therapies have overwhelmingly taken place in secular psychological settings. Despite the fact that sitting in a circle holding hands doesn’t look all that much like anything therapeutic.
The agenda is clear. Anecdotal evidence is stretched and pulled to cover a pre-ordained story, and governments that have a zealous progressive agenda lap it up. Like anti-vaxxers lap up stories about vaccinations causing autism. It’s all just nonsense.
And ironic. For example we have Victorian Premier Dan Andrews time and time again telling us that he’s following the science over the COVID lockdown. He is basing his political credibility on evidence.
Well for some things. Clearly that won’t be the case when it comes to conversion therapy, which if banned as if should be, is a little like banning the presence of unicorns, or finding a cure for a disease that no one has got.
Andrews also claimed, after the last election that he won, that he was the leader of the most progressive government in Australia. Which probably explains why the security guards in the hotel quarantine fiasco received diversity training and no training at all in how to handle a pandemic.
In other words, he let ideology trump science, and the whole state is now bearing the consequences.
Which is pretty much what will happen with conversion therapy. He, and others like him, will now allow ideology to trump science and facts, and will enable the push for a draconian overreach into church practices that proclaim the gospel in every aspect of one’s life.
Let’s be clear, Christianity is in the firing line on this because we don’t practice conversion therapy, but we do preach conversion theology, which is the actual target of the hard sexular age agenda.
Which is probably a long way of saying that Christians should no longer assume that they can gather the actual data, do the actual science, organise an actual research paper into the actual presence or otherwise of conversion therapy.
Why not? Because progressive governments are not interested in the facts. This is not about the science. This is about the narrative. There is nothing coherent or consistent about what is happening. The goal has been decided beforehand, now they just have to find a way to reach that goal.
Let’s not assume going forward that big progressive government will offer a level playing when it comes to debating the presence or otherwise of conversion therapy. There will be little room for the nuances of what it means to become a Christian and sign up to the sexual ethic demanded by Christ, gay, straight, married or single.
The goal has been decided beforehand. And in times and places where the good news of the gospel is no longer even considered bad news, but dangerous news, there’s a new gospel in town – the gospel of sexual identity.
Which simply proves that progressive governments are not against conversion, they’re all for it, it’s just that they only want it going one way.
Oh well, it’s not as if they’d put police out on the streets to enforce it.