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NEW YORK BANS AND FINES CONVERSION THERAPY
TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, I’d like to take you to a headline out of World Magazine: “New York City Votes to Ban Conversion Therapy.” Conversion therapy, Harry, would be a counselor or a pastor sitting down with a client to help them change their sexual orientation to conform with their gender recorded at birth.
New York City says such counseling would subject the counselor to a $1,000.00 fine for the first offense, $5,000.00 for the second offense and $10,000.00 for each subsequent offense.
WHAT ARE THEY BANNING?
DR. REEDER: Tom, this requires a little bit of closer analysis. What they are responding to, “conversion therapy,” actually, among Christians, has met with much criticism. Conversion therapy is a certain therapeutic method that many believers believe is unbiblical and is inhumane in its methods. It includes all kinds of things – wrapping people up in blankets and then putting you back in the womb – but they have taken a questionable therapeutic method and they have gone to a counseling axiom – a counseling principle – and that principle that they have said is inhumane is not the therapeutic method, but the therapeutic objective.
WHAT DOES BIBLICAL THERAPY LOOK LIKE?
That objective is not conversion of the person, but the realization of sanity that you cannot unconvert what is actually in your DNA so, when someone comes to a counselor and says, “Well, I believe I’m a man,” but they were born a woman, “I believe I’m a woman,” but they were born a man, now this conversion therapy that has come under scrutiny has been used as a mechanism to tell counselors, “You can’t tell people you are what you are at your birth.”
They even go so far in their rationale as to say that this has no scientific validity. Again, if you’re talking about a therapeutic method, let’s discuss it, but they have taken a therapeutic method, which can be analyzed, and they have made a declaration of a therapy objective and that it is unscientific to tell a person, who is male who is self-identifying as a female, that they are wrong – that, in reality, they are what they are biologically at birth and what their DNA says that they are. In other words, the scientific evidence is you are what you are at birth, but they’re saying it’s unscientific to tell someone that you are what you are at birth.
WHAT THIS MEANS FOR BIBLICAL COUNSELORS
That’s the upside down world that sin and rebellion brings us to. This means that, if you want to be a Biblical counselor – now, right now, there is some provision for pastors and priests and rabbis, etc. but that’ll disappear like the mist on a summer morning after a couple of legal challenges – so what they’re telling counselors, “If your counseling includes telling someone who was born a man that they can be a man when they say they want to be a woman, then you will now be fined.” That’s basically what they’re saying.
And the second time you do it, you’re going to be fined more – five times as much – and, the next time you do it, you’re going to be fined two times the five times as much. In other words, “We’re going to bring the power of the state backed by the power of the sword – the power of penalties and fees – we are going to make you abandon A.) free speech, B.) free practice of religion and C.) rationality. Now we’re going to call the insane sane and the sane insane. In other words, we’re going to tell people that they can actually self-identify whatever they want to be and that’s what they actually are and, if you tell somebody that they are what they are and not what they self-identify as if it is opposite of what they are, you can’t tell people that that is irrational when, in fact, it is irrational and all of science stands behind it.”
What are you going to do now if you live in the State of New York if you’re a believer – what are you going to do now if you’ve signed onto a company and the company says, “You cannot refer to people as ‘he’ or ‘she’”? In fact, they are inventing whole new pronouns and they are now bringing regulations of fines upon people – if you look at a man who identifies as a woman and you don’t call him by what he says he wants you to call him, then you will now be fined – if you do not participate in this fabrication of self-identification.
Let me be very clear: We need to spend time with people carefully who are going through this gender dysphoria, but what we also are dealing with here is society descending into insanity and imbecility.
CHRISTIAN RESPONSIBILITIES TO UPHOLD TRUTH
Here are the three things I would suggest:
1.) I cannot violate the Ninth Commandment. The Ninth Commandment says I can’t bear a false witness. I’m not going to tell someone who is a man, “You’re a woman.” I’m not going to tell someone who’s a woman, “You are a man.” I cannot violate the Ninth Commandment as a false witness. In other words, I can’t be in a courtroom and someone says to me, “Do you see that man over there?” and it’s actually a woman and I would say, “Yes.” No, I can’t do that. I’ve got to tell the truth.
2.) I’ve got to tell the truth in love. That doesn’t mean that I’m not going to be careful and sensitive in communicating the truth, but I’m going to tell the truth and I’m going to tell the truth in love. Part of loving is to speak the truth. Part of speaking the truth is to speak the truth compassionately and courageously and clearly and convincingly.
3.) I am going to be faithful to God’s Word with a Christian world and life view. I will not embrace the insanity of abandoning a Biblical world and life view simply because you say you’re going to fine me, or I’m going to lose my job or I’m going to have to walk away from my profession in your state. I can’t be a Biblical counselor in your state.
TITLE VII AND SUPREME COURT IMPLICATIONS
TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, another issue that’s going to come up in 2018 is the federal government, aka the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission, deciding what Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Acts means. Now, the term that is under discussion is “you cannot discriminate because of someone’s sex.” Well, the EOEC, on their own, has decided that must mean sexual identity.
DR. REEDER: And, “sexual orientation” – that we are now giving civil rights to gender dysphoria and to sexual behavior. That’s got to be challenged. It’s got to make its way into the court system. I think it’s got to make its way into the Supreme Court. It is there that you hope some amount of sanity is in place.
Our founding documents give us the rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. By the way, notice it did not give the right to happiness – it gave the right to the pursuit of happiness. You have the right of life, you have the right of liberty and you have the right to the pursuit of happiness. That should not be discriminated against because you’re a male or a female or because of your ethnicity or because of your religion. That is precisely right.
What we’re about to find out is will all of the major religions be discriminated against because all of the major religions affirm male and female at creation – that we are men and women, the binary world and life view of sex and gender at birth.
Will we now discriminate against the free speech and the free practice of religion by the invention of a civil right for those who would self-identify, even though scientifically, biologically, logically and legally, they are what they are at birth?
Clearly, that invention of this civil right for sexual behavior and gender dysphoria is about to arrive on the doorstep of the Supreme Court. Let us pray that sanity for the sake of cultural sanity will prevail when that course arrives.
BELIEVERS MUST STAND FIRM AGAINST CHAOS
Believers, you have to learn how to hold faithfully to Biblical truth in love and you have to learn how to practice that in the context of these increasing regulations, threats and fines in a society that would have us not speak the truth in love but, in the name of love, abandon truth and speak falsehood to someone when we would call them something that they say they are when, in reality, that’s not what they are.
The sanity of God’s creation must be affirmed, lest the insanity of our mythological creation of self-identity leads us into the abyss of chaos.
Dr. Harry L. Reeder III is the Senior Pastor of Briarwood Presbyterian Church in Birmingham.
This podcast was transcribed by Jessica Havin. Jessica is editorial assistant for Yellowhammer News. Jessica has transcribed some of the top podcasts in the country and her work has been featured in a New York Times Bestseller.