CNA Staff, Feb 4, 2021 / 14:12 pm
A proposed ban on “conversion therapy” for sexual orientation or gender identity in Australia’s Victoria state is far too broad and could target normal prayer and conversations between children and parents, Catholic bishops and Muslim leaders warned this week.
“Unfortunately, this bill doesn’t just ban outdated and insidious practices of coercion and harm, which we firmly reject,” said the Feb. 1 letter. “The bill also criminalizes conversation between children and parents, interferes with sound professional advice, and silences ministers of religion from providing personal attention for individuals freely seeking pastoral care for complex personal situations.”
The letter to Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews was signed by Archbishop Peter Comensoli of Melbourne, the other Catholic bishops of the dioceses and eparchies of Victoria state, and Mohamed Mohideen, president of the Islamic Council of Victoria. It appeared in several newspaper advertisements.
“At present the bill appears to target people of faith in an unprecedented way, puts limits on ordinary conversations in families, and legislates for what prayer is legal and what prayer is not,” the joint Catholic-Muslim letter continued. “Various amendments can be made to rescue the bill from taking Victoria into strange new territory, in which prayerful advice and guidance, freely sought by one adult from another, is criminalized.”