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SCOTUS dismissal of conversion therapy ban appeal impacts more than California

SCOTUS ruled against fundamentalism Monday, not Christianity
SCOTUS ruled against fundamentalism Monday, not Christianity
Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Supreme Court decision


Legislation to ban reparative therapy for minors was drafted in the California Senate in 2012 and survived a challenge Monday, June 30. The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) declined to hear the appeal, and MinnPost offered how the law might have a ripple effect in the Midwest Wednesday.

The state of Minnesota is one of seven pictured states for which a graphic on the Huffington Post Thursday lists as having introduced legislation to ban the so-called conversion therapy. Wisconsin, Illinois, Washington, New York, Delaware and Virginia are also shown as having had such legislation fail.

MinnPost obviously defines failed differently because that state's legislation is referred to as such but is still alive and thus could be affected by the decision on a similar California law. New Jersey and California are the only two states to have a ban, with both having survived appeal.

Advocates of conversion therapy tend to be fundamentalist Christians. MinnPost pointed out that Representative Michele Bachmann's husband Marcus employs the therapy and mentioned the couple's scandal surrounding accepting state and federal money for it.

Christians had a victory for religious freedom regarding the contraception mandate to the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), but no comment was given regarding the decision not to hear this case. SCOTUS again made the correct decision based on the law regarding legislation that was on the right side of more facts.

Sometimes, Christianity needs to be saved from its fundamentalists and reminded that things done in the name of God and even with good intent are not always divinely-appointed ministries:

Many will say to me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name cast out devils? and in thy name, done many wonderful works? And I will profess unto them, 'I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.' Matthew 7:22-23, King James Version

Few intend to do evil, but zeal is often motivated by the flesh rather than the spirit. Pushing forward in the face of concerns shows zeal, not wisdom. Offering misleading information and double standards shows an agenda that is not God-driven.

A New York Times article quoted Liberty Counsel (a Christian legal aid group) as saying there is no scientific basis to say that the therapy can be harmful. That is simply not true—just because a basis is not conclusive yet does not mean it does not exist. Moreover, there is a lot of it.

In one of the worst examples, a study referenced in the Huffington Post article reported some harm from over 90 percent of participants in a study of those in conversion therapy as minors, with 16 percent saying it devastated their lives. The American Psychiatric Association and World Health Organization found there was enough evidence to discontinue the practice given there is much less evidence suggesting the methods work.

Should California be barred from stopping something that there is more evidence says harms than helps, at least until we know for sure...upon minors only? The Liberty Counsel does not think so:

The minors we represent do not want to act on same-sex attractions, nor do they want to engage in such behavior. They are greatly benefiting from this counseling.

Except minors cannot really consent. They are not given the full rights or responsibilities of adulthood because the judgment center of the brain is not fully developed, and they are dependent upon a guardian. Their motivation could be societal pressure that is exacerbated by attempts to cure homosexuals of their "malady" or because they are seeking parental approval.

Using evidence with a lower standard than that which one rejects is only one example of the political hypocrisy many advocates are employing that give Christianity a black eye. Most are conservatives claiming to support state's rights and should not even be seeking nine unelected federal officials to overturn a state law.

Thus, SCOTUS had a two-for-two Monday ruling on matters that largely involved Christians as plaintiffs. In both cases, the narrower choice should please true moderates: Hobby Lobby cannot be forced to pay for the less-than-five percent of contraceptive coverage its owners found objectionable on the basis faith, but a state at least has the right to ban an experimental therapy with more bad than good results from being used on minors.

Want anymore proof it was the right decision? Every partisan had a one-for-two finish: Democrats and Republicans, safety advocates and libertarians, secular and religious...kudos to SCOTUS for Monday.

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