Wednesday, 08 February 2012

Anglican Bishops Back Christian Counselor Over Therapy for Homosexuals

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A British counselor who was censured by the UK’s top professional psychotherapy association for agreeing to help a man leave the homosexual lifestyle has received the backing of high-ranking officials from one of the nation’s most venerable institutions: the Church of England.

In late January the British Association for Counseling and Psychotherapy (BACP) found 60-year-old psychotherapist Lesley Pilkington guilty of professional misconduct after she agreed to counsel a man who came to her claiming he wanted to leave the homosexual lifestyle. The individual, Patrick Strudwick, turned out to be a “gay” undercover journalist trying to entrap Pilkington and get her in trouble.

“I am an out, happily gay man,” Strudwick wrote in the Guardian newspaper. “I was undercover, investigating therapists who practice this so-called conversion therapy (also known as reparative therapy) — who try to ‘pray away the gay.’ I asked her to make me straight.” Strudwick justified his underhanded conniving, insisting that Pilkington’s compassionate efforts to help homosexuals find freedom “flout the advice of every major mental-health body in Britain.”

The BACP ruled that Pilkington — who prayed with Strudwick and used Scripture to help show him the way to freedom — had allowed her “preconceived views” about homosexuality to color her professional behavior “in a way that was prejudicial.” BACP officials ordered her to undergo a volley of re-education and professional training courses designed to help her realign her views — or face losing her professional credentials.

Pilkington is in the process of appealing the ruling, arguing that the BACP has discriminated against her because of her Christian convictions. Significantly, she has received endorsement from a number of senior officials in the Church of England, including, according to England’s Telegraph newspaper, the Rev. George Carey (pictured above), former Archbishop of Canterbury, along with several other present and retired Anglican bishops.

In a letter to the BACP, the bishops pointed out that as a professional Pilkington had made it a point to differentiate between her “non-directive” counseling and her biblically-based Christian counseling. “We believe that people who seek, freely, to resolve unwanted same-sex attractions hold the moral right to receive professional assistance,” the Christian leaders wrote. “Whether motivated by Christian conscience or other values, clients, not practitioners, have the prerogative to choose the yardstick by which to define themselves. Not everyone stakes their identity on sexual feelings.”

The bishops also noted: “Psychological care for those who are distressed by unwanted homosexual attractions has been shown to yield a range of beneficial client outcomes, especially in motivated clients…. Such therapy does not produce harm despite the Royal College of Psychiatrists and others maintaining the contrary.”

They concluded their letter: “Competent practitioners, including those working with biblical Judeo-Christian values, should be free to assist those seeking help.”

In addition to the Church of England, Pilkington has received the endorsement of other Christian and pro-family leaders in the UK. Andrea Williams, CEO of the British grassroots activist organization Christian Concern, called Pilkington “a wonderful Christian counselor who has practiced for many years with an unblemished record.”

Williams noted that when the undercover “gay” journalist approached Pilkington with what seemed like a heartfelt request for help with his sexual confusion, “she was happy to give it. Rather than breaching his autonomy, Lesley provided exactly what was asked of her. It is shocking that she was targeted, lied to, and misrepresented by this homosexual activist — and even worse that her professional body consider her actions worthy of investigation.”

She added that “in a civilized society, therapy should remain freely available for those who wish to change their homosexual behavior, without the fear of intimidation and threats by the homosexual lobby.”

Christian Concern noted that Pilkington is just the latest professional in the UK who has been attacked for taking the view that homosexuality is wrong. “Christian counselor Gary McFarlane was sacked because, on a staff training day, he mentioned that he may possibly have a conscientious objection to providing directive sex therapy to homosexual couples,” the group recalled. “And magistrate Andrew McClintock was forced to resign after not being allowed to opt out of cases where he would have to place children with homosexual couples.”

Declared Williams: “It is time to stand up to a militant homosexual lobby who are unable to tolerate difference of opinion and who seek to coerce behavior and thought.”

Pilkington’s story recalls similar efforts made a few months back by an undercover homosexual activist in Minnesota to entrap therapists at a counseling service operated by Marcus Bachmann, husband of U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, at the time a presidential candidate.

As reported by The New American, NBC’s Nightline program sent the “gay” undercover agent, part of the homosexual activist group Truth Wins Out, into Bachmann’s Christian counseling clinic to secretly film a series of counseling sessions in which he posed as an individual wishing to leave the homosexual lifestyle. While he accused the counselor of assuring him that he could be “cured” of his homosexual feelings, in reality what the concerned counselor did was assure the confused man that, with God’s help, he could be free of the bondage of homosexuality.

Of course, Bachmann and his counseling team were on firm ethical ground, and the undercover “gay agent” failed in any way to entrap them. As Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council noted of the episode, “Pointing men and women who struggle with same-sex attractions to God isn’t ‘a discredited form of therapy’ — it’s the path to sexual healing. And it’s capable of bringing thousands of people out of bondage and into healthy behavior and a fuller relationship with Christ.”

Photo: The Right Rev. George Carey, former Archbishop of Canterbury

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