A psychotherapist has warned a Christian conference opposed to queer ideology that if LGBT activists successfully ban secular counseling for people with unwanted same-sex attraction, they will next go after religious counselors.
A conference known as “God’s Voice: A Biblical Response to the Queering of the Church” was held Feb. 22-23 at Fairview Baptist Church of Edmond, Oklahoma.
David Pickup, a licensed therapist who is a board member at the National Association for Research & Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH) and a practitioner of sexual orientation change efforts therapy, spoke at the God’s Voice conference last weekend.
During his remarks, Pickup warned his audience that for the state legislators trying to ban SOCE therapy, “the next step is to come after you.”
“It’s going to happen in your universities, it’s going to happen in your schools, in your elementary schools if you don’t conform to the new ‘sex education’ curriculum,” said Pickup.
“They try to get at psychotherapists first, and then they’re coming after church counselors and the church. They’re smart, folks. They know what’s coming and they know what they’re doing.”
Pickup has actively testified and lobbied against many proposed state-level bans on SOCE therapy, and is credited with helping to defeat most of them.
Pickup called on the conference attendees to be “as smart as foxes but gentle as doves” when it comes to state-level efforts to ban SOCE therapy.
Pickup then spoke about how SOCE therapy actually works contrary to popular perceptions, declaring that “the Mark Yarhouses and the Russell Moores and the Al Mohlers do not know what goes on in my office.”
“What goes on in my office is love, compassion,” explained Pickup. “There is no such thing as compassion without truth.”
Pickup noted that the vast majority of his patients are male, though he had some females as well. He grouped his patients into two categories: either overtly abused or bullied in a dysfunctional family background, or covertly neglected in a stable family background.
“I get to sit there, literally sit there, and because of these emotional healing experiences, watch my clients change their erotic feelings in the moment while they’re having therapy. I see it,” continued Pickup.
Janet Mefferd, a widely-syndicated Christian radio host, introduced Pickup to the conference, referring to him as a “remarkable man” who “has done some phenomenal overturning of the tables when the situation has called for it.”
“He is really fighting,” stated Mefferd, who stressed that the conference needs to be concerned about therapy bans because she believed that once states ban secular therapy options, “they’re coming for your biblical counselors.”
“We need to be concerned about this issue if for no other reason that we have to stand together on the issue of freedom and self-autonomy, because that’s the right thing to do.”
In addition to Pickup, other speakers at God’s Voice included Peter LaBarbera, founder and president of Americans For Truth About Homosexuality; Stephen Black, executive director with First Stone Ministries; the Rev. Al Baker of the Presbyterian Church in America; and Southern Baptist evangelist the Rev. Thomas Littleton.
Littleton echoed Pickup’s comments, warning those gathered that “very soon, your testimony of conversion could be literally ‘hate speech.’”
“If you’ve left this lifestyle, your testimony of conversion, to read Romans 1 or an assortment of scriptures that speak to the subject of homosexuality could be ‘hate speech’ in our churches from our pulpits,” Littleton said.
“And we have friends in Europe where this is already the case. You could be inciting, potentially inciting a hate crime by reading Romans 1.”
Littleton commended Fairview Baptist for hosting the conference and declared “thank God for pastors that have a backbone.”
“If your pastor is not able to find his backbone on this, you need to get in there and help him. You need to pray for him. You need to stand firm and help him understand what is at stake,” he added.
Also known as “reparative therapy” or “conversion therapy,” SOCE therapy seeks to help a person deal with, or even remove, unwanted same-sex attraction.
In recent years, several states and the District of Columbia have passed laws banning the therapy for minors. Many other states have considered similar legislation only to ultimately vote it down.
California, which was the first state to ban therapy for minors, last year seriously considered expanding the ban through Assembly Bill 2943.
However, Evan Low, the Democrat assemblyman who introduced the bill, withdrew the bill last August for reasons including the expressed concern of many that the bill threatened religious freedom.
“The best policy is not made in a vacuum and in order to advance the strongest piece of legislation, the bill requires additional time to allow for an inclusive process not hampered by legislative deadlines,” stated Low at the time.