Scotland has become a progressive Petri dish where woke ideas are cultivated, brought to virulent reality and let loose on the public.
Wishing to create a new criminal offence of attempting to change a person’s sexuality or gender identity, Scotland’s SNP/Green administration established an Expert Advisory Group on Ending Conversion Practices (EAG). The resulting EAG ‘Report and Recommendations’ outlines 32 ‘guiding principles’ which, if implemented in a Bill to be presented to the Scottish Parliament later this year, could prohibit practices such as talking therapies, parental chats, prayer and preaching.
The Christian Institute warns: ‘If the Scottish government follows the advice of its Expert Advisory Group it will be exceeding its powers and inflicting the most totalitarian conversion therapy ban in the world.’ The Scottish government welcomed the report.
The fifteen members of the Expert Advisory Group make up a roll call of the type of people the SNP/Green government likes to assemble in order to agree with them. The administration operates on the principle that if you are going to assemble an expert group to give advice you staff it with ‘experts’ who will provide you with precisely the ‘advice’ you want to hear. Independence of thought is not a hallmark of Scotland’s independence movement.
Some of the organisations and individuals represented on the EAG are of a dubious nature, or the independence of their advice is compromised by their relationship with their paymaster. Equality Network, Stonewall Scotland and Scottish Trans are all Scottish Government-funded pressure groups. Scottish Trans have a double barrier to independence of thought, being an offshoot project of the Equality Network. Other members are dedicated LGBTQ+ activists who are included on the grounds of their ‘lived experience’. One is Dr Paul Behrens, a member of the Staff Pride Network at Edinburgh University who organised the university’s ‘Stonewall Week’ in 2019. Amongst those giving speeches at the event were Nicola Sturgeon and Patrick Harvie, co-leader of the Scottish Greens. The university has since cut its ties with Stonewall.
Also represent is LGBT Youth Scotland, which less than two weeks ago referred itself to the police over some extremely serious allegations of historic grooming and child abuse.
Another EAG member is Dr Igi Moon of the Memorandum of Understanding, an organisation committed to ending conversion therapy of any kind. As a psychologist she is opposed to the view ‘that any sexual orientation or gender identity is inherently preferable to any other’. She does not appear to admit of any exceptions.
There is no one included in the EAG able to put an opposition socially conservative, never mind orthodox Christian view. The clergy included are either fully committed to ‘progressive’ churches or are so theologically liberal they would be unwilling and unequipped to put forward a biblical view. We can only assume they are there as token Christians to provide cover enabling the government to claim they have covered all the bases.
Aiden O’Neill KC, a rare ‘double silk’ advocate and barrister, and one of the UK’s most experienced lawyers, is of the opinion that the recommendations could ‘outlaw’ parents who ‘lovingly and in good faith and in accordance with their own best judgement and conscience seek to caution their children in relation to any stated intention to embark on “gender affirmatory” or “gender transition” treatment.’
Mr O’Neill’s opinion is that ‘giving such parental advice might result, were the expert group’s recommendation to be followed into law, in these parents being deprived of their parental rights and/or their children removed from their care.’
In one of the most chilling paragraphs in the report: ‘The Group recommends that the existence of specific intent to cause harm, malice or ill-will is not required for an act to be considered a conversion practice and should therefore not be included as part of any criminal offence. Nor should there be any requirement that the provider sought to cause harm to the victim or potential victim.’
This means that the report proposes to criminalise actions which neither intend to cause, nor actually cause, any harm to anyone.
The Christian Institute warns of the dangers inherent in the EAG’s approach to law: ‘The report advocates a new criminal offence that does not require any proof or intention of harm. It will be illegal to say the “wrong thing” even if it is totally harmless. Mr O’Neill refers to this as a “strict liability” offence where there is no need for any criminal intent in order to be found guilty.’
‘Conversion’ in one direction is supported but not in the other. The EAG report makes it clear that any practices or advice which affirm a person’s identity choices must not fall within the scope of the law. No one, either child or adult, can ever be allowed, not even with their express consent, to participate in anything which might change any aspects of their newly chosen identity.
The report would make it legal to help a child to transition to a different ‘gender’ by consenting to irreversible hormone treatment and surgeries rendering them permanently infertile. But it would be a crime for any parent, minister or doctor to talk to them in such a way as might persuade them not to transition in the first place, or to counsel and help them de-transition if they regretted their change of gender.
If these recommendations are passed into law this year Scotland is going to become a dangerous place for concerned parents and Christians.
This article first appeared in A Grain of Sand and is republished by kind permission.