A group of church officials, including George Leonard Carey—the former Archbishop of Canterbury—have come out in defense of English psychotherapist Lesley Pilkington, who was suspended by the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) after offering reparative therapy to an undercover journalist.
According to Pink News, Lord Carey—along with Rev. Michael Nazir-Ali, the former Bishop of Rochester, and Rev. Wallace Benn, the current Bishop of Lewes, have written the BACP, saying:
“We believe that people who seek, freely, to resolve unwanted same-sex attractions hold the moral right to receive professional assistance. Whether motivated by Christian conscience or other values, clients, not practitioners, have the prerogative to choose the yardstick by which to define themselves.”
In 2011, the BACP ruled that Pilkington had acted unprofessionally in suggesting she could change a patient’s orientation and suspended her. But the clerics—none of whom have medical or psychiatric training—said reparative therapy “does not produce harm despite the Royal College of Psychiatrists and others maintaining the contrary. Competent practitioners, including those working with biblical Judeo-Christian values, should be free to assist those seeking help.”
We don’t know the ins and outs of English medical ethics, but we’re pretty sure doctors aren’t allowed to practice whatever remedy they want—even if the patient asks for it. Once upon a time it was standard practice to drill holes in people’s heads, for crying out loud.
Thankfully, the Royal College of Psychiatrists’ official position is that, “there is no sound scientific evidence that sexual orientation can be changed. Furthermore, so-called treatments of homosexuality create a setting in which prejudice and discrimination flourish.”
We’re not saying people shouldn’t be allowed to claim they can turn someone straight, but reparative therapy is a nebulous practice with no hard scientific data to back it up. It’s snake oil, and licensed medical professionals cannot be allowed to offer it under the guise of legitimate therapy.
What if a therapist said they could exorcise demons or speak to God on your behalf? Actually, since that’s a priest’s area of expertise, Carey and his cronies would probably try to have him thrown in the Tower of London.