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California church under fire for promoting conversion therapy on Instagram

Courtesy Wikicommons

A California megachurch has come under fire for “glamourizing” conversion therapy as a dig at the queer community.

Bethel Church, located in Redding, CA, launched a series of ads encouraging conversion therapy across its social media platforms. Reports say the church draws about 9,000 parishioners a week. The campaign, entitled “Changed” promotes “safe space for Christians seeking an alternative to LGBTQ+ as they follow their faith according to their personal convictions” under the hashtag #oncegay. The church has also posted interviews with members who claim to be “ex-gays.”

Related: Israel’s Education minister changes stance on conversion therapy after wide backlash

The Changed campaign has invited swift anger and backlash over its reckless promotion of conversion therapy. Furthermore, Bethel Church claims it opposes “any and all forms of shame, manipulation, force, humiliation, or physical harm in so-called ministry or therapy,” even though conversion therapy entails all of the above.

Conversion therapy is a widely discredited practice which attempts to change sexual orientation or gender identity through prayer, counseling or more extreme methods of psychological conditioning. Medical and psychiatric experts have denounced the practice as both futile and extremely harmful, tantamount to torture of anyone who partakes. Numerous studies conducted around the world have linked it with higher rates of suicide, depression and substance abuse. Several states, including California, have banned the practice in minors.

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Post 2 of 5: Jesus gives His love freely to all, regardless of where we are in our individual journeys. When Jesus enters into our lives, He engages with our deepest feelings and beliefs. He knows us better than we know ourselves and wants to lead us into His vision for humanity. Sometimes, that is countercultural. The love of Christ declares, “I want you! I am for you! And only I satisfy!” His love gently leads us to surrendering all—even what we believe about ourselves—in order to be fully satisfied and full of life.? _? CHANGED is a community of friends who once identified as LGBTQ+ and through encounters with the love of Jesus, have experienced His freedom in their lives. @changedmvmt wants to invite you to look deeper, to go beyond the cultural labels and expectations, and to find lasting fulfillment. To learn more or receive help on your journey, visit www.changedmovement.com #oncegay (Link in profile)

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