A headline in the Navelgazing blog at the OC Weekly reported yesterday that “Christian legal eagles” vow to fight a new California law which protects minors from abuse by professional mental-health therapists.

The blog post cites a single antigay group, the Pacific Justice Institute, which it describes as a “Christian legal defense organization.”

That’s an odd characterization. What exactly is the PJI defending? Child abuse? Medical malpractice? And how exactly does a majestic creature such as the eagle relate to an outfit that clogs courts with frivolous litigation in order to cast itself as a victim each time it loses a case? How majestic is paranoid and hypocritical rhetoric such as this:

“Of all the freedom-killing bills we have seen in our legislature the last several years, this is among the worst,” Brad Dacus president of PJI, says in a statement.

It pains us to fight against the “freedom” of therapists to injure young patients for profit, and it’s especially hard for us to thwart the “freedom” of abusive and misguided parents to terrorize their kids with false beliefs, shame, and fear.

Yes, it’s hard — but pardon us if we and other pro-equality and human-rights groups continue to do it anyway.

“This outrageous bill makes no exceptions for young victims of sexual abuse who are plagued with unwanted same-sex attraction, nor does it respect the consciences of mental health professionals who work in a church.”

Sexual abuse does not change one’s sexual orientation, and in any case, the new law does not prohibit the treatment of abuse or confused attraction. It merely prohibits efforts to change a person’s sexual orientation.

The new law also does not limit professionals’ ability to work in churches. In fact, the law implicitly reminds us that there is no religious basis — no Bible verse or Christian tradition — for the claim that sexual orientation can be changed by scapegoating innocent parents and shaming innocent children.

PJI claims to “defend families, children, and religious freedom” but in practice it does the opposite.

PJI’s promotion of conversion therapy injures children, damages families through the promotion of child abuse, and deprives would-be patients of informed consent.
Contrary to PJI’s claims, religious freedom includes the freedom not to be subjected involuntarily to one religious sects’ fraudulent use of mental-health science to enforce religious orthodoxy.