Reuters reports that British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said prayer for someone exploring their sexual orientation or gender identity will not be criminalized in any conversion therapy ban, as LGBT+ activists and conservative Christians clash over the issue. Johnson said that “appropriate pastoral support (including prayer)” would remain legal, in a letter to the Evangelical Alliance, a conservative Christian lobby group representing 3,500 churches, seen by the Thomson Reuters Foundation. “I take freedom of speech and freedom of religion very seriously,” he wrote in the letter, dated March 27 and which became public this week. “Like you, I do not want to see clergy and church members criminalized for normal non-coercive activity.”

“Let’s get real,” said Truth Wins Out Executive Director Wayne Besen. “Any conversion therapy law that doesn’t stop religious abuse is a Band-Aid, not a ban. The vast majority of ‘ex-gay’ abuse comes from religion, not so-called couch therapy. We want actual substance, not empty symbolism. Freedom of religion is no excuse to allow the freedom to commit fraud and destroy lives.”

Founded in 2006, Truth Wins Out is the oldest nonprofit advocacy organization and educational resource dedicated to monitoring and ending “ex-gay” conversion programs, while working to eliminate anti-LGBTQ prejudice and discrimination. Truth Wins Out also fights against right wing extremism, which is the underlying source of power, money and influence behind “pray away the gay” political campaigns.