Dr. Steve Viars, senior pastor of Faith Church, says the city council in West Lafayette dropped the issue after weeks of discussing an ordinance that would ban so-called “conversion therapy.” Churches, he says, were the real target if it passed.
Speaking on the “Washington Watch” radio program, Viars said it was “unfortunate” but necessary to get attorneys involved who warned the City of West Lafayette, a city of 48,600 residents, the ordinance was unconstitutional.
Many other municipalities have passed laws banning “conversion therapy” under the pretense they are protecting vulnerable “L-G-B-T-Q” children from undergoing counseling that attempts to “pray the gay away” against their will. That claim is made frequently because the push from homosexual activists almost always includes a faith-bashing claim against faith-based counselors.
According to the Journal and Courier newspaper, West Lafayette city council member David Sanders cited the threat of a lawsuit when he withdrew the ordinance at a Feb. 7 meeting. He was withdrawing it to “spare the city” the cost of defending itself from a lawsuit, he said.
On the “Washington Watch” show, Viers said the lawsuit threat is not the way Faith Church wanted to respond to the looming ordinance.
“We like to love our community. We don't like to sue our community,” he said. “But we were in a situation where they were proposing an ordinance that would have criminalized gospel ministry to minors."
According to the Courier story, Sanders took a parting shot at Viers at the standing-room-only meeting. The city councilman accused the pastor of “defamation” for saying a city council threatened him. That city council member is black, Sanders said, in a veiled accusation of racism. Sanders, who is Jewish, also accused another pastor at Faith Church of “conversion therapy” because he brought a Bible to their one-on-one meeting and presented the gospel to him.
In the end, the city council approved a resolution condemning conversion therapy, the newspaper said.