A bill, being proposed in California, is causing quite a controversy over claims it will ban the Bible and other religious books in the state. But will the bill, in fact, ban such material?

The effectiveness of sexual orientation change effort is not being debated. In a peer study by the American Psychological Association, Gay Conversion Therapy was shown to be non-effective. In fact, it could be damaging to an individual. The bill itself is in no way an attack against religion or the Bible itself. However, according to some conservatives, the bill will ban the Bible.

The California bill in question is AB2943

It is an extension of a bill already in place, which states as follows, “any practices by mental health providers that seek to change an individual’s sexual orientation.

This includes efforts to change behaviors or gender expressions, or to eliminate or reduce sexual or romantic attractions or feelings toward individuals of the same sex.”

The new bill being proposed extends the previous one to include any individual from receiving gay conversion treatment also known as "sexual orientation change efforts." Therefore the bill prohibits the therapy from being performed on anyone. The bill also prohibits advertising or sale of any sexual orientation change effort.

What the bill does not plainly state anything about religious organizations and/or practices being banned. However, the bill does prohibit sexual orientation change efforts from being performed by any individual and not just mental health professionals. This could mean that pastors will no longer be able to use any form of treatment to influence a person away from a chosen sexual orientation.

What is gay conversion therapy?

Gay Conversion Therapy is an attempt to convert a person who is attracted to the same sex away [VIDEO] from the feelings. Rather, it is making the person feel abnormal or shaming them. Persuading the person to assume the role of what is believed, by conservatives, to be the natural behavior of a male or female.

Gay Conversion Therapy is an attempt to convert a person who is attracted to the same sex away [VIDEO] from the feelings. Rather, it is making the person feel abnormal or shaming them. Persuading the person to assume the role of what is believed, by conservatives, to be the natural behavior of a male or female.

In the past, before the first bill was passed a parent could seek such therapy for a young child who displayed behavior of being gay or who openly came out as such. Often the therapy would consist of attempting to change the individuals’ thoughts and behavior on the subject.

The therapy is still in use throughout the United States, though banned in California for children who are under 18.

The new bill would ban the commercial use of the therapy - on all individuals.

How exactly the therapy is done and what it consists of appears to be unclear. This could make the bill hard to enforce or it could make it possible for it to be widely enforced and even include religious practices and beliefs.

Does bill 2943 ban the Bible and other Christian books?

The bill is not about the Bible or an attempt to outlaw it or any other religious material relating to sexual orientation. The Bible plainly states, in several areas, that same-sex attraction is considered a sin and should be shunned. However, the bible is not a specific form of gay conversion therapy.

This could easily change because of text in the bible that is directly related to sexual orientation. However, this is subjective and based on what one chooses to believe within the religious text. The bill bans commercial sexual orientation conversion programs for profit.

Most religious organizations are non-profit. Does this mean a pastor who uses scripture to discourage one's thoughts about sexual orientation is guilty of using gay conversion therapy, even if the organization is non-profit and the therapy is not sold? A lot of questions like these still surround this bill.

The bill is not complete

The bill is not clear and does not specifically ban the bible or other religious books. In fact, it does not mention written material. It mentions gay conversion therapy and content related to it, specifically.

The bill is proposed to protect individuals from a therapy that has been shown to cause harm in participants, based on a 2009 peer-reviewed study by the American Psychological Association, that determined a risk of harm to participants. The bill is not directly opposing the Bible or any other religious text.

The bill prohibits commercial programs and the sale of the therapy. The Bible and other religious organizations could ultimately be at risk if the bill does not specifically exclude them.