January 21, 2022
Tony Perkins: Now you may have come across some of the uh the following international news stories a Christian parliamentarian in Finland who actually will be on trial next week who could be jailed for six years for tweeting a bible verse from romans on homosexuality a new law in Canada that just took effect uh on the seventh of this month that could result in a two to five year jail sentence for anyone who says something that is deemed to repress or reduce non-heterosexual attraction or sexual behavior if you think these sorts of incidents won't find their way into the united states well you would be mistaken it's here joining us now to tell us about a looming threat in his community in Indiana of all places in Indiana is Dr Steve Viars, he is a senior pastor of Faith Church in West Lafayette Indiana. Pastor Steve, welcome to Washington Watch.
Steve Viars: Thank you very much, Tony.
Tony Perkins: Now first tell us about your biblically based counseling ministry that your church has had if I’m not mistaken for about 45 years.
Steve Viars: That's right my predecessor Bill Good our senior pastor and a medical doctor started a biblical counseling center for people in our community we just want to show love to people in our town. so if there are people struggling with their marriages or family issues or finances or anger worry fear depression whatever it might be we've just trained people in our congregation to open the Word of God to help people and just try to lovingly come alongside them and show them what the gospel says about such matters now all these years later we have 32 men and women number of physicians number of university professors pastors godly men and women we come together every Monday and we offer 60 to 80 hours of biblical counseling services free of charge to anybody who voluntarily wants to come in we're very clear about what we believe so it's called faith biblical counseling ministries every person who comes is asked to sign a form that says I understand that the council I’m about to receive is based on the counselor's interpretation of the bible our councils are told that if at any point you're uncomfortable please just raise your hand and we will immediately stop talking because we don't believe in coercion Tony’s been so popular in our community that even though we have 32 people doing this we can't get ahead of the waiting list we've always had a waiting list and we've never advertised but we're just trying to show love to our community by lovingly sitting down and talking with people if they would like to hear what the scripture says.
Tony Perkins: Well, Pastor Steve, having served as a pastor and having a counseling ministry in our church there's a lot of hurting people and counseling can become very costly this is a bible-based approach to counseling which most pastors do there are some that are actually trained and licensed but most are non-licensed counselors that simply share with people what the scripture has because as believers we believe that the bible has the answers to life and so we walk people through that that now is in jeopardy in West Lafayette, Indiana explain why.
Steve Viars: Well, a number of conversion therapy bans have been passed throughout the united states
Tony Perkins: Now let me let me stop you right there but let's explain that what this is is these conversion bans now this is uh because there's been some terminology changed here over the years we're talking about you and your counselors if someone comes in is struggling with um uh sexual uh attraction same-sex attractions uh or gender dysphoria you're just kind of walking through what the scripture has to say it's called talk counseling I mean you're just kind of walking them through but that's caught up into this new definition that they have there in in West Lafayette, is it not?
Steve Viars: In a number of places they're using the term conversion therapy we have never practiced conversion therapy it was initiated by the secular community it's barbaric it's rank behaviorism we would never do that but Tony that's part of the trick here that's why it's so important for listeners to carefully read the definitions because it's deceptive because the term convergent therapy that's the dog whistle but then if you look at our ordinance that's being proposed by our city council and many others they've widely broadened the definition that would certainly include a parent a small group leader a pastor a biblical counselor simply showing a minor what god's word has to say about human sexuality and in our case the city government is threatening define us a thousand dollars a day if we would dare show a minor what the Word of God has to say about these matters.
Tony Perkins: Now as I read the ordinance that was introduced back around I think in November again in December and it's coming up again if I’m not mistaken in February is it not that's true yes it is I’ve read the ordinance and it's different than what we've seen in other jurisdictions around the country that banned licensed counselors this is unlicensed specifically going after churches because they're really the only ones out there the unlicensed that are counseling from a biblical perspective as I read it you could be in violation of this simply by preaching or by teaching a bible study.
Steve Viars: Well, or even being a parent who has a child who asks you a question about human sexuality and you because what's interesting if you read the definition of counseling in this ordinance a parent does that each and every day and so this is extremely broad and that's part of the game that is being played here the dog whistle is convergent therapy nobody practices that nobody believes it it's barbaric but the definition is so broad that it would include anybody using the word so that's what the city council is saying right we will not allow you to use the Word of God with children we are going to prevent children from hearing the gospel that's where we are.
Tony Perkins: All right, Pastor Steve we're up against a break uh can you hold on for uh just a couple of minutes because I want you to be able to share with our listeners with a lot of listeners in Indiana um what steps they can do to help you and the churches in West Lafayette Indiana so stick with that's right uh we've been talking with Pastor Steve Viars of he's the senior pastor of Faith Church in West Lafayette Indiana talking about proposed ordinance 3121 this prohibits unlicensed persons from practicing conversion therapy now it's in the definition as Pastor Steve was saying that doesn't happen this is that's old stuff but it conjures up these images but here's what's included and I’m quoting from the statute any practices or treatments that seek to change an individual's sexual orientation or gender identity including efforts to change gender expressions or to eliminate or reduce sexual or romantic attractions or feelings toward individuals of the same gender this is maniacal this is so evil but in addition to wanting to entrap these individuals into a destructive path they want to make sure that the last obstacle to their agenda is removed and that is biblical truth that's the last bastion of hope for many is a church that will preach the Word of God uh with us now is Dr Steve Viars, senior pastor of Faith Church in West Lafayette Pastor Steve thanks for uh sticking around through the break um when are you anticipating this coming back up before the city council?
Steve Viars: February 7th is the next meeting that they have planned.
Tony Perkins: What kind of response have they gotten from the community surrounding this ordinance?
Steve Viars: Well, we put together a website called freedomlafayette.org. It has a petition, been up about a week it has over 9 000 signatures there's a very simple way to send auto-generated emails to our city council members asking them not to pass it um they've received well over 5 000 emails from concerned citizens in the last seven days and this isn't just a Lafayette issue I would encourage your listeners regardless of where they live to hop on that website sign the petition send the emails because the truth of the matter is Tony this is coming to a theater near you and so as far as we can tell this is only the second time that an ordinance has been um attempted with non-licensed counselors that's the key issue and it would be best to get this stopped now and get it stopped strongly and we're not mad we're taking a positive stand for the Word of God a positive stand for the power of the gospel a positive stand for parents rights a positive stand for what god's word can do in each one of our lives without question if the church won't do that who will absolutely and it's love we're not in any way hating anyone and even those who choose to reject the Word of God we're going to do everything as a church and as individuals to love them however for those who want to voluntarily come and hear what the Word of God has to say about their life it's outrageous that the government would penalize us a thousand dollars a day if we dare do that and I had to say to the city council I love you folks but we already have a god and it's not you and so what that means is if you enact this ordinance we're going to seek to violate it every day and hopefully before breakfast and we're also short on cash so I don't have a thousand dollars and so you're going to have to figure out what you're going to do with people who are not ashamed of the gospel and again I’m not saying that with a smear on my voice I’m just saying you're not going to intimidate us out of proclaiming the Word of God.
Tony Perkins: Well, Pastor Steve I am with you and I I’ve you know we're watching across the country looking for these situations where you know I don't like it when Christians you know kind of have a Jesus chip on their shoulder and they're looking for a fight you guys were just doing the ministry and they came after you and you know we have to stand for the truth as I said if the church won't do it there's no hope for those in the community that are struggling with these issues and it's not just these issues it's so many other issues that people need the Word of God to speak into their lives so again give me give us that uh website, Pastor Steve?
Steve Viars: freedomlafayette.org and I would love it as many people as possible could sign that petition, send those emails, share out the articles, just get the word out about a positive opportunity to stand for truth.
Tony Perkins: We absolutely will encourage our listeners and viewers across the country to do that and we will be watching this very closely and we look forward to having you back on once this goes before the city council again to give us an update, all right, Pastor Steve.
Tony Perkins is President of the Washington, D.C.-based Family Research Council. He is a former member of the Louisiana legislature where Tony had a significant impact on Louisiana politics as a state representative and as a candidate for the United States Senate in 2002.