News has broken that the government is beginning to think again about bringing forward legislation to ban so-called conversion therapy, if only because of the obvious and tragic consequences thrown up by the misery and confusion of transgenderism.

This may be a pragmatic response. But there is an ideological, philosophical and moral agenda that has been ignored since the activists jumped the lawmakers. We should be debating and arguing about the ideas and values behind these issues, but no such discussions have taken place.

Some optimists might be inclined to hope that the present struggle of ideas that is shaping how western culture changes would be a fair fight, but it isn’t. Secular dogmatism and fundamentalism triumph at every stage.

The Church, founded on an ideological and moral quest, is fighting with at least one hand tied behind its back. 

The technique employed against us is a simple one, but devastatingly effective. A pretence is entered into that we are indeed engaged in a fair contest between ideas; until there comes a certain tipping point, at which point discussion, argument and exchanges of ideas are terminated, and ruthless, uncompromising force or political pressure is employed instead.

This has marked the whole process and the way in which public conversations and accompanying legislation about sexuality have taken place.

It began as a supposed attempt at achieving public justice for minorities which have been unfairly discriminated against. 

The Catholic understanding of sexual affection as being best intended for families and procreation was jettisoned and replaced with the simpler and more hedonistic pursuit of pleasure for its own sake.  Public discussion then became a charade, founded on the pretence that a change in sexual mores was intended to be based on the pursuit of fairness and justice.

After all, what nice person could be against fairness and justice? 

Not Catholics obviously. Unless it turned out that this was a smokescreen for a very different project. And in fact, every time a suspicion has arisen that a radical sexual and (im)moral revolution is the intended goal of the progressive strategy, the pseudo-pious invocation of “fairness and justice” is brought up in order to silence any would-be critics who might be beginning to rumble the actual aim of the project.

One give-away that things might not actually be what they appear to be are the facts themselves. 

If we accept the Office of National Statistics’ studies that the total national proportion of homosexual people is 1.8 per cent of the overall population, the extraordinary preoccupation with all things gay begins to appear oddly disproportionate.

If 98.8 per cent of the community are heterosexuals, why are the media, education, the law, the police and the academy all shrouded in a single flag – celebrating the culture and the sex lives of the 1.8 per cent?

Even were you to allow for the possibility of problems of self-disclosure to pollsters and double the figure, it doesn’t change the almost ludicrous proportions very much.

And when it suited the campaign to insist that people were born gay, and so had entered into a kind of biologically imposed victimhood, it became a homophobic hate crime to challenge the science. Except there was no science. A contradictory exception was made for gay people themselves if it suited them to argue differently.

If you wanted to celebrate gay autonomy and life-style choice, then you might write as Peter Tatchell did so famously in the Guardian (June 2006): “Much as I would love to go along with the fashionable ‘born gay’ consensus (it would be very politically convenient), I can’t. The evidence does not support the idea that sexuality is a fixed biological given.” Try saying that as a straight sceptic and watch the accusations and prejudice erupt.

The whole concept of dealing with what, for political convenience, was presented as a single category of “LGBT” (before it was ambitiously expanded to cover much of the rest of the alphabet) was more than problematic.

If the basic concern underlying the opposition to conversion therapy is founded on a disavowal of gender fluidity, how can it possibly be applied to (in the least incoherent scenario) four different categories of sexual identity?

Male sexuality is very different from female sexuality. Homosexuals are very different from lesbians. There is some, but perhaps (?) not much fluidity amongst men. There is an enormous gender attraction fluidity amongst women. Bisexuals by definition have fluidity, or as it might be better expressed, “flexibility”, built into the self-description. The same issue for transexuals is a deeply painful and tragic one. For a long period (until fashion and polemics brought pressure to bear) transsexuality was understood as the tragic mental illness of gender dysphoria. The question of what change had taken place to produce it and then what change might heal it, was critical to the condition.   The failure to not pay more attention to those questions produced the terrible tragedy of “trans-regret” as so many children grew beyond and changed out of the original confusion, but only after having been surgically, medically and biologically maimed.

The dogmatic denial of fluidity embedded in the attempt to legislate against conversion therapy is a political pose based not on science, but on polemical convenience. 

How else can the public approbation of fluidity swing in behind anyone who has lived straight and then switches to suddenly discover themselves as gay, and yet at the same time refute anyone who spends time in the homosexual sub-culture and then, as so many women and some men do, change their tastes and live and “love” as heterosexuals.

But the fear of fluidity from gay to straight is so great, so alarming to the activists, that they have done everything they can to persuade gullible and under-informed legislators and the public that the full force of legislation must be used to stop it. 

This is as immoral as it is ludicrous. The only means by which it could be achieved was by the creation of almost completely fictitious tales of putative shock therapy imposed on unwilling homosexual victims by unbelievably rabid homophobes. “This is what we are legislating to halt” cried the activists to the legislators. But once again, it wasn’t true. They were instead trying and succeeding to criminalise anyone who sat down with a friend in a state of confusion, sharing the burden of how their romantic longings were formed.

The supposed criminals despite the fear mongering, were not mad homophobic rabid scientists with electric shock therapy machines at their disposal, but wise, patient and experienced counsellors, therapists, doctors priests, ministers, teachers, grandparents, and friends, many of whom called themselves in a phrase that terrified the activists, “ex-gay”.

The Catholic Church and the rest of the Christian community should protest at the biased and destructive criminalising of a vocabulary that defines who we are in our most treasured and intimate self-description. You can only become a Catholic by means of “conversion therapy”. 

Conversion is at the heart of the religious and spiritual quest. It is a most beautiful, rich and wonderful word. It describes a “change of direction” that produces inner transformation. What kind of society could outlaw the human freedom to change direction except one that traded only in power and the dehumanisation of its members? 

And therapy means healing. The human condition is a wounded one in which our disease calls out for relief and healing. When we are healed we can help others. When we are disabled by our wounds, we usually damage others. What kind of society wants to outlaw the mending and healing of the human heart and body?

The answer is that the progressive activists determined on the sexualisation of both adults and children want to.

All civilised democrats should protest against the inhumanity of any legislation setting out to ban so-called conversion therapy. Of all civilised people, Catholics with their experience of salvation (conversion) and sacramental renewal (therapy) should be protesting the loudest.   

If the government has paused this immoral and dangerous legislation, we ought to be explaining why it is the right, as well as the most pragmatic, decision.