UK Faith And Sexuality Survey Flawed: IFTCC
The IFTCC’s Science and Research Council has closely examined the Ozanne Foundation’s “Faith and Sexuality Survey 2018” and found significant flaws in its research methodology and data analysis.
In 2018 the Ozanne Foundation’s “National Faith and Sexuality Survey” (FSS) reported on research it had conducted which examined the role of religious belief in people’s understanding and acceptance of sexual orientation in the UK. The survey was widely reported in the UK and international media and called for criminalisation of those offering change-allowing therapies or pastoral care.
The suitability of this research report as an influencer on both public policy and church teaching has today been challenged by the International Federation for Therapeutic and Counselling Choice (IFTCC). The IFTCC’s Response Report comes in time for the General Synod of the Church of England which meets in York from the 5 – 9 July. In a letter making the IFTCC document available to all General Synod members, member of the General Board of the IFTCC and General Synod member Andrea Williams said:
The politicisation of human sexuality in the UK that the Church of England has been complicit in, rides roughshod over the rights and freedoms of ordinary voiceless people who choose to leave homosexual behaviour and attraction with pastoral or professional help. It is the role of the Church of England to uphold biblical truth which speaks of the transformative power of Jesus Christ when we turn our back on sin and look to Him to redeem, restore and make us whole.
In 2017, the Church of England voted to urge the Government to ban what it called “Conversion Therapy”. The Government acted on this by conducting the National LGBT Survey in 2017-2018. Drawing on this, it formulated its LGBT Action Plan, published in July 2018.
The IFTCC’s Response Report highlights serious flaws with the Ozanne Foundation’s survey report methodology, including inaccessibility of data, lack of comparability in sampling, poor survey design and skip logic. It is particularly critical of the report’s over-representation of LGBT Anglican Christians, that 72% of respondents were over the age of 35, and that only 67 respondents were between the ages of 16 and 18 years of age.
The original Ozanne Foundation FSS report highlights that 16 of the so-called “forms of attempt” to change sexual attraction were practised in the NHS and conflates respondents’ experiences in psychotherapy with those undergone in psychiatric settings, and both of these with spiritual practices such as prayer.
The Ozanne Foundation’s FSS report actually shows that some respondents did experience change from homosexual to heterosexual attraction and felt positively about this. However the report never analyses these responses. Given that the FSS report supported calls by Jayne Ozanne herself to criminalise all help for moving away from unwanted same-sex attraction, the report exhibits a discriminatory attitude towards everyone who is like the 13 respondents to the FSS who did change with pastoral or professional help.
IFTCC Executive Director Dr Mike Davidson criticised the report’s call to criminalise professional and pastoral workers who support those choosing to leave unwanted identities and practices. He said:
Although the majority of this unrepresentative sample agreed with the criminalisation premise upon which the Ozanne survey was based, it is noteworthy that the group calling for the ban are the youngest survey participants, or those unlikely to have experienced any such therapy. The calls for safeguarding (meaning government restrictions on prayer and pastoral counselling in religious settings) show that the Ozanne Foundation has no regard for the legitimate rights and freedoms of people who have benefited from good pastoral care, nor for the pastoral gifts of those providing such care. In so doing, and in failing to acknowledge this group in its own data set, it has given up all pretensions of discerning the difference between right and wrong.’
On behalf of the IFTCC, he also called on the media to reconsider the integrity and correctness of its reporting on this issue and for the Ozanne Foundation to address the matters raised by the IFTCC Response document.
Dr Mike Davidson, Executive Director IFTCC: +44 (0) 7833098998
Andrea Williams, Christian Legal Centre: +44 (0) 7712591164
Additional information for editors
IFTCC Response to the “Faith and Sexuality Survey”