Core Issues Trust, a group that claims to be able to cure “unwanted same-sex attraction”, is to have its bank accounts shuttered.
The Northern Ireland-based group, which is the most vocal proponent of conversion therapy in the UK, says it had been served notice by Barclays that its bank accounts would be shut down.
An offshoot of Core Issues Trust, the so-called International Federation for Therapeutic and Counselling Choice, is also impacted.
Core Issues Trust accuses Barclays of ‘mob rule’ for closing account.
According to founder Mike Davidson, Barclays bank sent letters earlier this month informing him”that their accounts will be closing in two months, mid-September.” No reason was given for the closure, but it comes after pressure from LGBT+ activists.
Davidson said: “A coordinated campaign has resulted in our ministry coming under immense pressure and key service providers cancelling their services, action which we consider to be discriminatory.”
The Christian Legal Centre, an offshoot of anti-LGBT+ lobby group Christian Concern, says it is “supporting Mike Davidson and CIT as they seek to resolve these issues [with Barclays]”.
Andrea Williams, chief executive of Christian Concern, said: “We call on the government to put a halt to this kind of mob rule and to assert the rights of Biblically-faithful Christian organisations to be serviced by businesses without facing such intolerant discrimination.”
A Barclays spokesperson said: “We do not comment on individual cases. Our terms and conditions – like other banks – allow us to end a relationship with any customer, provided we give two months’ notice.”
Other services have also booted out gay ‘cure’ advocates.
Email newsletter provider Mailchimp and payments provider Paypal have also previously banned the group from using their services, Davidson says.
He complained: “This amounts to mob rule. If a social media mob can cause a bank to close the account of a Christian ministry, then there is nowhere for Biblically faithful Christian ministries to go.
“The UK is now becoming an intensely intolerant country. Key service providers have cancelled their services to a Christian charity because of a social media mob.”
Davidson also complained that the group’s email address, which is [email protected], “has, without consent, been signed up to porn sites such as PornHub, UK Lads, Lesbian Videos and a range of fetish sites.”
Frequently described as “Dr Mike Davidson” on the Core Issues Trust website, Davidson has no medical or therapeutic qualification whatsoever and uses the title “Dr” on the basis of a PhD in education.
Conversion therapy is still legal in the UK – and a ban may still be some way off.
Nearly every genuine medical body has disavowed the practice of conversion therapy, the discredited idea that a person can change their sexual orientation or gender identity.
The UK does not currently ban the practice, meaning it remains legal for Core Issues Trust to offer its services “to people who want to explore moving away from unwanted same-sex attraction and gender confusions”.
Despite previous briefings that a ban on conversion therapy would be brought forward imminently, prime minister Boris Johnson indicated last week that more research is needed on the issue before legislating.
He told the media: “On the gay conversion therapy thing, I think that’s absolutely abhorrent and has no place in a civilised society, no place in this country.
“What we’re going to do is a study on where it is actually happening, how prevalent is it, and we will then bring forward plans to ban it.”
Repeating his statement in parliament, equalities minister Liz Truss said: “I have been clear that the government are committed to tackling the abhorrent practice of so-called gay-conversion therapy in the UK. As the prime minister reiterated earlier this week, this practice has no place in civilised society.
“Our action will be determined by research looking at how best to define conversion therapy, the scale of the issue, where it is happening and who it is happening to.
“When that research is complete, I will bring forward proposals to ban conversion therapy, making sure that our measures are effective so that no innocent people have to endure such tortuous practices.”
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