Barclays closes bank account of Christian charity supporting people with unwanted same-sex attraction

(Photo: Reuters)

Barclays Bank has bowed to pressure to close the bank account of a Christian charity that offers counselling to people with unwanted same-sex attraction. 

The bank gave no explanation for shutting down the Core Issues Trust (CIT) account.  However, it follows a social media campaign on Twitter by activists putting pressure on Barclays to suspend services to the charity. 

The International Federation for Therapeutic Counselling and Choice, a project supported by CIT, has also received a closure notice from the bank. 

The decision from Barclays comes amid a sustained campaign against CIT, which has received over 300 nuisance calls and hate messages, including rape and death threats against the family members of staff. 

The CIT email address has also been used by activists to sign up to adult sites such as P0rnHub, UK Lads, Lesbian Videos and a range of other adult sites. 

Facebook and Instagram recently banned CIT posts that it claims are promoting conversion therapy, while earlier this month, Mailchimp and Paypal unilaterally terminated services to CIT without any notice or explanation, making it difficult for CIT to contact its supporters and receive donations.

READ MORE: 'If it's us now, it will be the pastors next' - Mike Davidson on why gay conversion therapy should not be banned

The UK Government is expected to soon formally announce plans to ban so-called conversion therapy. 

Mike Davidson, CEO of CIT, has denied offering discredited conversion therapy, calling it a "pejorative" and "accusatory" term. 

He said people should be free to explore moving away from unwanted same-sex attraction and gender confusion. 

"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," he said. 

"The term 'conversion therapy' is being used as a catch-all phrase designed to discredit any help that people may provide to those with mixed sexual attractions who prefer their heterosexual side. This could include a listening ear, formal counselling or spiritual support.

"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."

Andrea Williams, CEO of Christian Concern, which is supporting CIT, said: "If it is CIT first, it will be churches next.

"If banks and other service providers start to placate social media campaigns by unilaterally terminating their accounts then the UK will be a very difficult place for Biblically faithful Christian ministries.

"This kind of demonisation and refusing of services to a Christian ministry is reminiscent of how Jewish businesses were treated under Nazi rule.

"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."