Ministry that helps people with unwanted same-sex attraction sues Barclays over account closure

(Photo: Instagram/Core Issues Trust)

A Christian ministry that offers help to people with unwanted same-sex attraction is launching legal action against Barclays Bank after it closed down its account

The account of the Core Issues Trust was closed in July following a hostile social media campaign against the charity partly over its opposition to a ban on gay conversion therapy. 

Michael Phelps, of Christian Concern, which is supporting the trust's legal action, told the Financial Mail that the charity had been unfairly discriminated against. 

"This is about the belief [Core Issues Trust] holds concerning sexual orientation — that it is not necessarily innate or that you are born with it, that it can change over time, and that change can in part be affected by therapy that you undertake," he said. 

"Barclays is not being asked to propagate a message it disagrees with, but to provide a bank account. It is acting as a moral arbiter of what views in society are acceptable and not acceptable."

Barclays said in a statement that it was within its rights to close the trust's account. 

"Our terms and conditions — like other banks — allow us to end a relationship with any customer, provided we give two months' notice," the bank said. 

Over 70,000 people have signed a petition on CitizenGo calling on Barclays to respect religious freedom.

The social media campaign against the trust led to some of its content being blocked on Instagram and Facebook. 

The National Secular Society has also called for the trust to lose its charitable status. 

Core Issues Trust founder Mike Davidson recently revealed that the charity has been able to find a new account with another bank.

In an interview with Christian Today earlier this year, he warned of "censorship" and an increasingly "totalitarian" LGBT movement.

"To be frank, if it's us now, it will be the pastors next. If the counsellors and the therapists are forbidden from doing this work, I doubt very much whether the churches will escape," he said.