Web host drops church over opposition to gay conversion therapy ban

A Baptist church in Morecambe, Lancashire, has had its website suspended because the hosting firm objected to the pastor signing a letter raising concerns about the government's upcoming gay conversion therapy ban.

The Lancaster Guardian has reported that Torrix, a small website hosting business in the seaside town, has taken the decision to permanently suspend their hosting of Stanley Road Baptist Church's website.

Its pastor, Rev Steve Hewitt, was one of 2,500 Christian ministers and pastoral workers who signed the letter to Liz Truss, the government minister responsible for the consultation over planned legislation to ban conversion therapy.

"We see in these proposals a clear possibility that our duty as ministers, of proclaiming the Lordship of Jesus Christ, and calling people to find life in him, which includes living by his laws, will be criminalised," the letter reads.

"We also believe it could be used against Christian parents who could equally be criminalised for loving advice and teaching given to their own children."

The Ministers' Consultation Response expressed concerns that the legislation is so badly drafted that biblically orthodox ministers could go to jail for teaching the traditional Christian sexual ethic to individuals in their pastoral care.

Torrix proprietor Matt Fletcher told the paper: "I am an ally to the LGBT community, and endorse an outright ban on conversion therapy worldwide. I therefore cannot support any organisation that seeks to perpetuate the abuse of LGBT and/or non-binary people. Therefore, I have decided to withdraw my hosting provision for this website with immediate effect."

The church's website now directs to a 'Down for Maintenance' page with an apology saying, "Due to circumstances beyond our control, our church website is not available right now. We apologise for any inconvenience."

Responding to Torrix's decision, Rev Hewitt said: "I am saddened at this development, but I am grateful for all the help that Matthew has given the church previously, often voluntarily."