NI-based ‘anti gender confusion’ charity says Barclays bank axed its account following social media campaign

Barclays says it will not comment on individual cases after a Northern Ireland-based charity stated that the bank is declining to accept its business.

Saturday, 25th July 2020, 11:30 am
Updated Saturday, 25th July 2020, 6:23 pm
Some of the images which the charity said it had received

Core Issues Trust, based in Ballynahinch, Co Down, says its bank account is to be terminated in September – something which it puts down to social media activism by people opposed to its activities.

The charity bills itself as “challenging gender confusion; upholding science and conscience”.

It describes its work as including “one-to-one support for individuals voluntarily seeking to leave homosexual behaviours and feelings” – something which is often described as “conversion therapy” (although this label is rejected by the charity).

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It also says that it assists people who “wish to move away from... gender dysphoria” (gender dysphoria being an NHS-recognised condition where somebody feels discomfort because they believe they belong to a different gender – like a man who says he feels like a woman).

The lobby group Christian Concern said yesterday that over the past month the charity has faced “a co-ordinated, aggressive campaign from activists who pejoratively label their work as ‘conversion therapy’.”

It said the charity has been subject to over 300 nuisance phone calls, had its email address signed up to pornographic sites, and its staff have been individually targeted for abuse online.

It further added that its content had been removed from Facebook, PayPal had “terminated its CIT accounts without warning and with no explanation, restricting the ability of supporters to make donations”, and that MailChimp has also turned its back on the charity.

Mike Davidson, CEO of Core Issues Trust, said: “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.”

Andrea Williams, the CEO of Christian Concern, said: “If it is Core Issues Trust first, it will be churches next... This kind of demonisation and refusing of services to a Christian ministry is reminiscent of how Jewish businesses were treated under Nazi rule.”

It was put to Barclays bank that Section 28 of The Fair Employment and Treatment (Northern Ireland) Order 1998 specifically addresses discrimination by businesses which refuse to provide services (with banking specified as being amongst them).

The bank was also asked about its reasons for axing the charity’s account.

Barclays responded: “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.”

In 2018, equalities minister Penny Mordaunt described conversion therapy as an “abhorrent practice” and that the government would “consider all legislative and non-legislative options to prohibit promoting, offering or conducting conversion therapy”.

However her department also said: “We are not trying to prevent LGBT people from seeking legitimate medical support or spiritual support from their faith leader in the exploration of their sexual orientation or gender identity.”

The matter is complicated somewhat by the fact that a number of people believe assisting children to transition from one gender to another (something frequently supported by progressive activists) is in itself a form of “conversion therapy” for gay youngsters.

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