Supporters of Northern Ireland Christian charity Core Issues Trust (CIT) have held a peaceful rally outside the headquarters of Barclays Bank in London after the charity accepted more than A$40,000 dollars from the bank as compensation for shutting down its accounts.
CIT provides support for those struggling with unwanted same sex attraction. According to its website, the charity which is the only one of its kind in the UK, campaigns for “the freedom to access pastoral care, counselling and therapeutic choice” for those who voluntarily seek change in their sexual preference, expression and/or gender identity.
Founder and CEO Dr. Mike Davidson received threats of death and violence against him and his family and staff after the UK LGBT community accused the charity of using so called “conversion therapy to target the vulnerable”.
Dr. Davidson told Premier Christian News that CIT was subjected to a “sustained campaign” by activists to be removed from the Charity Commission of Northern Ireland. In July 2020, Barclays disabled the accounts of both CIT and its sister company, International Federation for Therapeutic and Counselling Choice (IFTCC). The bank allegedly received more than 300 threatening calls in an orchestrated campaign by LGBT activists.
The Trust sued the bank for “unlawful discrimination” and its lawyers argued Dr. Davidson’s professional and public work was undermined by the withdrawal of banking services on the grounds of his religious beliefs. A Northern Ireland judge refused to dismiss the case against Barclays which offered the settlement just as the case was due to heard at the High Court.
The bank did not reinstate accounts, apologise, admit liability or explain why it closed the accounts despite 72,000 people signing a petition protesting its actions. The petition called for the reinstatement of the accounts and argued that CIT doesn’t engage in abusive treatment of LGBT individuals.
The Christian Post reports that critics of Barclays note that in 2008, the bank was happy to receive an enormous injection of funds from Qatar, a country where homosexuality is illegal, to avoid a UK government bail-out.
Premier Christian News reports CIT also lost its Mail Chimp, PayPal, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok and other social media accounts, none of which have been recovered.
CIT has rejected all accusations of engaging in so-called conversion therapy, telling Premier: “We’re available for that part of the population, in the UK and beyond, who have tried the LGBT [lifestyle]. They’ve gone in that direction, and for whatever reason, it hasn’t worked for them. They want options.”
Dr. Davidson says his case, “must serve as a warning to the [UK] government of what is coming, if it proceeds with publishing and enforcing its conversion therapy ban, and called for Christian ministries to be protected from what he calls “brazen discrimination”.
Andrea Williams, CEO of the Christian Legal Centre, which supported Dr. Davidson in his legal action, said the bank capitulated to bullying tactics and became a part of the cancel culture:
“This was an orchestrated campaign by LGBT activists targeting a Christian ministry and Barclays fell for it. Rather than standing up for free speech, Christian freedom, and minority rights, Barclays Bank surrendered to the intimidatory tactics of LGBT activists. If banks and other service providers placate hardened activists by removing bank accounts from good and law-abiding customers who are being targeted because of their Christian faith then we’re in a very dark place in this country,” she asserted.
“We will continue to defend and stand with Mike Davidson and CIT and any Christian ministry who falls foul of the weaponising of the proposed conversion therapy ban.”