UK Bank Pays Nearly $17,000 for Shutting Down Christian Charity's Account
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A London bank has settled a three-year legal case after it caved to LGBT activists and closed a Christian ministry's bank account in an alleged case of viewpoint discrimination.
As CBN's Faithwire reported in 2020, Core Issues Trust (CIT), a Christian nonprofit that supports men and women seeking voluntarily to change their sexual preferences and gender expressions, was targeted by pro-LGBTQ activists in June of that year. It is the only Christian ministry of its kind in the U.K. and a registered charity.
"A coordinated campaign has resulted in our ministry coming under immense pressure and key service providers canceling their services, action which we consider to be discriminatory," CIT executive Mike Davidson said in a statement at the time.
For his part, Davidson has rejected the claim that he engages in so-called "conversion therapy." He says that term has been weaponized because it's linked to terrible, extremist, outdated practices that were already outlawed in the U.K. and elsewhere a long time ago. He points out that talk therapy is something totally different than "conversion therapy."
"The term speaks of talking therapies and counseling as 'pseudo-science' in association with these extremes, to be heard defending talking therapy and counseling for unwanted same-sex attractions is then taken to be a defense of the indefensible 'conversion therapy' label," said Davidson. "We reject this accusatory term."
Conversion therapy is set to be outlawed by the U.K. government.
Barclays Bank later notified the CIT and the International Federation for Therapeutic and Counseling Choice (IFTCC) in July of 2020 that their banking facilities would be shut down, following a coordinated harassment campaign. Several other companies — like MailChimp and PayPal — also took action against the group. Facebook and Instagram have also removed CIT's content from its platforms.
Barclays appeared to have capitulated to demands to cancel the accounts after sustained pressure was placed on the financial institution for providing banking services to the Christian groups while also being the headline sponsor for London's Gay Pride parade.
According to the U.K. watchdog, Christian Concern, the incident is believed to be a precursor to how activists and institutions will exploit and weaponize the government's so-called 'conversion therapy' ban against anyone that supports the freedom to leave LGBT lifestyles and identity.
Supported by attorneys with Christian Legal Centre, Davidson filed a legal claim against the bank with lawyers stating that the closure of the accounts was 'an act of unlawful discrimination.' His lawyers argued that the bank had discriminated against Davidson personally, in that his professional and public work was undermined by the cancellation of banking services from CIT and IFTCC on the grounds of his religious beliefs and/or political opinion.
During the three-year legal battle, Barclays Bank refused to apologize, reinstate either the bank account or give a reason for closing it. The bank also made a number of attempts to have the case thrown out of court.
Meanwhile, more than 72,000 people signed a petition calling on Barclays to reinstate the account and to stop discriminating against the Christian ministry.
Then, right before the case was scheduled to be heard at the High Court last week, Barclays made a settlement offer of £21,500 (a little more than $16,937 U.S. Dollars) in compensation, including legal fees that Davidson accepted.
"What we see in Barclays' actions is yet another example of Stonewall's misguided influence in forcing LGBT ascendancy within our society and its institutions," Davidson said in a press release. "Their agenda will fail, despite Barclays' lavish support and spending, because the freedom of individuals to decide their own pathways or to leave unhelpful identities cannot be controlled by bankers, politicians, activists or therapists. It is their God-given right."
"Core Issues Trust and the IFTCC will continue to oppose government-mandated sexual identity and its refusal to allow therapeutic choice. We reject Barclays Bank's implied accusations of 'conversion therapy', directed at our work and charity," he added.
Andrea Williams, chief executive of the Christian Legal Centre, noted, "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 Plc surrendered to the intimidatory tactics of LGBT activists," she said.
"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," Williams warned.
In a statement issued to media outlets, a spokesperson for the bank, said: "Barclays has today agreed a commercial settlement with Core Issues Trust following our decision to cease acting as their Bankers in 2020. This is a commercial settlement, predicated on our assessment of the costs of defending this claim to conclusion against the cost of settling the matter today."
"There has been no admission of liability by Barclays and there has been no decision by the Court calling into question Barclays' actions including Barclays' decision to exit its relationship with Core Issues Trust and IFTCC," the statement continued.
"Barclays remains an advocate for the equality and dignity of all members of society, including the LGBT+ community, and our stance in this matter affirms this position. We will continue to build understanding of diverse experiences and perspectives, and create a more inclusive environment in the communities in which we operate," the statement concluded.
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