Bank to pay thousands after ordering ministry’s accounts closed

By Bob Unruh

(Photo by Brock Wegner on Unsplash)
(Photo by Brock Wegner on Unsplash)

A bank has agreed to pay a ministry thousands of dollars in damages for abruptly closing down the organization’s accounts.

A report from Christian Concern explained it is Barclays Bank in the United Kingdom that must pay 20,000 British pounds, roughly $25,000, as compensation for “bowing to the demands of LGBT activists by closing accounts.”

Christian Concern said there appeared to be, back in 2020, a “coordinated harassment campaign from LGBT” radicals, and as a result the bank told Core Issues Trust and the International Federation for Therapeutic and Counseling Choice that their bank accounts no longer existed.

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The bank already was a sponsor of a “Gay Pride” event and was given top marks by the LGBT-advocating Stonewall organization.

The report said Barclays made an offer to settle the dispute just before the arguments were to come before a High Court hearing.

Writing in the Times, former Supreme Court judge, Lord Sumption, called for more protections for those using the nation’s financial systems.

He cited a decision by PayPal to cancel the Free Speech Union’s account, as an: “Ugly incident [which] should not be forgotten. It reveals the vulnerability of even the most respectable pressure groups to arbitrary action by those who, for whatever reason, object to their message. PayPal may have backed down, but this problem is not going to go away.”

Christian Concern explained CIT is a non-profit Christian ministry in Northern Ireland that supports men and women who voluntarily seek change in their sexual preference, expression and/or gender identity.

At the time Barclays punished CIT, so did Mailchimp, PayPal and Facebook.

The case developed when, in 2020, LGBT activist Mike Buonaiuto said on social media: “EXCLUSIVE: @Pridelnlondon headline sponsor; @Barclays, are currently enabling UK Gay #ConversionTherapy organisation; @CoreTrust, with a bank account for donations here: to-core … This vile org is still a tax deductible charity in the UK. The government must act.”

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He continued arguing that LGBTQ organizations should “weigh in on Barclays…”

During that time CIT got more than 300 nuisance phone calls and other intimidating messages, including a text to its chief executive, Mike Davidson, which expressed a hope that staff and family members would be raped and killed, the report explained.

Buonaiuto followed up his previous tweet by posting on 25 July with a Pride flag symbol: “With your help, @Barclays have, this week, closed the bank account facilitating £100k in donations for the UK’s leading Gay #ConversionTherapy org. Thank you. But, this practice remains legal in the UK. It’s time to #BanConversionTherapy.”

Supported by the Christian Legal Centre, Davidson launched a legal claim against the bank with lawyers stating that the closure of the accounts was “an act of unlawful discrimination.” The contention resulted in Barclays offering the settlement before judges could intervene.

Davidson said, in a statement released by his lawyers, “People will reach their own conclusions, as they have on other occasions, when a party offers a financial settlement that costs them, without admitting any responsibility. I want to thank the 75,000 supporters who signed a petition, or complained to Barclays or closed their Barclays accounts. We are thankful too that donations to the work of the trust have doubled since that time.”

Christian Legal Centre chief Andrea Williams explained, “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 surrendered to the intimidatory tactics of LGBT activists.”

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