Core Issues Trust (CIT), a non-profit Christian ministry that supports men and women who voluntarily seek change in sexual preference and expression, was targeted at the end of June as the U.K. seeks to ban conversion therapy.
Earlier this week, Barclays Bank notified CIT that it was closing the group's accounts after several other companies took action against the group. Mailchimp and Paypal suspended its services, and both Facebook and Instagram removed content from its pages.
"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," Mike Davidson, CEO of CIT, said in a statement.
The U.K.'s Government Equalities Office responded to an online petititon with more than 200,000 signatures to ban conversion therapy.
"Conversion therapy is a very complex issue," the office wrote. "There are a wide range of practices which may fall within its scope and we want to ensure we have a thorough understanding of the situation in the UK to inform an effective approach ... we are not trying to prevent LGBT people from seeking spiritual support from their faith leader or others in the exploration of their sexual orientation."
Jayne Ozanne, a gay evangelical Anglican leading the charge in Britain, accuses Davidson of being a "practicer and promoter of conversion therapy."
But Davidson rejects the label "conversion therapy," considering it a term imposed by LGBTQ activists linked to extreme therapies -- like electroshock and "corrective" rape -- long since abandoned and outlawed.
"Because 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," Davidson said. "We reject this accusatory term.”
CIT is part of the International Federation for Therapeutic and Counseling Choice (IFTCC), which includes American board members prominent in the fight against therapy bans in the U.S. IFTCC also received a notice of closure from Barclays Bank.
"If it is CIT first, it will be churches next," Andrea Williams, CEO of Christian Concern, said. "This kind of demonization and refusing of services to a Christian ministry is reminiscent of how Jewish businesses were treated under Nazi rule."
Williams, who runs the U.K.-based legal nonprofit, is calling on the government to "put a halt to this kind of mob rule and to assert the rights of Biblically faithful Christian organizations to be serviced by businesses without facing such intolerant discrimination.”