A Christian organisation that aims to encourage gay people not to have sex has been granted charity status.
Living Out says it encourages discussion of homosexuality “from a Biblical perspective”, telling gay Christians that they must abstain from sex for life to avoid being seen as “sinful”.
The group refers to homosexuality as ‘same-sex attraction’ (SSA) – a term most commonly used by controversial ‘gay cure’ practitioners in the US. Living Out preaches that such ‘SSA’ came about as a result of Original Sin in the Garden of Eden, and that gay sex is “inconsistent” with Christian teachings.
Their website explains: “The Bible also clearly shows that all human beings have a propensity to sin differently. Moses had an anger problem. For David his weakness was sex. For Peter it was pride. For Ed Shaw it is (amongst other things), same-sex sexual immorality.
“We welcome and support the work of those individuals and organisations who responsibly seek to help Christians who experience same-sex attraction as in conflict with their commitment to live in accordance with biblical teaching.”
Despite the group claiming not to endorse ‘gay cure’ therapies, it clearly states: “This help will involve counsel and pastoral support to live a chaste life and, as part of this process, some may seek and experience changes in the strength or direction of their same-sex attractions.”
But despite the group’s shocking teachings, the UK’s Charity Commission today concluded that the group was for the “public benefit”.
A statement from the charity watchdog says: “The Charity Commission was asked to review its decision not to enter Living Out onto the register of charities. On the basis of further evidence, submissions, and revised objects adopted by Living Out, the commission was satisfied that the purpose of Living Out was for the public benefit.
“The commission concluded that Living Out is concerned with promoting the wider Christian principles of unconditional love, compassion, acceptance and understanding, and a welcoming place in the Christian Church for same-sex attracted individuals who wish to stay true to their Christian faith.”
Charity status entitles organisations to claim tax relief and a range of financial benefits. The status also allows groups to potentially claim ‘gift aid’ – in which the government uses taxpayer funds to top up private donations.
Meanwhile, Living Out’s website preaches: “Sex must be between a man and a woman for exactly the same reason that it must be within a permanent relationship.
“The point of sex is not simply to unite any two individuals, but to show that there can be union between two people who are fundamentally different, just as Christ and the church are fundamentally different but truly united, and just as Father, Son and Spirit are different and yet truly one.
“The purpose of sexual intimacy within God’s good creation is to unite those who are different in a lifelong covenantal relationship. That is why God created sex.”
Lord Black of Brentwood, Executive Director of the Telegraph and a Conservative peer who campaigns against ‘gay cure’ therapy, told PinkNews: “This seems an extraordinary decision by the Charity Commission.
“It’s difficult to see how it can be justified as being of public benefit, and I hope they will think again”.