A senior Tory MP has hit out at a decision to give charity status to a group that encourages gay people not to remain celibate for life.
The UK’s Charity Commission this week approved an application from Christian group Living Out, affirming that its work is for the “public benefit” despite a previous rejection.
Living Out claims it encourages discussion of homosexuality “from a Biblical perspective” – claiming that gay sex comes about through Original Sin, and teaching gay Christians that they must abstain from sex for life to avoid being seen as “sinful”.
Despite claiming not to endorse ‘gay cures’ and merely promoting abstinence, their website clearly states: “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. 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.”
The group refers to homosexuality as ‘same-sex attraction’ (SSA) – a term most commonly used by controversial ‘gay cure’ practitioners in the US.
Tory MP Mike Freer, a former vice chairman of Conservative Party, told PinkNews he would be raising the case with ministers.
He said: “I am surprised the Charity Commission could remotely believe this to be of ‘public benefit’.
“Imagine if this group provided counselling and pastoral care to support those ‘attracted to’ stoning people to death for wearing two different cloths, or for the desire to sell ones daughter in a foreign market! That’d be helping to live a life according to biblical teaching!
“They may not use the words ‘gay cure’, but if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck – it’s a duck! This is gay cure therapy rebranded!
“I shall raise this with the Charity Commission and with the relevant minister in the Cabinet Office.”
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”.