Mike Freer, a senior Tory MP, has hit out at the decision by the UK Charity Commission to grant charity status to the Christian group Living Out, as the group encourages LGBT+ people to practice abstinence for life.
The Living Out group was granted charity status earlier this week, claiming that they work towards the ‘public benefit’. This is despite being rejected on a previous occasion.
Living Out claims that gay sex comes about through Original Sin and that they encourage discussions on homosexuality from a ‘biblical perspective’. They state that gay Christians must abstain from sex for their entire lives to avoid ‘sin’ and going to hell.
The group has said in the past that they do not practice or encourage ‘gay cures’, but some of the wording on their website seems to be making vague allusions to welcoming the support of ‘gay cure’ groups.
Their website says; ‘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 counselling and pastoral support to live a chaste life and, as part of this process, some seek and experience changes in the strength or direction of their same-sex attraction.’
The group also refers to homosexuality as ‘same-sex attraction’, a term that is commonly used by ‘gay cure’ practitioner, particularly in the US.
Mike Freer has stated that he will be raising the case with fellow ministers.
Speaking to the press, he said ‘I am surprised the Charity Commission could remotely believe this is to be of ‘public benefit’.’
‘Imagine if this group provided counselling and pastoral care to those ‘attracted to’ stoning people to death for wearing two different cloths, or for their desire to sell ones daughter into a foreign market! That’d be helping to live life according to biblical teachings!’
‘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.’
So far the Charity Commission has yet to make a statement about appointing Living Out charity status, or why they believe anti-LGBT+ view to be of public benefit.