Northern Irish Christian organisation investigated for posting homophobic literature into homes around Derry

The PSNI spoke to the Mid Ulster Christian Helpline website for distributing literature in support of 'conversion therapy'.

A leaflet containing biblical verses and homophobic words

The Mid Ulster Christian Helpline – a Northern Irish Christian organisation – are being investigated by the PSNI for distributing what was described as “homophobic literature” around homes in Derry.

BelfastLive reported that people made complaints upon receiving leaflets through their letterboxes that read homosexuality and lesbianism (grouped in with incest and bestiality) were practices “detestable unto God”.

Envelopes reading “Important info. Please do not destroy. Protective clothing worn while packaging” were posted to homes in the area. Inside were leaflets containing bible verses and a helpline number that the public could ring so the Mid-Ulster Christian Help Line could pray with them over the phone and ‘convert’ them from their homosexuality.

The group’s website also states that their aim is “to witness and to warn all people who would be in spiritual danger through involvement in any of the ‘ungodly practices’ which exist today.”

A lesbian couple who preferred to remain anonymous, spoke to the authorities upon receiving the literature, describing how they would be worried about the effect things of this kind would have “on more vulnerable people, especially young people coming to terms with being gay.”

The Mid-Ulster Christian Help Line is run by married couple Freda and William Kerr. Mrs Kerr distributed the leaflets and stands by their decision to do so, saying she would go to prison before stopping. She stated, “It’s God’s word, not my word. We do it by way of the literature and we do to help people and people have been helped.”

The PSNI confirmed the Christian organisation was being investigated, stating, “Police in Magherafelt received a report on Thursday 18th June of homophobic literature having been posted to a number of homes in the area recently. Enquiries into the matter are ongoing.”

The practice of ‘conversion therapy’ is well documented as being very harmful, to the degree that a UN rights expert recently called for a global ban. Victor Madrigal-Borloz shared, “The main perpetrators of #ConversionTherapy are private and public health-care providers; faith-based organisations and their leaders; and State agents. Pathologization, demonization and criminalization of LGBT persons play a definitive role in perpetuating violence and discrimination.

Combatting biases and prejudices that enable the exposure of LGBT persons to practices of conversion requires joint action from States, the medical community, religious leaders and civil society. I call for a global ban on ConversionTherapy.”

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