The de-banking scandal, which has centred around Nigel Farage having his account closed at Coutts Bank on the grounds of his political views, is of particular interest to Christians in the front line of the culture wars, and who are endeavouring to throw some Biblical light upon a society wholly given over to the anti-Christian religion of the cultural Marxist establishment. 

As far as Christians are concerned, the banks’ trying to act as moral arbiters is not a wholly new phenomenon. As long ago as 2005 the campaigning group Christian Voice had its account closed by the Co-operative Bank over the issue of that organisation upholding the Bible’s teaching on sexual orientation. 

Sadly in 2023, as we now all know, the attitude of the banks toward those embracing socially conservative opinions has become an urgent problem, impinging upon the whole issue of whether or not we live in a democratic society where free thinking is tolerated.

Consider, for example, the recent case of the vicar, the Rev. Richard Fothergill, who had his account closed at the Yorkshire Building Society (YBS), because he expressed the opinion that it was not appropriate for YBS to promote transgender ideology as part of it public face. The vicar did so in answer to a survey which had actually invited his opinions!

Metro Bank has also jumped onto the anti-Christian bandwagon, having signed up to Stonewall’s Diversity Champion scheme. The bank recently refused to open an account for the ‘Our Duty’ organisation, whose focus includes protecting children from irreversible gender transition. Does Metro Bank not want any Christian customers? 

The Core Issues Trust (CIT) is a Christian charity working to help those who desire to leave a homosexual lifestyle. In 2020 Barclays Bank closed its accounts with CIT following a determined social media campaign against them by LGBT activists. Thankfully, this decision was challenged in the courts, and Barclays last month had to pay out to CIT over £20,000 in damages, which is a step in the right direction.  

NatWest and Lloyds Bank recently participated in the London Pride parade. The Lloyds Bank website tells us that ‘Pride isn’t a month in the calendar; it’s an all-year celebration of sexualities and identities’. The NatWest Group had a special float in the parade decked out in their corporate colour and emblazoned  with the words, ‘Championing the Power of Pride’. They might just as well have sported a tagline which read, ‘But if you are Christians who believe the Bible, we want nothing to do with you’.  

How has Modern Britain reached such a state of affairs where politicians, banks, big business, the media and the educational system are so intolerant of anyone who fails to endorse the woke orthodoxy? It is ultimately a spiritual issue. The fundamental cause of this nightmare of enforced wokery is the national abandonment of the Christian faith. The word of God tells us that men by nature have minds blinded  by Satan : ‘the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not’ (2 Corinthians 4:4). When people reject God and His way of salvation, in their human pride they substitute their own flawed attempts to define right and wrong. This is what the apostle Paul calls ‘going about to establish their own righteousness’ (Romans 10:3). 

What we are witnessing today is a re-run of the religion of the Pharisees, those who were the implacable enemies of our Lord’s public ministry. The defining characteristics of the Pharisees were an unquestioning pride in their own goodness and a desire to display this imagined goodness to all those around them. In other words, there is nothing remotely new about the tedious virtue-signalling which we are now enduring from the banks, and indeed from all other major national institutions. The same kind of behaviour is clearly described in the New Testament : denouncing the Pharisees, the Lord Jesus Christ said, ‘All their works they do for to be seen of men’ (Matthew 23:5). 

Furthermore, attempts to shut down Christians from participating in normal economic activity is also clearly spoken of in the Bible. It was used in the 1st century AD by the Roman Emperor Nero against the disciples of Christ. Those who did not honour Nero as being divine, those who did not carry this ‘mark of the beast’ whereby they identified  with the deification of the State and its leader, were excluded from the ability to engage in commercial life :  ‘no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast’ (Revelation 13:17). 

In our own day, we see similar tendencies : the notion that the State (along with its experts) possesses all wisdom, and all must conform. The spirit of our age is essentially an anti-Christian spirit. Concerning the banks, we must support all legal and regulatory endeavours to rein in their appalling abuse of their roles, but the only ultimate answer to the grave spiritual malaise of which de-banking is just one aspect, is to preach the gospel of salvation to as many people as possible. This is the only way that society can really be changed for the better. We are in this ghastly predicament of virtue-signalling wokery, precisely because as a nation, we have turned our backs on the one true faith of Jesus Christ. 

By Pastor Peter Simpson

Pastor Peter Simpson is Minister of Penn Free Methodist Church, which upholds the historic Christian faith according to the Scriptures and the Reformation principle that the Bible, God's inspired and inerrant word, is the Church's only authority.