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Trial Begins For Malta Man Facing Jail For Sharing How He Left Homosexuality to Follow Jesus

A Christian charity worker in Malta who gave up homosexuality to follow Jesus Christ is likely the first person ever to be criminally charged for allegedly promoting so-called “conversion therapy,” his lawyers say, even though he denies having done anything but share his story.

According to U.K.-based Christian Concern, a faith-based public policy and legal organization, 33-year-old Matthew Grech is accused of violating the small southern European country’s Affirmation of Sexual Orientation, Gender and Gender Expression Act, which forbids promoting in any way sexual “conversion practices.” His trial began June 9 in Malta, which became the first European Union member to outlaw “conversion therapy” in 2016.

In April 2022, Grech shared his story of becoming a Christian and forsaking homosexuality on PMNews Malta, described as a small, web-based free speech outlet.

He is specifically accused of “advertising” conversion practices by sharing his Christian testimony, his lawyers say. If convicted, Grech could face five months in prison, and/or be fined 5,000 euros.

Christian Concern says Grech was reported to the Maltese police by Silvan Agius, an aide to the European Union’s Commissioner for Equality.

During the PMNews Malta segment, Grech stated that he rejects the term “conversion therapy,” calling comparisons between conversion therapy and the Biblical call to turn from sin “scandalous.” He said the deeper he explored the Christian faith and the Bible, the more “I understood that in the Bible, homosexuality is not an identity as we make it nowadays. And neither is it a feeling, but a practice. 

This means that no matter what sexual feelings a man or a woman is experiencing, if they have sexual relations with a person of the same sex, they commit the homosexual act in God’s eyes, and that is a sin. Just like every other sin, one can repent from it and ask God for forgiveness and ask Him for strength to overcome … I’m talking here from a Christian perspective,” Grech said.

Grech said he believes members of the Malta LBGTIQ Rights Movement are behind his criminal charges. The group believes Christian beliefs on marriage and human identity, and any debate surrounding LGBTQ lifestyles, should be treated as a criminal offense.

Agius, the E.U. aide, first spoke out against Grech in 2018 after Grech shared his story on the reality television show “X-Factor Malta.” According to Christian Concern, a social media clip of Grech on “X Factor Malta” was taken down in the country, and the TV show issued an apology for airing his views.

Grech apparently has been on the radar of homosexual activists ever since.

“My Christian journey of transformation, from being a practicing homosexual interested in the occult and wanting to be a reiki master, to becoming a committed evangelical Christian, is one that should be told without fear of being criminalized,” Grech said ahead of his trial.

Andrea Williams, CEO of Christian Concern and the Christian Legal Centre, said in a statement: “We should all be concerned at this flagrant attempt by the Maltese authorities to criminalize Matthew simply for telling his story of freedom from unwanted and unfulfilling homosexual activity.

“To deny that Matthew and others can change is discriminatory and violates their Christian freedoms and fundamental human right to free speech. … The domino effect of ‘conversion therapy’ bans began in Malta. If a precedent is set by this case in Malta, we will see similar cases in the UK unless … robust action is taken.”

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A Christian charity worker in Malta who gave up homosexuality to follow Jesus Christ is likely the first person ever to be criminally charged for allegedly promoting so-called “conversion therapy,” his lawyers say, even though he denies having done anything but share his story.

According to U.K.-based Christian Concern, a faith-based public policy and legal organization, 33-year-old Matthew Grech is accused of violating the small southern European country’s Affirmation of Sexual Orientation, Gender and Gender Expression Act, which forbids promoting in any way sexual “conversion practices.” His trial began June 9 in Malta, which became the first European Union member to outlaw “conversion therapy” in 2016.

In April 2022, Grech shared his story of becoming a Christian and forsaking homosexuality on PMNews Malta, described as a small, web-based free speech outlet.

He is specifically accused of “advertising” conversion practices by sharing his Christian testimony, his lawyers say. If convicted, Grech could face five months in prison, and/or be fined 5,000 euros.

Christian Concern says Grech was reported to the Maltese police by Silvan Agius, an aide to the European Union’s Commissioner for Equality.

During the PMNews Malta segment, Grech stated that he rejects the term “conversion therapy,” calling comparisons between conversion therapy and the Biblical call to turn from sin “scandalous.” He said the deeper he explored the Christian faith and the Bible, the more “I understood that in the Bible, homosexuality is not an identity as we make it nowadays. And neither is it a feeling, but a practice. 

This means that no matter what sexual feelings a man or a woman is experiencing, if they have sexual relations with a person of the same sex, they commit the homosexual act in God’s eyes, and that is a sin. Just like every other sin, one can repent from it and ask God for forgiveness and ask Him for strength to overcome … I’m talking here from a Christian perspective,” Grech said.

Grech said he believes members of the Malta LBGTIQ Rights Movement are behind his criminal charges. The group believes Christian beliefs on marriage and human identity, and any debate surrounding LGBTQ lifestyles, should be treated as a criminal offense.

Agius, the E.U. aide, first spoke out against Grech in 2018 after Grech shared his story on the reality television show “X-Factor Malta.” According to Christian Concern, a social media clip of Grech on “X Factor Malta” was taken down in the country, and the TV show issued an apology for airing his views.

Grech apparently has been on the radar of homosexual activists ever since.

“My Christian journey of transformation, from being a practicing homosexual interested in the occult and wanting to be a reiki master, to becoming a committed evangelical Christian, is one that should be told without fear of being criminalized,” Grech said ahead of his trial.

Andrea Williams, CEO of Christian Concern and the Christian Legal Centre, said in a statement: “We should all be concerned at this flagrant attempt by the Maltese authorities to criminalize Matthew simply for telling his story of freedom from unwanted and unfulfilling homosexual activity.

“To deny that Matthew and others can change is discriminatory and violates their Christian freedoms and fundamental human right to free speech. … The domino effect of ‘conversion therapy’ bans began in Malta. If a precedent is set by this case in Malta, we will see similar cases in the UK unless … robust action is taken.”

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