Friday 24 May 2019

Anti-LGBT preacher becomes first person banned from Ireland

Pastor Steven L Anderson, who founded the Faithful Word Baptist Church in 2005, in Arizona, USA, was set to deliver a sermon in Dublin on May 26.

LGBT campaigners welcomed the move (Daniel Leal-Olivas/PA)
LGBT campaigners welcomed the move (Daniel Leal-Olivas/PA)

By Aoife Moore, Press Association

An anti-gay preacher has become the first person banned from Ireland.

Pastor Steven L Anderson, who founded the Faithful Word Baptist Church in 2005, in Arizona, USA, was set to deliver a sermon in Dublin on May 26 as part of a short tour of Europe.

The Minister for Justice and Equality, Charlie Flanagan, has signed an exclusion order “with immediate effect under Section 4 of the Immigration Act 1999 in respect of Mr Steven Anderson, aka Pastor Steven L Anderson”.

The Minister said: “I have signed the exclusion order under my executive powers in the interests of public policy.”

The Department has the power to make such orders under the Immigration Act 1999.

LGBT Ireland tweeted their support for the decision on Monday morning, thanking the Minister for his decision, saying: “We are very thankful for your decision today to ban Steven Anderson from Ireland.”

Mr Anderson’s church website introduces itself saying: “Don’t expect anything contemporary or liberal. We are an old-fashioned, independent, fundamental, King James Bible only, soul-winning Baptist church.”

A list of sermons available have titles such as: “The Homo Agenda vs Reality”, “Iceland: a Nation of Bastards” and “Queer Sounding Music & Skinny Jeans”.

In one sermon, which was uploaded to YouTube, Pastor Anderson claimed God had ordered in the scriptures that gay people should be killed, and that if humanity wanted to have an “Aids-free world by Christmas” that is what should be done.

In another YouTube video, the pastor claimed he prayed for the death of then-US president Barack Obama.

After 49 people were killed in a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, Mr Anderson told his audience the victims “deserved to die in the shooting”.

A petition launched on Change.org over four months ago calling for the ban garnered over 14,000 signatures.

The petition organiser said: “Steven Anderson is a Holocaust-denier, Islamophobe and anti-LGBT+ extremist who is scheduled to preach in Dublin, Ireland on May 26 2019, possibly in an attempt to get people to change their minds on last year’s abortion referendum.

“This petition is for the people to show that they want Pastor Steven Anderson banned from entering the Republic of Ireland.”

In September 2016, Mr Anderson was banned from South Africa, the United Kingdom, and later deported from Botswana.

Anderson was denied entry to Canada on November 10 2017, and later banned from entering Jamaica last year.

He was banned from visiting the Netherlands this month.

Press Association

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Also in this section