'Gay is sin' pastor plans gospel rally at Pride parade
A controversial pastor who holds a 'Homosexuality is Sin' gospel rally at his city's Pride March every year says God can "cure" gay people and that their lifestyle is "physically, mentally and spiritually harmful".
Foyle Pride 2017 takes place on Saturday, and pastor Mark Bradfield, whose Bethel Baptist Church is based at Campsie, Co Derry, plans to be there with his megaphone as the parade passes.
Mr Bradfield said: "The Bible says whether you are gay or straight, if you don't get saved you are going to hell," he said.
"I don't have the cure for homosexuality, but God has the cure for homosexuality. God can cure anyone of anything if they want cured.
"Any physical relationship outside of a man and a woman married to each other is a sin. That is what the Bible says and that is what I believe. The Bible says everyone is a sinner.
"I don't think that being gay is wrong. Living the life of a unregenerate sinner is wrong. We are all sinners. This is a good opportunity to reach out to souls.
"When people continually do something that is against God's commands, he will basically wash his hands of them. And I wouldn't like to think that there would be anybody there that God has done that with."
He added: "So I take the megaphone out. There are a bunch of other folks there and we preach the Gospel.
"And we just hope and we pray before we go, and we have people praying while we are there, that it will get through to some of them, whether they are straight or gay or lesbian or transgender or whatever."
Mr Bradfield said that sometimes people speak to him at the parade. There were one or two who said that they had come out of the lifestyle.
"They said that they were tired of being passed around from one to the other. They just resumed their heterosexuality. One gentleman is now married and has kids."
Pastor Bradfield says that he doesn't hate gay people.
"I love them and I seem to be one of very few who loves them enough to stand up and say 'the lifestyle you are living is very, very harmful'.
"Whenever 2% of the population accounts for 50% of the HIV and Aids cases, and whenever there is higher incidences of substance abuse and mental duress with this lifestyle, there has to be something not right about it. That's where I stand.
"I say the things that you are doing are physically, mentally and spiritually harmful to you."
Eimear Willis, chair of Foyle Pride 2017, says that the pastor's words could be dangerous for some in the LGBT community.
"Young people are hearing this day in and day out," she said.
"Maybe if they haven't got a support network, people who are saying otherwise in their other ear - saying they are loved, maybe they are not comfortable being out, maybe there are family issues and they are not yet there with regards being out - this is going to get into their head.
"I would hope people are strong enough to not take it seriously."