Anti-gay Arizona pastor denied entry to South Africa

Faithful Word Baptist Church Pastor Steven Anderson
Faithful Word Baptist Church Pastor Steven Anderson talks about being prohibited from entering South Africa in a video sermon posted online on Sept. 12, 2016. Screenshot from YouTube video

(RNS) Arizona pastor Steven Anderson has been barred from entering South Africa over hate speech concerns.

Anderson, pastor of the Faithful Word Baptist Church in Tempe, Ariz., was due to visit the country later this month for a series of evangelical events.

But Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba denied him and members of his church a visa.

“This is on the basis that I am certain they promote hate speech as well as advocate social violence,” Gigaba told a news briefing.

The planned visit had stirred a heated controversy with gay rights, LGBT and human rights activists pressing the government to cancel the visit. The Evangelical Alliance and the Baptist Union of Southern Africa had distanced themselves from the pastor.

In 2014, Anderson called for the murder of every LGBT person as a solution to end HIV and AIDS. And earlier this year, after the shooting deaths of 49 people at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Fla., he said, “There’s 50 less pedophiles in this world.”

South Africa became the first country in Africa to legalize gay marriage, in 2006, but Gigaba said the country still has work toward reaching its constitutional value, to build a democratic, united, nonracial, nonsexist and prosperous state.

“It is a constitutional imperative for organs of state and society to protect and jealously defend the rights of all people,” said Gigaba, while noting that LGBT people face daily attacks including ridicule, abuse, bullying, brutal abuses and rape.

Responding to the ban, Anderson said in a Facebook post that he felt sorry for the people of South Africa, but thanked God his team had a wide open door in Botswana.

“Stand by for reports of multitudes saved in Botswana, where religious freedom still exists,” he said.

(Fredrick Nzwili is a Nairobi-based RNS correspondent)

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  • “In 2014, Anderson called for the murder of every LGBT person as a solution to end HIV and AIDS.” That certainly won’t get the homosexuals to Heaven.

  • So it’s not that you object per se to the notion of mass murder. It’s that such tactics don’t meet your goals.

  • 1 Corinthians 6:9-10New International Version (NIV)

    9 Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men[a] 10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.

    Now tell my the fixation on homosexuality when the other deadly sins are more prevalent and cause society more pain and grief? How unlike Jesus!

  • ” That certainly won’t get the homosexuals to Heaven.”

    I’m gay, and people generally consider me to be a worrier. But one of the things I never ever worry about is that your God, Heaven, and Hell might really exist.

  • For those who decry the spirit of Christianity, the example above makes their case much easier, and makes it much harder to persuade the unpersuaded. Fortunately, ministers of his ilk are far from pervasive among those who identify as Christians. Murder or execution of LGBT’s can not be reconciled with the precepts of the New Testament. As a Christian of a conservative bent, such ministers embarrass me.

  • I’m sure you’re aware that Jesus (assuming such a man existed) did not write 1 Corinthians.

    I suspect that a half-way decent God would be a tad cross with those who twist His wishes to further their own agendas; even if it’s His fault no-one actually knows what those wishes might be.

  • This is interesting. Contrast Steven Anderson who’s approach is abrasive to say the least, one may even say toxic, to another pastor, theologian and Christian Apologist Dr. James R. White who is quite vocal against the new morality of the current sexual revolution, but has been to South Africa recently and on several occasions and has debated Muslims in some of the largest Mosques in Durbin and Johannasberg and will probably be returning in the near future without all of the drama bearing witness with gentleness and truth.

  • Perhaps far from pervasive, Mr. silva, but a definite presence. Many are not as extreme as Anderson, or at least, have the decency and common sense not to say so. But there are far too many who cannot leave it at “I believe homosexuality is a sin.” They must needs go and repeat every lying slander about gay people, as divorced from reality, from facts, logic, experience, and compassion as they can get.

    We have posters on these very pages who demonstrate that it is not just about “homosexuality” is a sin.

  • Sure, it’s always tough, always “embarrassing”, to read such stories. The “cringe factor” is there, I feel it as well. Even though such mess is really rare.

    But some of the media, (and I’m NOT accusing the current article writer of this), are perfectly willing to exploit those “cringe factor” folks and make it sound like THEY are the rule instead of the rare (and refutable via Scripture) exception. Gay activists also do such exploitation.

    Such exploitation helps to sell the gay socio-political agenda, by deflecting rational and Scriptural scrutiny AWAY FROM the gay activists’ highly-mistaken sales-pitches.

    Pro-gay members of the media, do NOT want to offer you fresh, true news like “Donnie McClurkin used to be a Homosexual way back when, but Jesus Saved, Healed, Cleansed and Delivered him for all these many Years, and transformed him into a nationally famous Minister and Singer, and now McClurkin’s finally engaged to marry a Fine Christian Woman soon.”

    That kind of ministerial and ex-gay news article — Donnie McClurkin — is exactly what the media is SCARED to offer. They’d rather offer you that hater Steven Anderson.

  • I tend to agree with you, especially on the aspect of media bias. Another example of Christianity being an aid to deliverance from homosexuality occurred in the case of John (I believe) and Anne Paulk, who were associated with Focus on the Family for a time. Except that in their case John chose to surrender again to his homosexual inclinations while Anne continued with the ministry of conversion they had jointly shared. Subsequently I think they divorced. I would never suggest that every gay person who becomes a Christian gets complete deliverance from those desires, but many soldier on anyway recognizing it as a cross to bear in their spiritual journey of obedience to Christ, just as others have different crosses to bear in this life.

  • I don’t know quite how to respond. For my part, I have disavowed Mr. Anderson in the strongest terms, nor do I deny there are others among so called Christians equally insensitive and self -righteous. As you well know, I always operate from the base position that we are all sinners in need of a Savior, that condition does not change when one becomes a believer, a believer should recognize the need to go to God daily, searching his heart for his own transgressions before he addresses the transgressions of others’. To your other point, I avoid generalizations like the plague, because I believe each individual will be assessed by God on his or her own merits. I can’t control other posters but will admonish them when particularly egregious in their language whatever their point of view. One final point, just an administrative one, “Borges-Silva” is actually a compendium of my last name rather than simply “Silva.” No offence, nor am I offended, just wanted to clear that up.

  • The last shall be first. I will assume familiarity, and call you Edward.

    There are a great many others like Anderson. Insensitive and self righteous are not the words I would use. Reprehensible, lying, raging bigots full of hate and despite is a lot closer to reality, as with Robertson and his “homosexuals have special rings to cut people and give them AIDS.” He is Just one of hundreds or thousands I could name, and that’s just among the prominent, publicly known ones. Falwell’s “human garbage”, Anita Bryant’s “they cannot reproduce so they must recruit your children” and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on.

    Im glad that you reprove the more egregious ones, but that actually underlines my point. They are all of them, everyone of them egregious, the moment they leave the land of “I believe homosexuality is sin” and cross over to every single lie, over generalization, half truth, and distortions they can come up with.

  • Once again, I place my confidence in God to justly judge and require of each individual their due, whether Left or Right, Slanderer or Libeler, Truth teller or Compassionate. Would you argue that there are none among the enemies of Christianity that Libel, Slander and Revile the faith, lumping all believers together, even as those of the faith war among themselves? Naturally I believe that Christians should be held to the highest standard, given the Name they claim to represent. And I will challenge my brothers and sisters in the faith when they seem to me to stray into error to the Left or Right, but I will endeavor to demean none knowing my own weakness. But if you wish to vent your anger and dismay at me, I’m fully prepared to be a sounding board to that end without taking offence. As to familiarity, I think I began addressing you as Ben sometime ago, referencing you as Mr. in Oakland never seemed quite right.

  • Edward, my anger is not about you, Not personally, and not directly. Nor is it about the attacks on Christians that revile, libel, and slander them. I try to be careful in everything I write not to generalize from the hateful attacks of some to the greater majority.

    My two points are 1) reviling and slandering is condemned in the very same passage the so many people cite to condemn gay people, with nary a peep from anyone; 2) obvious prejudice is given an excuse and a cover by calling it sincere religious belief, rather than called out for what it so clearly is.

    Say “I believe homosexuality is a sin”, and I don’t care all that much, though I do believe it is an abuse and misuse of scripture. Say, “Ben is gay and therefore a danger to children.” And I care a great deal.

    You should too, as should every Christian who is concerned about the “quality” of his faith.

    That’s my point.

  • Absolutely. Which is why I deplore generalizations of any stripe when they are an effort to classify a group of citizens by a limited set of specific parameters. Every individual deserves to be assessed on his or her own merits. I can appreciate your anger with respect to certain inflammatory charges directed towards gay people, it is the same anger I fell when all conservative Christians are categorized as representing the mindset of Mr. Anderson.