Wednesday 5 August, 2020

Jamaican Government being urged to ban controversial American pastor

American pastor, Steve Anderson

American pastor, Steve Anderson

As of Sunday, a petition seeking 15,000 signatures and urging the Jamaican Government to ban so-called ‘hate’ pastor, American Steven Anderson, from the island had garnered 3,746 signatures.

The petition will need 15,000 signatures for the Government to act on it.

With reports about the controversial Anderson, who has been banned from several countries, circulating in the foreign media, there have been calls for the Jamaican authorities to prevent him from entering the island on January 29 for a scheduled five-day visit.

Regional media is reporting that a Jamaican LGBT activist is calling on the Jamaican Government to ban Pastor Anderson from visiting the island later this month. The report noted that Anderson was banned from several countries, including Canada, the United Kingdom, Botswana and South Africa, after calling for gay people to be stoned to death and allegedly praising the mass shooting at an Orlando, Florida nightclub.

“His hate-filled sermons include calling for women to be removed from the workplace, banned from voting or reading books of their choice,” the regional media report said.

It added that Anderson, who leads the Faithful Word Baptist Church in Tempe, Arizona, USA, has also called medical doctors sorcerers.

It is not clear who has invited the controversial pastor to Jamaica, but Anderson and a small delegation are planning what they call a “missions trip” to the country.

However, Jay John, a local activist for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, has started a petition calling on the Jamaican Government to stop the trip. He argued that Jamaica continues to court controversy because of the discrimination that many LGBT people face in the country, and the retention of outdated British buggery laws.

“But despite the culture of homophobia, some Christians in Jamaica are calling for change, and Bishop Howard Gregory, the head of the Anglican Church in Jamaica and the Cayman Islands, has spoken against the colonial-era sodomy laws,” the regional media report indicated.

The article also pointed to another prominent LGBT activist, Maurice Tomlinson, whom it noted, filed a constitutional challenge against the buggery laws last year, which is proceeding through the Jamaican courts.

In his petition, John noted that Anderson is not just bringing anti-gay hate speech to Jamaica, but that he is an individual who approves of terrorism, given his support for the Orlando massacre.

“Clearly the pastor has no respect for humanity and his messages go against our democratic ideals and our motto, ‘Out of many, one people’,” the activist stated.

“Pastor Anderson’s messages attack and demean women, seeing women as second-class citizens, unequal to men, discrediting them as holistic beings who are workers, academics and leaders. The pastor refers to women as ‘home keepers and not office keepers’, and sees women who work as having loose morals.”

John said the Jamaican people are asking the Government to show leadership and stand as an example to fellow Caribbean countries, to denounce terrorism and violence against marginalised groups.

Anderson was quoted in the Jamaican media on Sunday as saying the gay community will not be the focus of his visit to the island.

"The purpose of this trip is that we are just going to go there and just preach the gospel and preach about Jesus and preach about salvation," said Anderson.

He also said some of the claims that have been made against him in the petition are not true, including that he supported the Orlando massacre.

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