Pastor Steven Anderson, fundamentalist American pastor at Faithful Word Baptist Church, was planning an overseas “soul-winning” trip to South Africa. Those plans were officially halted yesterday when Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba announced in Parliament that Anderson would be banned from entering the country. This was as a result of his anti-gays views, which the country’s home affairs minister on Tuesday equated with hate speech.
Citing anti-discrimination laws designed to “prevent and prohibit hate speech,” Home Affairs minister Malusi Gigaba told a media briefing he was banning Anderson indefinitely
The Baptist pastor was due to be travelling through London en route to South Africa and Botswana. Though it was already reported that Anderson had been banned from South Africa over his anti-gay comments. Now it emerged that yesterday, the United Kingdom also banned Anderson from the country, adding that he was forbidden from landing there for a layover on his way to other countries.
A Home Office spokesperson confirmed the pastor has been banned from the UK. He said, “The Home Secretary has the power to exclude an individual if she considers that his or her presence in the UK is not conducive to the public good or if their exclusion is justified on public policy grounds… Coming here is a privilege that we refuse to extend to those who seek to subvert our shared values.”
Pastor Anderson Update: Banned from the United Kingdom!
Anderson had made a litany of offensive remarks, including suggesting that the 50 people killed by a gunman in June at a gay nightclub in Orlando Florida this year were “paedophiles”.
South African gay and lesbian groups collected more than 60,000 signatures opposing his visit this weekend, when he was expected to preach and seek converts to his church.
South Africa became the first country in Africa to legalize gay marriage in 2006, but homosexuality is still widely frowned upon and same-sex unions are often decried as “un-African.”
Anderson said he felt sorry for South Africans.
“I have been banned from South Africa and the United Kingdom,” Anderson wrote on his Facebook page.
“I feel sorry for people who live in South Africa, but thank God we still have a wide open door in Botswana.” It was not clear when he was due to visit Botswana.
In South Africa, gangs of men, especially in poorer black townships, have raped lesbians in the belief it will “cure” their sexual orientation.
Although the country has one of the world highest rates of rape, activists say very few cases end in conviction. Women’s groups say police and the justice system have been slow to tackle the problem.