herald

Tuesday 15 October 2019

Holocaust-denying US hate preacher banned from entering Ireland

Steven Anderson
Steven Anderson

An American preacher who allegedly preaches about "exterminating" LGBT people and denies the Holocaust has been barred from entering Ireland.

Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan has taken the rare step of issuing an exclusion order to prevent Pastor Steven Anderson from entering the country.

Mr Anderson had planned to address followers in Dublin but a number of petitions had been organised calling for him to be banned from staging the event.

He was due to travel to the capital on May 26 and estimated that 150 people would attend his planned sermon.

"I have signed the exclusion order under my executive powers in the interests of public policy," Mr Flanagan told the Herald.

Protocol

The minister broke with the normal protocol of not commenting on individual cases to confirm the order, but he has declined to make any further comment.

He used powers available under the Immigration Act 1999 to bar Mr Anderson with immediate effect.

More than 14,000 people signed a petition against the visit set up by Changing Attitude Ireland, a liberal Church of Ireland group sympathetic to gay people. It claimed Mr Anderson has "advocated exterminating LGBT+ people".

He also posted an online video in which he justified the murders of 49 people in the Pulse gay nightclub massacre in Orlando in 2016.

The pastor has also claimed to pray nightly that former US president Barack Obama would die.

It was expected that his trip to Dublin would have involved commentary on the outcome of the referendum to repeal the Eighth Amendment.

Mr Anderson had already been banned from the 26 EU countries in the Schengen Area, which does not include Ireland.

The 38-year-old recently posted a video in which he said his European tour was curtailed but he still planned to fly directly to Dublin.

"So far so good on Dublin; it is still on," he said. "These events are still going on; the soul-winning and the preaching are still going on.

"It's just yours truly who won't be there, except I am planning to be there in Ireland.

"I am planning to fly directly to Dublin. So, unless they ban me, I'm still going to be there in Dublin."

Mr Anderson called for UK followers to travel to the event in Ireland. They were to meet at a McDonald's restaurant near the airport from where they would be transported to a secret venue for the seminar.

Mr Anderson is the founder of the Faithful Word Baptist Church, not affiliated to any Christian denominations.

The church's website says his lectures have been translated into 115 languages.

It also says people shouldn't expect anything contemporary or liberal, adding: "We are an old-fashioned, independent, fundamental, King James Bible only, soul-winning Baptist church … a young, family-integrated church."

Mr Anderson has 10 children. He set up the church on Christmas Day 2005.

His biography says that he holds no college degree but has "well over 140 chapters of the Bible memorised word-for-word, including approximately half of the New Testament".

The website still lists Dublin an upcoming event on May 26.

It also lists dates in Amsterdam and Stockholm, despite him being banned from the Netherlands and Sweden.

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