If you’re not familiar with the sermons of anti-gay pastor Steven Anderson, the level of vitriol he directs at LGBT people may surprise you. To give a single example, after the shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, he declared that the murder should be celebrated, saying, “The good news is that there’s 50 less pedophiles in this world.”
When Pastor Anderson decided to go on a “soul-winning” trip to South Africa, many who had heard of his anti-gay reputation opposed his visit. Thousands signed a petition asking the government to keep Anderson out.
“This is not a petition against Christianity, but against using Christianity as an excuse to call for the death of a certain sector of society and to spread a message of hate and intolerance.
“We are calling on the Department of Home Affairs to stop him from promoting hate speech, as well as all South African business to refuse this man and his team service when they visit on 17 & 18 September 2016.”
Africa’s Department of Home Affairs responded, with spokesperson Mayihlome Tshwete telling City News that they supported the petition, but that they might not have the power to prevent the pastor from visiting, since his anti-gay remarks were not made on South African land.
The Department of Home Affairs consulted with legal advisers, and concluded, according to Times Live, that preventing Pastor Anderson from entering the country was not an option.
The same spokesperson said that the ministry was “…still looking for another possible option but at this point it’s going to be impossible to turn the pastor away as he has not been found to have done anything illegal in our country by any court or even in his own country.”
Pastor Anderson celebrated this on social media on Friday.
“Great news! The South Africa government has stated that they will not ban me from entering the country! Praise the Lord!”
Later, however, he followed that up with a video that has some viewers questioning his motives. Anderson posted a video that was clipped from a 2015 sermon, in which he tells his congregation that there’s no need to go to other countries, because one can “…reach foreigners here.”
He goes on to describe how he preached to South Africans in the U.S., but his descriptions — well, they raise eyebrows, to say the least.
“Everybody who lives in this apartment complex is from Africa. And I don’t mean that they’re black. I mean they’re from Africa. I mean they’re actually wearing clothing that shows you, immediately, like, wow, these people just got here from Africa.”
The anti-gay pastor goes on to describe the apartment complex by comparing it to “…a warp zone that would just take you to Africa.”
The part that makes the story funny (according to Pastor Anderson) is that when he uploaded video of this visit to an apartment complex he says was only four miles from where he’s preaching, he labeled it as “East Africa Missions Trip” — and that, he says, people viewing it believed it took place in Africa.
According to Anderson, this proves that it’s not necessary to leave America to witness. He carries on both sides of an argument with a hypothetical mission-seeker.
“It’s okay to witness to white people too! But you know what, you say, ‘no, I just want to witness to black people!’ They’re here! ‘No, real, real African people!’ They’re here! ‘No, I wanna speak in click language!’ It’s here!”
Yet he still plans to take his soul-winning mission to South Africa in a few weeks — assuming, of course, the government fails to find that “other possible option” that the Department of Home Affairs mentions. Followers of his page pointed this out.
“And if you are making such a big deal about being able to win the souls of people from Africa by only traveling 4 miles from your church, why bother going clear across the Atlantic to do so?”
The anti-gay pastor, who recently proudly showed off his new T-shirt referencing a verse that indicates LGBT people “deserve to die,” along with a statement on his social media pages to declare that the purpose of “straight pride” was to mock LGBT people seeking equal rights, says that he will arrive in South Africa on September 17 and preach on the 18.
[Image via YouTube]