The pastor of a Northern Ireland church has attacked homosexuality, saying it is associated with shortened lifespans and mental health problems and that people should change themselves.

In language strikingly similar to that used by homophobic Northern Ireland MP Iris Robinson last year, Pastor Mark Bradfield of Bethel Baptist Church, also said that being gay was “an abomination” and against God’s will.

Bradfield’s tirade was published in a letter to the Derry Journal. He was responding to an article published in the newspaper earlier this month, in which the local Rainbow Project welcomed US president Barack Obama’s decision to proclaim June LGBT Pride Month.

He claimed that being gay was “unfulfilled, lacking, impulsive, compulsive and fraught with health risks”, adding that anyone who might “dabble’ in this lifestyle” does so “to their severe detriment.”

Belfield, whose church is non-denominational, continued: “The Word of God tells us in the old and new testament that the gay lifestyle is an abomination – Not God’s will! He also provided a way out of this lifestyle – as has been chosen by many. To trust the one man – Jesus Christ – that still offers a real lifelong, fulfilling, relationship.

“When those in the gay community look around – seeing a young husband and wife with a pram and a baby, an older husband and wife holding hands, churches preaching that it is God’s plan ‘for one man to be with one woman till death do us part’ – they are reminded that they are wrong, plainly and simply.”

He ended his letter with an apparent comparison of the gay movement to Nazism, saying: “Hitler said that the lies most easily believed were the biggest, loudest and most repeated.”

When contacted by PinkNews.co.uk, the Derry Journal said its letters page was “jam-packed” with responses to Bradfield’s attack, with the vast majority of those against his homophobic stance.
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Earlier this year, police said Iris Robinson would not be prosecuted over remarks she had made about gays.

Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph last summer, she said: “I cannot think of anything more sickening than a child being abused. It is comparable to the act of homosexuality. I think they are all comparable. I feel totally repulsed by both.”

She also suggested that there are therapies to “cure” people of homosexuality, saying: “I have a very lovely psychiatrist who works with me in my offices and his Christian background is that he tries to help homosexuals trying to turn away from what they are engaged in.

“And I have met people who have turned around to become heterosexual.”

Shortly after her outburst, Mrs Robinson’s son Gareth was photographed kissing a man and sitting on his knee at a Belfast party.