Police are investigating a controversial anti-gay pastor for handing out homophobic leaflets during Norwich pride celebrations.
Reverend Dr Alan Clifford and four members of his congregation attempted to protest Norwich pride by handing out homophobic leaflets, telling people: “You need them, they will do you good. God bless you”.
The protestors were warned not to distribute their leaflets, and were told that they would be arrested if they caused offence and distress.
One of the protestors said to the police: “Since I find gay demonstrators offensive and distressing, will you arrest them too?”
Following the protest, Dr Clifford also issued an open email to organisers of Norwich Pride, calling it an “unashamed carnival of perverted carnality”.
“The planned route took us past the market and the City Hall. Shamelessly displaying the City Council’s decadence, a ‘rainbow’ drape stretched along the entire width of the building,” he said.
He also called the Lord Mayor’s appearance at the parade “a truly shameful display of official support.”
The email also stated: “It was tragic to see little children among the marchers. May the LORD protect them from sodomite wickedness”.
Dr Clifford attached two of his leaflets to the email, which read “Christ Can Cure – Good News for Gays” and “Jesus Christ, the Saviour We All Need”.
Following the email, Dr Clifford was issued with a £90 fine for causing offence, which he has declined to pay, believing it to be a “bribe”.
A Norfolk Constabulary spokesman has confirmed the email is being investigated.
Defending his comments, he wrote in a statement that he was simply “reporting to the gay-pride people our Christian complaint against the public display of their homosexual propaganda, which we find offensive.”
Dr Clifford also denied he was homophobic, arguing that the word stems from the Greek “phobia”, meaning “fear”, and that he does not encourage hatred.
“I certainly fear the influence of homosexuality on society, but this should not be regarded as ‘hatred’ unless criticism is taken to mean hatred’.”
He explained his mission was in fact “a Compassionate call to Christian Conversion.”
“Is that hatred? We don’t hate these people. We love them and want to help them. So, even though the gay-pride people are upset, we are guilty of no crime,” he said.
Dr Clifford is known for his homophobic and anti-Islamic views.
His church was previously criticsed for distributing anti-Islamic leaflets, which stated “too many churchmen as well as politicians are gripped by cowardice in the face the Muslim menace”, and argued that Jesus was a superior religious leader than the prophet Muhammed.