Theresa May meets with pastor who claimed gay rights are ‘an affront to Christians’
Theresa May this week worshipped with a pastor who described gay rights as “Christianophobic”.
On Sunday the Prime Minister made an unannounced visit to London’s Jesus House church, which is part of the Nigerian-based Redeemed Christian Church of God movement.
The visit, which came after the PM jetted back from a G7 Summit in Sicily, was an attempt to reach out to the church’s primarily black Christian congregation.
However, the church – which Mrs May hailed as “fantastic” and “one of the most lively growing churches in the UK” – has long faced allegations of anti-LGBT conduct.
Christian website Ekklesia previously alleged that the Church “carries out ‘exorcisms’ of people who are sexually attracted to members of their own sex”, which the church strongly denies.
Jesus House denied it practices gay ‘cure’ practices, insisting that it “does not advocate exorcism for people with same sex attraction”.
However, online materials from the Redeemed Christian Church of God, of which Jesus House is a part, do explicitly call for Christians to help gay people “repent” their sexuality.
The RCCG Sunday School materials teach: “Homosexuality is a sin and like any other sin, it needs to be dealt with in the only way possible.
“It needs to be laid at the cross and repented of. Christians should pray for the salvation of the homosexual.”
The website continues to claim that “homosexuals should be shown the love of Christ and should be restored to God’s society to escape divine judgement”
Pastor Agu Irukwu, who met with Theresa May during the visit, was a vocal opponent of the first law in the UK outlawing discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation.
The pastor had signed an open letter in 2006 in which he alleged that the then-Labour government was “discriminating against Christians” in order to appease gay people.
In the letter, the pastor claimed: “The latest discrimination against Christians is the new law called the Sexual Orientation Regulations, said to combat the problem of homophobia in Britain.
“The regulations force Christians in churches, businesses, charities and informal associations to accept and even promote the idea that homosexuality is equal to heterosexuality.”
— Jesus House (@jesushouseuk) May 28, 2017
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It continued: “In our view, these regulations are an affront to our freedom to be Christians… this sort of Christianophobia from the Government is no longer acceptable.”
A Conservative spokesman told PinkNews: “As Pastor Agu said himself in his sermon on Sunday, ‘we are called to love all, irrespective of the person’s ethnicity, the person’s background, the person’s sexual orientation’.
“Theresa May has a strong record on LGBT+ equality, and has been clear that under her leadership, we remain committed to advancing equality for LGBT+ people at home and abroad.
“It’s not for the Government to tell people what to believe. The law is clear – discrimination on the grounds of sexuality or gender identity is unacceptable.”
Her photo op with Irukwu came despite criticism of other Conservative figures.
PinkNews reported in 2009 that then-Mayor of London Boris Johnson had visited the church despite concerns about homophobia