Home secretary Priti Patel urged to deport ‘homophobic’ preacher who prayed for God to cancel Pride
Home secretary Priti Patel has been called to deport an “extremist” Australian preacher in Cornwall who told his congregation there is “no such thing as a gay Christian”.
Last month Pastor Josh Williamson of Newquay Baptist Church shocked the Cornish LGBT+ community with a “homophobic” Facebook post in which he declared the cancellation of this year’s Cornwall Pride as “Wonderful news”.
“Hallelujah!” he wrote. “We prayed at our prayer meeting on Tuesday night that this event would be cancelled. We also prayed that the Lord would save the organisers. One prayer answered, now we wait for the second prayer to be answered.”
The 34-year-old preacher also shared an anti-gay pamphlet with members of Cornwall Pride, telling them that homosexuality is “a choice” and “Jesus says that our outward sin comes from our inward evil desire.”
Williamson was warned by police to keep his views in a “safe environment”, but Newquay town councillor Stephen Hick is calling on the home secretary to go a step further and deport him from the UK.
“I write to you today and ask that you investigate and consider removing a foreign hate preacher from the United Kingdom,” Hick wrote in a letter seen by Cornwall Live.
“I understand that you have the power to do this if you believe their presence in the United Kingdom is ‘not conducive to the public good’, I believe you should pay careful consideration to the misconduct of this preacher in the UK and whether he meets the criteria for removal.
“Josh Williamson appears to have a hatred of the LGBTQ+ community that he preaches online, verbally, in print – in fact any opportunity he gets.”
Hick reminded Priti Patel that ministers “are not exempt from the standards of behaviour expected of everyone in the UK,” and considers Williamson’s behaviour in light of the influential position he has in the community.
His ministry has already caused harm to the wider LGBT+ community across Cornwall, Hick said, and the man “presents a continuing harm” if he is allowed to stay.
“A foreign preacher travelling to the UK to promote and potentially act upon extremist views should be treated with the utmost seriousness – using an established institution to promote such views is of course one of the PREVENT criteria,” he concluded.
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Pastor Williamson responded to Hick’s letter by bizarrely claiming that it is actually the councillor who is guilty of hate speech.
“Is it tolerant to call for a Pastor to be removed from the country and to have his visa revoked?” he asked.
“We will not bow to his anti-Christian hatred and his racism. He can bully all he wants, but bullies should not be surrendered to. By God’s grace we will keep proclaiming Christ even though this man engages in hate speech.”
Williamson has previously defended his anti-gay comments, saying that it would be “unloving” of him to remain silent about what he sees as “sexual sin”.
“We therefore, must proclaim the truth that homosexuality is a sin, but that God loves sinners and Jesus can forgive all our sins,” he said.