Anti-gay pastor Steven Anderson has been banned from visiting South Africa over his extremist homo-phobic views and sermons, which the country’s home affairs minister on Tuesday equated with hate speech.
Anderson, of the Faithful Word Baptist Church in Arizona, notoriously welcomed the gunning down in June of 50 people at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida by saying “there’s 50 less pedophiles in this world”.
South African gay and lesbian groups collected more than 60,000 signatures opposing his visit this weekend, when he was expected to preach and seek converts to his church.
However, his recent video rant sparked a petition, spear-headed by Gay SA Radio station manager, Hendrik Baird
Citing anti-discrimination laws designed to “prevent and prohibit hate speech”, Home Affairs minister Malusi Gigaba told a media briefing he was banning Anderson indefinitely.
Initially, the Home Affairs Department had said that it would be attaching “serious conditions” to him upon entry to South Africa.
“The promotion of equality binds the state and all persons to prevent and prohibit hate speech,” Gigaba said during the media briefing in Cape Town.
“Pastor Anderson will be barred from travelling to South Africa for practicing racial hatred. He is an undesirable person. Anderson is a prohibited person in South Africa and so are members of his group.”
South Africa became the first country in Africa to legalize gay marriage in 2006, but homosexuality is still widely frowned upon and same-sex unions are often decried as “un-African”. Also LGBT hate crimes run rampant. In South Africa, gangs of men, especially in poorer black townships, have raped lesbians in the belief it will “cure” their sexual orientation.
Anderson said he felt sorry for the South Africans.
“Anderson wrote on his Facebook page.
“I feel sorry for people who live in South Africa, but thank God we still have a wide open door in Botswana.” Anderson wrote on his Facebook page.
It was not clear when and if he was due to visit Botswana.