Jamaica bans Arizona pastor over views against homosexuality

Jamaica has officially banned an Arizona-based pastor who has openly spoken out against homosexuality after local activists launched a petition calling on the government to deny him entry.

(WIKIMEDIA COMMONS / sanderson1611 (Steven L. Anderson / Faithful Word Baptist Church))Steven L Anderson preaching at his church in April 2017. Screengrab from the 7:06 mark of [1], a CC-BY YouTube video. 30 April 2017.

Faithful Word Baptist Church pastor Steven Anderson shared that he was set to get on a plane to Kingston when he was told that he would not be allowed to enter Jamaica. A representative from the Ministry of National Security said on Jan. 29 that their chief immigration officer had decided to ban the Arizona pastor because the latter's views "are not conducive to the current climate," The Guardian relayed.

Pastor Anderson was supposed to speak at the University of the West Indies, but the latter had also rescinded the invitation for the controversial figure.

The decision to ban him from Jamaica drew praise from gay rights activists who considered the move a victory for the security of all citizens.

"This is a positive outcome in which I am very pleased," said activist Jay John, who had launched the petition to ban Anderson. "I am glad that leadership was shown in protecting LGBTQ Jamaicans, women and other minority groups which Steven Anderson has attacked over the past."

Earlier in January, Human Rights First expressed its concern over news of Anderson's church mission to Jamaica. The organization then urged U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to speak out against the pastor's anti-gay comments and to distance American values from the latter's statements.

The conservative pastor previously drew a number of controversies when he said gay men should be stoned to death as well as when he celebrated the deaths of the victims in the Orlando Pulse nightclub shooting. He has already been banned in a number of countries over his views on homosexuality.

Anderson, on the other hand, thinks Jamaica only caved in to pressure from other countries to deny him entry. He suggested that the U.S. or the U.K. could have influenced the decision.

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