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A British Labour councillor has written to the Home Secretary urging her to deport a pastor who welcomed the cancellation of an LGBTQ+ pride event in a social media post. Councillor Stephen Hick asked for Pastor Josh Williamson, originally from Australia, to be investigated and branded him a hate preacher. He wrote: “Josh Williamson’s ministry has caused harm to members of the community of Newquay and the wider LGBTQ+ community across Cornwall. “I believe his continued presence, preaching the hate that he does, presents a continuing harm to the same communities. A foreign preacher travelling to the UK to promote such extremist views should be treated with the utmost seriousness.” Pastor Williamson, 34, of Newquay Baptist Church, has been criticised for saying the ‘Cornwall Pride’ event being cancelled was “wonderful news”.

After attending a meeting with members of the Cornwall Pride team, Pastor Williamson handed them a leaflet about what the Bible says about homosexuality. There have been threats on social media to burn down his church. Devon and Cornwall Police told the pastor to keep his views to a “safe environment”. Mr Hick also told the local newspaper that locals should deny Pastor Williamson services. “I call on every individual and business within Newquay to deny him and his church the ability to spread their odious message. Do not allow them to use your premises, do not accept their message,” he said. Michael Phillips from legal group Christian Concern, said his statement encourages people to violate the law. “The Equality Act in 2010 says you cannot discriminate against people on the basis of their faith, religion and belief,” he said.

“If you go into a hall and asked to rent it, and they say, ‘No, I’m so sorry, you can’t do that because of your belief’,  they have committed an offense, which can be brought to action in the court.” Phillips added: “What is happening here is typical of what we’re seeing generally in our culture whereby if somebody has a disagreement with another person, rather than saying, ‘I don’t agree with you, what you’re saying is nonsense’, people are now saying not only should you disagree with them on Twitter or Facebook or on the street, but also you should stop providing them services. “This is what’s being called cancel culture and it is just absolutely frightening for people that they cannot express their opinions about certain issues and beliefs without fear of being deprived of goods and services. It really in a democratic society is not the way that we should be behaving.”

Pastor Williamson responded to Mr Hicks’ letter and statement to the newspaper saying: “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.” In a statement, Mr Hick maintained he was not discriminating against Pastor Williamson for his religious beliefs. “My stand against the teachings of Mr Williamson are based solely on his persistent claims that homosexuality is a sin and that “there’s no such thing as a gay Christian”. I want to deny Mr Williamson the ability to spread this message in my community,” he said. “I am not anti-Christian in general and many of the Christian congregations in Newquay have condemned Mr Williamson’s words.”

Hicks went on “The annual Cornwall Pride parade is joined by clergy from many of the churches in Newquay and our Parish Church of England church proudly flies the rainbow flag across the Pride weekend. “A Minister of religion is free as are we all to hold any belief, but they are not entitled either morally or legally to denigrate people as sinners because of their innate characteristics. “Churches and their congregations form a large part of the wonderful, vibrant, loving community of Newquay of which I am part and proud to represent. If anyone criticises that members of that wonderful community simply for being who they are I will speak out against them. I am not discriminating against anyone for their beliefs but I am defending people against others who use those beliefs to denigrate members of this community.”

Source: Premier Christian News