A councillor in Cornwall is calling for the deportation of an Australian pastor who welcomed the cancellation of the local Pride event.
Stephen Hick, Newquay Town Councillor and Cornwall Pride leader, said in a letter to Home Secretary Priti Patel that Pastor Josh Williamson was a hate preacher and should be deported back to his native Australia.
Pastor Williamson, of Newquay Baptist Church, angered the LGBT community when he wrote on Facebook that the cancellation of this year’s Pride event was “wonderful news”.
When another Facebook user asked why the news was wonderful, Pastor Williamson responded, “Because I don’t think sin should be celebrated.”
The 34-year-old then wrote a longer response on his personal Facebook page, where he wrote: “Hallelujah!! 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.”
In the ensuing backlash, LGBT activists threatened violence against Pastor Williamson and his wife and called for the church to be burnt down.
When Cornwall police spoke to Pastor Williamson, they warned him to restrict his views to a “safe environment” and refrain from offending the LGBT community in the future, according to Christian Concern which is assisting him.
In his letter to Patel, Cllr Hick 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 continuing harm to the same communities.
“I am unaware of the previous ministry of this particular church, but a foreign preacher travelling to the UK to promote and potentially act upon extremist views should be treated with the utmost seriousness.”
Cllr Hick has also called on businesses in the Newquay area to refuse services to Pastor Williamson and the church.
Writing in the Newquay Voice, Cllr Hick said: “I call on every individual and business within Newquay to deny him and his church the ability to spread their odious message. Do not interact with them, do not allow them to use your premises, do not accept their message,”.
Responding to the call, Pastor Williamson said Cllr Hick’s comments were “textbook bullying”.
“I am not sure how Mr Hick is going to identify those connected with our church, perhaps he’ll want us to wear a yellow cross on our shirts?” he said.
The pastor said he and the members of his congregation will not remain silent.
“My family and I, and our church community, have been very concerned by the level of anti-Christian abuse and threats of violence that we have been targeted with over the past few weeks,” Williamson said in a statement. “The police have not formally spoken to me about any hate crime or sought a witness statement to look at the various online comments which have included threats to burn down our church.”
welcome all people to our services. The Bible, however, proclaims a message of repentance which calls on all people to turn from their sin and to trust in Christ. It would be unloving for us to remain silent about what God’s Word says in relation to human sin, including all forms of 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.”
“Newquay Baptist Church is made up of sinners who have been forgiven by a wonderful Saviour; since this is the case, we would invite all people, including the LGBT community, to come to our services. Our desire is that all would come to know and love Jesus,” the statement concluded.
Andrea Williams, chief executive of the Christian Legal Centre which is representing Pastor Williamson, said such threats against Christians who speak out against the LGBT community are becoming all too common in the UK, CBN News reported.
“It’s becoming worryingly common in the UK to see threats and calls for violence against Christians for voicing their simple opposition to LGBT Pride. Police forces should show Christians they take this seriously by protecting their free speech against mob threats rather than by seeking to keep Christians quiet,” Williams said.
“Christians are called to repay evil with good – I have no doubt that Pastor Williamson will continue to share the reality of sin and the good news of Jesus Christ with the people of Newquay,” she added.