Anti-gay U.S. pastor Steven Anderson and his entourage won’t be allowed to enter South Africa for the church’s “Soul-Winning Marathon” in Johannesburg Sunday, Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba announced this week.
“Steven Anderson and members/associates of his church are prohibited from entering the Republic of South Africa. I have identified Anderson and associates as undesirable persons. Undesirable persons are barred from traveling to South Africa,” said Gigaba in a Tuesday, September 13 release.
“We have a duty to prevent harm and hatred in all forms against LGBTI, as any other person in a democratic state,” he added. “We would never encourage any individual to come from their own country to promote such backward and savage views in our country, particularly under religious pretexts; because religious people should be more active in promoting tolerance.”
Anderson was in the news in June for celebrating the massacre at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida that left 49 people dead. He reportedly told congregants at his Arizona-based Faithful Word Baptist Church that there are now “50 less pedophiles in this world.”
In 2014, Anderson called for LGBT people to be executed.
The Sacramento native, who now resides in and operates his church in Tempe, Arizona didn’t respond to the Bay Area Reporter‘s request for comment.
Gigaba made his decision based on a dossier, petition, and a section of the country’s Immigration Act in its constitution.
All Out and Gay SA Radio headed up the petition campaign supported by OUT LGBT Well-being and Forum for the Empowerment of Women. Representatives of the organizations submitted a petition signed by more than 60,000 people from around the world earlier this month.
The section of the immigration law allows South African authorities to deny entry to any foreigner who is a “member of or adherent to an association or organization advocating the practice racial hatred or social violence.”
Hendrik Baird, station manager of Gay SA Radio, and Matt Beard, executive director of All Out, praised Gigaba’s decision,
“Yesterday was a shining moment in the history of this country,” Baird wrote to the B.A.R.
“Hate, disguised in whatever form, is unacceptable and name calling and insults by foreign individuals and groups with hidden agendas will not be tolerated,” said Baird, a 53-year-old gay man. “The minister’s decision … was indeed the right one.”
“We are proud of the minister for standing up for the rights of LGBTI, women and other minority groups, which are the targets of Anderson and his hate group,” he added.
Baird said Gigaba’s decision spawned an outpouring of gratitude from South African LGBTs and supporters.
“We have been flooded with emotional responses from countless South Africans from all walks of life,” he added. “People were saying they were crying when the minister announced his decision, while others have been celebrating the strong message that the minister’s decision sent to the world.”
– reported by Heather Cassell