No room at the inn for hate preacher Steven L Anderson
A South African hotel has cancelled a booking made by the US hate preacher who recently praised the slaughter of 49 people at the Pulse gay nightclub in Orlando.
After the shocking massacre, Anderson said:
The good news is that there’s 50 less paedophiles in this world, because, you know, these homosexuals are a bunch of disgusting perverts and paedophiles.
According to MambaOnline, the booking at The Premier Hotel OR Tambo was cancelled after the hotel learned that Anderson is set to make a missionary visit to the country in September.
Anderson intended to hold a church service at the hotel. The company said in a statement:
This decision was taken when it was brought to our attention that some of the contents of his sermons contradict the Bill of Rights contained within the South African constitution. This particularly relates to clause 9.3 which states that ‘No person may unfairly discriminate directly or indirectly against anyone on one or more grounds, including…sexual orientation…’
As a South African company, we support the democratic values of human dignity, equality and freedom laid out in this cornerstone of our country’s democracy. We reserve the right of admission to any of our properties and will be exercising this right in this instance.
Anderson also planned to have a breakfast and fellowship at the Spur restaurant in the Festival Mall and lunch at the Wimpy at the same mall:
To prepare for another round of soul-winning.
Wimpy, a fast food outlet. said this week that while it won’t stop Anderson from coming into the branch:
It will not permit any preaching or religious gathering in a Wimpy restaurant.
On Tuesday, Spur said in a statement that:
The Spur Group are reserving our right to prohibit this person entering any Spur restaurants as his views are contrary to the non-discriminatory and openly tolerant stance of our brand.
Festival Mall, however, has used the Constitution to defend the right of Anderson to enter its premises.
The company said in a statement:
Festival Mall adheres to the requirements of section 15 of the Constitution which states ‘Everyone has the right to freedom of conscience, religion, thought, belief and opinion’.
It said, however, that it will:
Not tolerate religious or political movements canvassing people or preaching at the mall.
Mr Anderson will be treated fairly like any other patron who will be paying for meals provided. He will not be allowed to conduct fellowship session or win souls, as the two tenants [Wimpy and Spur] are restaurants and not places of fellowship and/or worship.
In conclusion Festival Mall is not at liberty to contravene section 21 of the Constitution of the RSA which makes a provision for the right of freedom of movement to all humans.
A petition launched by Hendrik Baird, station manager at GaySA Radio, calling for the Department of International Relations and Cooperation to refuse to grant Anderson a visa is gaining momentum with almost 2,600 signatories.
Baird is quoted here as saying:
I think there are already high levels of homophobia in South Africa and in the wake of Orlando we don’t want anyone to stoke more hate that could lead to violence against LGBTI people.
Baird said that while some may believe that Anderson is entitled to freedom of speech:
There is a difference between hate speech and free speech and if someone is known to call for the death of LGBTI people I don’t think he should be welcome in a country that constitutionally protects LGBTI people.
Baird noted that visits and campaigns by Christian evangelists from the US have been blamed for the spike in homophobia and the enactment of anti-gay legislation in Uganda and fears the same could happen here.
They swayed certain influential decision makers to try to impose the death penalty, and we don’t want someone here to be working to take away our rights under the guise of Christianity.
Baird’s bid to block Anderson’s visit is not unprecedented; countries such as the UK and Australia have been known to deny visas to gay hate preachers.
MambaOnline says it believes that Anderson is entitled to his views but:
He is not entitled to publicly call for the murder of a group of people who already face a daily threat of violence.
We further feel that he should not be allowed to promote his deadly brand of hate in South Africa, and any local organisation, company or government department that facilitates him in this endeavour will be complicit in promoting violence against the LGBT community.
You can sign Baird’s petition here.