DUBLIN — The government of Ireland has barred an Arizona-based Baptist pastor accused of anti-Semitic and homophobic hate speech from entering the country, invoking for the first time a 1999 immigration act that allows such exclusion orders on grounds of national security or public policy.
Charlie Flanagan, Ireland’s minister for justice and equality, said on Sunday that he had signed the order barring the pastor, Steven L. Anderson of Faithful Word Baptist Church, “under my executive powers in the interests of public policy.” He did not issue any further comment.
Pastor Anderson’s Faithful Word Baptist Church has been labeled a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center and by the Anti-Defamation League. He first gained prominence outside his ministry, which is in a Tempe, Ariz., strip mall when he announced in 2009 that he hated President Barack Obama and prayed for his death. He has called for the United States government to exterminate all gay people and welcomed the murder of 49 people in a the mass shooting at the Pulse gay nightclub in Orlando, Fla., in 2016.
“The good news is that there’s 50 less pedophiles in this world, because, you know, these homosexuals are a bunch of disgusting perverts and pedophiles,” Pastor Anderson said in a video he posted online. “That’s who was a victim here, are a bunch of just disgusting homosexuals at a gay bar, O.K.?”
A Holocaust denier, he has claimed that the Jewish Messiah is the Antichrist, that the Talmud is blasphemous and that Jews believe that it is not a sin to cheat gentiles. His church, which he founded in 2005, rejects abortion and all forms of birth control.
Pastor Anderson announced on Twitter in March that he was planning to preach in Dublin on May 26 but gave no further details. Scott Golden, the chairman of Changing Attitude Ireland, a group that promotes inclusion for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in the Church of Ireland, said that evangelical fundamentalist Protestantism was not strong in the Republic of Ireland. But Pastor Anderson, he said, may have hoped to bring supporters there from larger evangelical communities in Northern Ireland and Britain, both part of the United Kingdom.
Pastor Anderson was banned from the United Kingdom in 2016, and has also been denied entry to or deported from Botswana, Canada, Jamaica, Malawi and South Africa.
Following the pastor’s announcement in March, Changing Attitude Ireland and other Irish lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender advocacy groups supported online petitions calling for him to be barred from the country. The Irish Department of Justice would not say if the minister’s decision had been influenced by the letters and petitions from the rights groups, which welcomed the action.
“We are very grateful to the minister,” Mr. Golden said of the Minister for Justice, Mr. Flanagan. “We are relieved that Anderson won’t have the opportunity to publicly spread his message of hate in Ireland.”
Pastor Anderson had also announced events in Amsterdam and Stockholm for later this month, but on May 1 the Dutch government arranged to have him barred from entering the Schengen free travel area, which includes 26 European countries including Sweden and the Netherlands.
In a video posted online in March, Pastor Anderson said that he was planning to meet old and new supporters to share meals, preach and “go soul hunting” for new converts on the streets.
“I know that a lot of you out there in Europe are in a bit of a spiritual wilderness,” he said.
Pastor Anderson did not immediately respond to requests for comment, and there was no mention of the travel bans on his church’s website or personal twitter account, which continued to list the dates in Dublin, Amsterdam and Stockholm.