A US preacher who critics call a “Holocaust-denier, Islamophobe and anti-LGBT+ extremist” has become the first person banned from visiting Ireland under exclusion powers.
Pastor Steven L Anderson, from the Faithful Word Baptist Church in Arizona, was due to deliver a sermon in Dublin on 26 May as part of a short tour of Europe.
But a Change.org petition calling for him to be banned, launched four months ago, gathered more than 14,000 signatures.
On Monday, Ireland’s Minister for Justice and Equality, Charlie Flanagan, signed an exclusion order under the Immigration Act 1999 “in respect of Mr Steven Anderson, aka Pastor Steven L Anderson… in the interests of public policy”.
That makes him the first person to be banned from visiting the country under the exclusion powers.
LGBT Ireland tweeted Mr Flanagan, praising the move, saying: “We are very thankful for your decision today to ban Steven Anderson from Ireland.”
Visitors to Mr Anderson’s Faithful Word Baptist Church are told: “Don’t expect anything contemporary or liberal. We are an old-fashioned, independent, fundamental, King James Bible only, soul-winning Baptist church.”
A list of sermons available have titles such as “The Homo Agenda vs Reality”, “Iceland: a Nation of Bastards” and “Queer Sounding Music & Skinny Jeans”.
In an inflammatory sermon after the massacre of 49 people at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, Mr Anderson told his audience the victims “deserved to die in the shooting”.
Another sermon which was uploaded to YouTube, saw Pastor Anderson claim God had ordered in the scriptures that gay people should be killed, and that if humanity wanted to have an “AIDS-free world by Christmas” that is what should be done.
In another YouTube video, the pastor claimed he prayed for the death of then-US president Barack Obama.
The petition organiser said: “Steven Anderson is a Holocaust-denier, Islamophobe and anti-LGBT+ extremist who is scheduled to preach in Dublin, Ireland on May 26 2019, possibly in an attempt to get people to change their minds on last year’s abortion referendum.
“This petition is for the people to show that they want Pastor Steven Anderson banned from entering the Republic of Ireland.”
In September 2016, Mr Anderson was banned from South Africa, the United Kingdom, and later deported from Botswana.
He was denied entry to Canada on 10 November 2017, and banned from entering Jamaica last year. This month he was also banned from visiting the Netherlands.