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Ireland bans Tempe anti-gay preacher Steven Anderson

Posted at 9:37 AM, May 13, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-13 12:37:41-04

TEMPE, AZ — Ireland has banned a US preacher known for anti-gay and anti-Semitic views, using a 20-year-old legal power for the first time.

Steven Anderson, who runs Faithful Word Baptist Church in Tempe, Arizona, was due to preach in Dublin on May 26, according to his website.

However his scheduled appearance sparked controversy and an online petition calling for a ban gathered 14,150 signatures.

Irish Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan barred Anderson from the country using an exclusion order under the Immigration Act 1999 on May 10.

"I have signed the exclusion order under my executive powers in the interests of public policy," said Flanagan in a statement.

Anderson's Faithful Word Baptist Church is listed as an anti-gay hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, a non-profit US legal advocacy organization. He has expressed support for the 2016 shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, in which 49 people were killed.

"We believe that homosexuality is a sin and an abomination which God punishes with the death penalty," reads a statement on the church website.

"We oppose worldliness, modernism, formalism, and liberalism," it continues.

His YouTube channel also includes a series of videos denouncing Hinduism.

A vocal critic of former US President Barack Obama, Anderson's website includes a 2009 sermon named "Why I Hate Barack Obama."

Ireland is the latest in a string of countries to ban the controversial preacher, who was previously barred from visiting the UK.

In 2016, South Africa also banned Anderson, describing the preacher and his church members as "undesirable persons."