Civil society organisations urge government to refuse visa for ‘hate speech’ pastor
The civil society organisations network Hate Crimes Working Group (HCWG) has called on the government to refuse alleged American ‘hate speech’ pastor Steven Anderson a visa to visit South Africa. The group said on Monday it strongly objected to the upcoming visit of the pastor‚ who is from the Faithful Word Baptist Church in Arizona. “We condemn Anderson’s antisemitic‚ homophobic‚ and hateful views‚ and call on the South African authorities to decline his visa to visit our shores where he will continue to spread deeply prejudiced vitriol‚” HCWG said in a statement. Less than a day after 49 members of the LGBTI community were gunned down in an attack on an Orlando nightclub in the US state of Florida‚ Anderson was quoted as saying: “The good news is that there’s 50 less paedophiles in this world.” “He also called for the execution of LGBTI people in 2014. Anderson has promoted Holocaust denial and other discriminatory and offensive views. His ideologies are in direct opposition to the principles set out in our country's Constitution‚ including the human rights to equality and dignity‚” HCWG said.It noted that South Africa had recently abstained from a vote at the UN Human Rights Council‚ to appoint a Special Rapporteur on LGBTI Rights‚ sending mixed messages about SA’s commitment to protecting LGBTI rights.“Denying Anderson entry into SA would go some way to reassuring the LGBTI community‚ and to reasserting zero tolerance for hate speech and bigotry.“Our country continues to grapple with issue of identity and tolerance. Allowing Anderson to conduct his activities in South Africa will only serve to perpetuate ignorance and create further division in our society‚” HCWG added.