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No work permit, no problem - American ‘hate preacher’ still coming to Ja

Published:Friday | January 26, 2018 | 12:00 AMNadine Wilson-Harris

Controversial American pastor Steven Anderson is set to visit Jamaica tomorrow despite the launch of a petition earlier this month to ban him from preaching in the country.

Anderson, who pastors the Faithful World Baptist Church in Arizona, United States, has already been banned from the United Kingdom, Canada, South Africa, and Botswana because his messages are deemed to be hate speeches.

The online petition to ban him from Jamaica was started by Jamaican gay activist Jay John, and up to last Thursday, had attracted more than 36,500 signatures on the website.

But late last week, the firebrand pastor told The Sunday Gleaner that he had not given the online petition much thought, although it was a similar petition that led to him being banned in South Africa.

"I haven't really been paying attention to it because to me, it is a joke. It's an online petition. it is not an actual petition, so I guarantee you that the vast majority of people that are signing it are not even Jamaicans," said Anderson.

"I am just going to be evangelising and spreading the gospel, and then on Friday night, we are going to be having a special event because we are going to be showing our new film on a university campus," added Anderson.

The film will be shown at the Old Library at the University of the West Indies, Mona Campus.

Among other things, Anderson is known for the controversial statements he made following the 2016 shooting of 49 people at the Pulse gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida. Following the shooting, the pastor said that "there are now 50 less paedophiles in the world".

The pastor has called for the execution of gays by stoning and does not believe women should work, read books of their choice, lead in church, or dress how they want.




The pastor's wife gave birth to their 10th child less than two weeks ago, but Anderson said that he is still committed to preaching in the island and will be accompanied by his 14-year-old son on his visit. His team comprises more than 35 persons who will be touring sections of Kingston to preach.

He said that contrary to the belief of some, he is not verbally abusive while preaching.

"I preach on all subjects of the Bible behind the pulpit in my church. I am going to preach the entire Bible, and parts of the Bible are negative, so out of a 156 sermons that I preach every year, a few of them are dealing with some very negative subjects like preaching against homosexuality or abortion or just really wicked things like adultery and murder, so obviously, I am going to be preaching hard about those things," he said.

Following the announcement of Anderson's visit, the Ministry of Labour released a statement that made it clear that a minister of religion is prohibited from evangelising in Jamaica without a work permit or a specified exemption from one.

In order to get an exemption, a minister would need to be sponsored or employed by a religious organisation that has been so designated by the Jamaican Parliament.

"That is so silly and ridiculous. You only need a work permit if you are getting paid," argued Anderson. "I am not going to be working. That is kind of like them grasping at straws," he said.