A councillor in Cornwall is calling for the deportation of an Australian pastor who welcomed the cancellation of the local Pride event.
Stephen Hick, Newquay Town Councillor and Cornwall Pride leader, said in a letter to Home Secretary Priti Patel that Pastor Josh Williamson was a hate preacher and should be deported back to his native Australia.
Pastor Williamson, of Newquay Baptist Church, angered the LGBT community when he wrote on Facebook that the cancellation of this year’s Pride event was “wonderful news”.
When another Facebook user asked why the news was wonderful, Pastor Williamson responded, “Because I don’t think sin should be celebrated.”
The 34-year-old then wrote a longer response on his personal Facebook page, where he wrote: “Hallelujah!! We prayed at our prayer meeting on Tuesday night that this event would be cancelled. We also prayed that the Lord would save the organisers. One prayer answered, now we wait for the second prayer to be answered.”
In the ensuing backlash, LGBT activists threatened violence against Pastor Williamson and his wife, and called for the church to be burnt down.
When Cornwall police spoke to Pastor Williamson, they warned him to restrict his views to a “safe environment” and refrain from offending the LGBT community in the future, according to Christian Concern which is assisting him.
In his letter to Patel, Cllr Hick wrote: “Josh Williamson’s ministry has caused harm to members of the community of Newquay and the wider LGBTQ+ community across Cornwall.
“I believe his continued presence, preaching the hate that he does, presents a continuing harm to the same communities.
“I am unaware of the previous ministry of this particular church, but a foreign preacher travelling to the UK to promote and potentially act upon extremist views should be treated with the utmost seriousness.”
Cllr Hick has also called on businesses in the Newquay area to refuse services to Pastor Williamson and the church.
Writing in the Newquay Voice, Cllr Hick said: “I call on every individual and business within Newquay to deny him and his church the ability to spread their odious message. Do not interact with them, do not allow them to use your premises, do not accept their message,” Christian Today reported.