Pastor Steven L Anderson
LGBTI activists in Botswana have joined the fight to keep gay hate pastor Steven Anderson out of Africa.
Anderson is set to visit South Africa for a one day missionary excursion on 18 September after which he plans to go to Botswana for a week to set up a branch of his extremist Arizona-based Faithful Word Baptist Church.
South African activists have waged a spirited campaign against his visit, lobbying government to not allow him into the country and convincing the venues where he planned to stay, meet and preach to deny him access.
Anderson seems determined to become the latest member in a nefarious club of American evangelists who in recent years have propagated their anti-LGBTI views and lies in Africa, stirring up hatred and inspiring the enactment of repressive laws.
LGBTI groups in Botswana have now embarked on their own campaign against Anderson, with the launch of a petition that aims to stop Anderson from “coming to Botswana to preach hate”.
They have accused him of not only promoting the murder of gay people but also preaching that women are second class citizens who should be subservient to men.
The petition urges the government of Botswana to deny him entry into the country, and calls for church leader “to firmly condemn religious fanatics who use the Bible as a weapon to kill, spread hatred and oppress women”.
The groups further call on the women’s movement “to assert their stance in the protection of women’s rights and their democratic right to equality, education and employment”.
Anderson has described AIDs as “the judgement of God” and stated that executing gay people would free the world from the epidemic.
Most recently, Anderson praised the Orlando massacre as “good news” because “there’s 50 less paedophiles in this world”.
The petition points out that this makes him a de facto supporter of terrorism as the government of Botswana condemned the massacre as an “…unprecedented terrorist attack”.
The preacher also believes that women should be “home keepers and not office keepers” and should not be allowed to vote.
“These assertions erase the achievements that the women’s movement in Botswana has made over the years,” say the LGBTI groups.
“We hope that our government will see the threats that Anderson poses to the health sector, the women’s movement and the LGBTI community and takes appropriate action,” Bradley Fortuin, Communications and Documentations officer at Lesbians, Gays & Bisexuals of Botswana (LEGABIBO), told Mambaonline.
He said that even if Anderson is allowed into the country, he hopes the campaign “will create awareness to Batswana on the kind of messaging that he preaches, which goes against our beliefs and practices”.
Fortuin also revealed that the group will lobby the Department of Registrar (which falls under the Ministry of Labour and Home Affairs) to prevent the Faithful Word Baptist Church from setting up a branch in Botswana.
He said the possibility of protesting against the pastor is also not out of the question. “The LGBTI movement [in Botswana] has made tremendous strides over the recent past,” Fortuin added, and “we will do everything we can to ensure that the peace we have known is not disrupted”.
To show your support against Anderson’s hate-mongering African safari, sign the petition here.