A controversial pastor from the United States has been barred from visiting Ireland due to the strong hate-filled language he uses in his sermons, BBC News reports. Arizona Pastor Steven Anderson said he was supposed to preach in Dublin on May 26.
However, an online petition calling for Anderson to be banned from the country received 14,000 signatures. According to BBC News, Irish Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan signed an exclusion order for Anderson which went into effect on May 10.
In a statement to BBC News, Flanagan said he had signed the order “under my executive powers in the interests of public policy.” BBC News notes that this marks the first time an exclusion has been granted under Ireland’s Immigration Act 1999. CBS News has reached out to Flanagan for comment and is awaiting response.
Anderson is considered the leader of an “anti-LGBT hate group” by the Southern Poverty Law Center. He once called for the death of President Obama, BBC News reports. He also praised the Pulse Nightclub gunman who killed 49 people in an attack in 2016.
He currently preaches at Faithful World Baptist church in Tempe, Arizona. “Don’t expect anything contemporary or liberal,” the church’s website reads. “We are an old-fashioned, independent, fundamental, King James Bible only, soul-winning Baptist church.”
In 2016, Anderson was deported from Botswana, just one week after South Africa barred him, BBC News reports. “We don’t want hate speech in this country. Let him do it in his own country,” Botswana’s President Ian Khama said at the time. After being arrested, the pastor claimed he was leaving the country voluntarily.