Anglican Archbishop Emeritus Njongonkulu Ndungane has called on the South African government to deny entry to the country to controversial American pastor Steven Anderson, who has an openly anti-gay stance.
He made the call on Thursday evening after Anderson labelled the Minister of Home Affairs, Malusi Gigaba, a “sodomite” in a video broadcast. Anderson, of the Faithful Word Baptist Church in the United States of America, is outspoken in his anti-gay views and achieved notoriety when he welcomed the tragic Dallas gay night-club shooting earlier this year as having “rid the world of 50 sodomites”.
“Our Constitution, of which we are all immensely proud, makes it quite clear that there will be no discrimination against people of a different sexuality. Neither does it allow hate speech in South Africa. How, then can we allow such an openly homophobic and anti-gay person the right to speak on public platforms in our country?” Ndungane said.
He added that he failed to see the logic of refusing entry to a human rights activist such as the Dali Lama, as the government had done previously, and yet allowing someone such as Anderson entry, albeit with conditions.
“South Africa is a society facing many challenges, including that of poverty. We don’t need to have a man such as Pastor Anderson stirring up conflict and division through hate speech. I therefore call on Minister Gigaba to deny him entry to the country.
“I also call on Pastor Anderson to immediately apologise to Minister Gigaba for having insulted him on his video. He would do well to learn from the African concept of ubuntu, in which we respect others even if we differ from them.”
Anderson’s entry to South Africa has been vehemently opposed by human rights organisations and gay rights groups, which met with the pastor earlier this week to discuss their grievances.
Ndungane has been actively outspoken in moves to get the Church to be more accepting of gay people.