In the interest of national security, an American Baptist pastor has been banned by Ireland’s government from traveling to Ireland, where he planned on giving a sermon

Pastor Steven L Anderson, a fundamentalist preacher, who has spouted anti-gay and anti-Semitic rhetoric and denies the Holocaust, has been banned from traveling to Ireland by the Irish government. This is the first time the Irish government has used the 1999 Immigration Act to protect national security.

Ireland’s Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan signed the exclusion order ahead of his planned May 26 trip to Ireland, where he planned to give a public sermon. The Arizona pastor runs the Faithful Word Baptist church.

In a statement, Minister Flanagan said, “I have signed the exclusion order under my executive powers in the interests of public policy.”

The action was taken under Ireland’s 1999 Immigration Act. The act allows the minister to bar someone from the Irish state if they consider it “necessary in the interests of national security or public policy”

Ireland's Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan.

Ireland's Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan.

Anderson’s church holds a literal belief in the King James version of the Bible. He has already been banned from other countries including the United Kingdom, Malawi, South Africa, Canada, Jamaica, and all other European Union countries.

In 2009 Anderson made national headlines when he said he prayed for the death of the then President of the United States, Barack Obama.

In 2016, after the mass-shooting at Pulse nightclub, in Florida, he said the shooting resulted in “50 fewer pedophiles” and said that the Bible calls for the execution of gay people. His church describes homosexuality as “abominations which God punishes with the death penalty”.

In 2016, Anderson was banned from Botswana. He was decreed a “prohibited immigrant” following an interview on a popular radio station when he said gay people should be killed.

The pastor has featured in videos which promote Holocaust denial and claiming that the Jewish Messiah is the Anti-Christ.

Pastor Steven L Anderson.

Pastor Steven L Anderson.

The pastor’s ban from Ireland comes after a number of online petitions garnered over 140k signatures against his visit. The Group Political Editor for the Irish Independent Group Kevin Doyle first reported on the petitions.

In the Irish Independent Doyle wrote that “the 38-year-old recently posted a video in which he said his European tour was curtailed but he stilled planned to fly directly to Dublin.”

In the video, Anderson says “So far so good on Dublin. It is still on,” he said.

“These events are still going on; the soul-winning and the preaching are still going on. It’s just yours truly who won’t be there, except I am planning to be there in Ireland.

“I am planning to fly directly to Dublin. So, unless they ban me, I’m still going to be there in Dublin,” he said.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland radio show Doyle said a recent video posted by Anderson told those interested to meet near Dublin Airport and from there they would be brought to a secret venue "so that gives you the underground element to all of this".

What to do you think? Should Anderson be banned from traveling to preach his beliefs? Let us know in the comments section below.

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H/T: Irish Times RTE