A man in the Northern Irish town of Newtownabbey has protested the building of  a new crematorium and is encouraging the town councillors to oppose the “essentially pagan practice” of cremation.

In an email sent to members of the Newtownabbey Borough Council, the local man said he is opposed on the grounds of being a “ratepayer and a Christian” and on the basis of his “Christian conviction and environmental concern.”

In his email, the man described cremation as: “A pagan practice used primarily in Eastern nations which have over the years had no knowledge of the Christian gospel.”

He supports his argument with a quote from Genesis and adds, “it is clear that God commanded His people to utterly destroy, by burning all that pertained to idolatrous worship.The burning of idols, images and that which pertained to witchcraft always indicated God’s displeasure.”

Local UUP councillor John Scott told TheJournal.ie: “I know the man pretty well and he lives his life by the Bible. He is entitled to those believes and all the different things he believes in … but we can’t take that into consideration. We can’t do it for the sake of someone’s religious beliefs.”

The council’s plan to build the crematorium in the area due to lack of space in the local graveyards has also been opposed by local residents who are concerned that it could be an environmental hazard and that local infrastructure is insufficient to cope with potential traffic going in and out of the facility.

“[People] don’t want it beside them. There isn’t that many houses up and around where it is – it is part of the rural end of Newtownabbey. What people are looking at is the crematorium that belongs to Belfast City Council which is a bit outdated,” said Scott.

He added that the new crematorium would be a modern facility and would be secluded from the road by trees and bushes.