The expected visit of the Faithful Word Baptist Church controversial leader Pastor Steven Anderson to Botswana from Arizona, United States scheduled for September 25 has irked civil society Lesbian, Gays and Bisexuals of Botswana (LEGABIBO).
And it is planning to petition government through the Ministry of Labour and Foreign Affairs to reject Anderson and his assistant Garret Kirchway from entering the country.
The two are expected to launch the Faithful Word Baptist Church Ministry on September 25 and subsequently setting up the church in Gaborone.
Sunday Standard has learnt that Kirchway has a fianc├®e in Botswana and is expected to tie the knot around the same time of the launch of the church. After walking down the aisle Kirchway is expected to relocate to Botswana and will be responsible for the running of Ministry in Botswana.
LEGABIBO say a man of Anderson and his assistant’s calibres cannot be permitted into a country like Botswana.
In April 2016, Anderson praised the mass shooting of 49 people in Orlando, Florida, USA, stating that there are “50 less paedophiles in the world”.
Anderson has also attacked women asserting that women should not work, lead in church; be independent; vote; read books of their choice and dress how they want, emphasising that ‘men shouldn’t be under the tyranny of women’.
In his 2014 sermon, Anderson called for the “execution of gay people by stoning” before Christmas Day.
LEGABIBO argues that Anderson is bringing to Botswana nothing but messages of hatred and he must not be allowed to set his foot in the country.
“He approves of terrorism, the action that the government of Botswana condemned in response to the Orlando Massacre calling the action “…unprecedented terrorist attack”. Clearly the Pastor has no respect for humanity and his messages go against our democratic ideals that promotebotho, peace, respect for humanity, protection from discrimination and inhumane treatment. Pastor Anderson is a threat to these cherished ideals,” LEGABIBO argues in their petition.
The movement further says by calling for the killing of gay people, Andersons’ messages are homophobic and condone violence against fellow human beings and a group that is already marginalised.
“Pastor Anderson’s rejection of modern medicine is likely to discourage people from accessing health services. In Botswana, in particular we are already struggling with adherence to ARVs, therefore this messaging will negatively impact on the efforts already made by government and CSO to ensure provision and access to HIV treatment,” LEGABIBO argues further in their petition.
The movement called upon the Church leadership to firmly condemn “religious fanatics” who use the Bible as a weapon to kill, spread hatred and oppress women.
“We also call on the women’s movement in Botswana and abroad to assert their stance in the protection of women’s rights and their democratic right to equality, education and employment,” noted LEGABIBO in their petition.
Minister in the Ministry of Labour and Home Affairs Edwin Batshu said a petition of this kind cannot be ignored. He said his Ministry await LEGABIBO to present the petition then they will take it from there.
“Usually when we receive a petition like this one we do our own investigations to understand the root of the case presented to us. After that we do our own analysis considering the country that we live in and the kind of people we want this country to associate with. From there that is when we can take a position. As soon as the petition reaches the Ministry we will look into it,” said Batshu.