The Church of Ireland said that the visit of a controversial evangelist to a congregation in Wexford was not timed to coincide with the first anniversary of the marriage equality referendum.
Argentinean speaker Ed Silvoso, who has described the marriage of gay couples as “blatant immorality”, was due to speak at the Redcross Church north of Arklow on Sunday, a year to the day since the marriage equality referendum was held.
The Church of Ireland has said that the invitation to Dr Silvoso has been rescinded, but would not say when asked if Canon Roland Heaney, Rector at Redcross Church, had been aware of Mr Silvoso’s pronouncements on homosexuality when he asked him to speak.
The spokeswoman said Dr Silvoso was expected to speak “about churches getting involved in their communities” before his invitation was withdrawn.
She also said that the Church did not time the invitation with the first anniversary of the marriage equality referendum in mind.
“Redcross Church is not aware of the timing of Dr Silvoso’s visit,” she said. “It is understood that he is visiting Ireland to attend a conference which is not connected with Redcross Church, the organiser of which contacted the rector to say Dr Silvoso was free on Sunday morning if the rector would like him to preach.”
Dr Silvoso’s appearance at Redcross Church was cancelled after West Cork-based activist Fiona O’Leary contacted the Church of Ireland to raise the issue of his controversial stance on homosexuality.
Dr Silvoso has written on the subject in a number of his books.
In Transformation: Change The Marketplace and You Change the World, Dr Silvoso urges politcians to embrace “Judeo-Christian values and ethics, instead of the existing drift towards amorality and the emerging push toward blatant immorality, as evidenced by the recent legalisation of homosexual marriage”.
Footage on YouTube, purportedly recorded in Singapore in 2008, shows Dr Silvoso deliver a speech about ‘Joey’, a taxi driver who followed Dr Silvoso’s teachings and later baptised a gay man.
“When the new believer came up from the water, the power of God hit him, delivered him of all the demons, rewired him correctly; he felt like a man,” claimed Dr Silvoso.
Dr Silvoso later describes the man as “the ex-gay”.
In another book, Dr Silvoso described homosexuality as “a challenge in the natural”.
“Abortion, homosexuality, violence and bigotry are spiritual problems within a human shell,” he wrote.
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