Opponents of a controversial preacher who is reported to have said that homosexuality is a condition that can be “cured” by prayer plan to protest outside an event at which he is due to speak tonight.
South African evangelist, Angus Buchan, is to address a gathering at The Hub in Kilkenny City but an online petition opposing his appearance has already attracted up to 800 supporters.
A similar event due to be held in Scotland was cancelled following protests by local LGBT movements, as well as the Borders Rape Crisis Centre. As well as prayer meetings, Mr Buchan also organises “mighty men” conferences and in the past has called on men to “remedy” their masculinity, dominate their wives and administer corporal punishment to their children.
Among the comments made by Angus Buchan in the past which have generated criticism are those from a 2008 press conference in which he said: “I cannot ever agree that homosexuality is right, I cannot bless it… I love them though, but they need help. We have prayed for them and God has changed their hearts.”
He also said around that time: “I don‘t shy away from controversy. Homosexuality is against the word of God. I‘m not doing this for money. I‘m doing this because God told me to.”
In a 2013 newsletter on his website, Mr Buchan said: “There is such decay taking place through the media at the moment and it is concerning. Issues such as the sovereignty of the marriage, people are treating decisions like divorce very lightly, the taking of human life (in particular abortion), homosexuality, pornography, lack of respect from children towards their parents, the lack of example in the home in leadership from parents towards their children, the lack of mentorship and role leaders in the household … and it is growing worse continually.”
Mayor of Kilkenny city and county, Cllr Patrick O’Neill, has said he will sign the petition opposing tonight’s event, as has Renua election candidate Cllr Patrick McKee.
The petition was established by Enya Kennedy, originally from Belfast but living in Kilkenny for 11 years. She was a founder of the former Gay Kilkenny group and one of the leaders of the “yes” campaign in the area in last year’s marriage equality referendum. “I went back to the place where, as a 12-year-old, I was standing on the banks of the River Bann, thinking about jumping in… I thought if it could prevent one person from doing that, then he can’t come here.” Ireland has “by and large moved on from that” time, she said.
The Kilkenny event has been organised by the Together for Ireland group.
The Hub CEO Michael Lynch, said they are just the venue, not the organisers: “We’re not making any comment whatsoever on the event.” He was aware there is likely to be a protest: “If they want to protest, they can protest.”
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