After an outpouring from its gay and lesbian community, South Africa has reportedly banned a U.S. pastor from entering the country ahead of his scheduled visit this weekend, according to Reuters.
Steven Anderson, head of the Arizona-based Faithful Word Baptist Church, gained notoriety for saying “there’s 50 less pedophiles in this world” following the Orlando, Florida, shooting that resulted in 50 deaths in June. He’s also said that homosexuality should be punishable by death.
Citing extreme violence toward the gay and transgender community over the last year, South Africa’s Home Affairs minister Malusi Gigaba told reporters of the ban Tuesday. He said roughly 450,000 South Africans had attacked women who dress like men and 24,000 had done the same to men who dress like women.
"I have identified Steven Anderson as an undesirable person to travel to South Africa," Gigaba said.
According to BBC, Anderson was invited to visit by a church located in Johannesburg, the country’s third-largest city, but an outcry from gay and lesbian groups, as well as two petitions garnering 60,000 signatures, stunted Anderson’s attempt to obtain a travel visa.
"I have been banned from South Africa and the United Kingdom," Anderson said on his Facebook page. "I feel sorry for people who live in South Africa, but thank God we still have a wide open door in Botswana."
In June, one day after Omar Mateen shot and killed 50 patrons at Pulse nightclub, Anderson was one of many pastors around the U.S. to praise the gunman.
"The bad news is that a lot of the homos in the bar are still alive, so they're going to continue to molest children and recruit children into their filthy homosexual lifestyle," Anderson said in a video uploaded to YouTube which was later taken down under the site’s rules against “hate speech.”
“I’m not sad about it, I’m not gonna cry about it because these 50 people in the gay bar that got shot up were going to die of AIDS and syphilis and whatever else,” he continued. “At least these dangerous, filthy predators are off the streets. I’m just trying to look on the bright side.”