A Christian pastor has received a death threat after suggesting that certain “gay pride” events can be “harmful for children.”
Posting a message taken largely from a tweet by Rhode Island bishop, Thomas Tobin, UK-based pastor Keith Waters suggested that Christians should not be supportive of events that are held in honour of LGBTQ “Pride month.”
“A reminder that Christians should not support or attend LGBTQ “Pride month” events held in June,” Waters noted. “They promote a culture and encourage activities that are contrary to Christian faith and morals. They are especially harmful to children.”
Almost immediately, Waters, who is from the Cathedral city of Ely, Cambridgeshire, was met with a deluge of threatening replies on Twitter. But as the unpleasant backlash gained momentum online, the threats soon spilled out beyond the digital sphere.
According to a press release from British advocacy group Christian Concern, Waters “experienced a string of threats including his wife having to answer the door to funeral directors who had been sent to arrange his ‘funeral’.” It didn’t stop there, however. Soon, Waters was being called up by local estate agents who had been informed that he was moving away from the area “in a hurry.”
Another incident saw the pastor “knocked off his bike by an angry local resident in a car who wanted to remonstrate with him.”
If that wasn’t bad enough, the LGBT advocates out to ruin him started spreading rumours that Waters “was a child molester” and there were even “calls from local councillors for him to be investigated by police for a ‘hate incident.’”
It also affected his profession. In 2017, Waters took a 60% pay cut after resigning from his role as an Estates Manager at one of Cambridge University’s most prominent colleges to become a caretaker at a local elementary school. He did so in order to facilitate his part-time ministry position at Ely’s New Connexions church.
However, despite being recognised as an outstanding member of staff at the school, Waters was reprimanded by the principal for his tweet and “issued with a final warning for allegedly bringing the school into disrepute and breaking the code of conduct.”
As a result of this disciplinary action, he felt he had no other option but to resign, as carrying on in the role would mean he might be expected to go against his deeply held religious beliefs in the future.
Now, with the support of Christian Concern’s legal advocacy arm, the “Christian Legal Centre,” Waters is suing his employer for “constructive dismissal.”
“Anyone who believes in freedom of religion and expression should be very concerned about my story,” he said. “This was an attack, not just against my Christian beliefs, but against anyone who dares to question these matters in public. The biggest concern should be that a story like mine is becoming normal.”
Waters insisted that his tweet “did not discriminate against anyone” and that “it was directed to Christians and it did not criticise individuals or the LGBT community, only Pride events.”
The pastor also appeared to stand by his initial warning against the overtly sexual nature of many pride gatherings, noting that “children should never be exposed to nudity or overt sexuality, whether that’s at Gay Pride or anywhere else.”
“I am determined to fight for the freedom to say that, and believe that no one should lose or be forced out of their job for holding and expressing legitimate views,” he added.
Andrea Williams, Chief Executive of the Christian Legal Centre, warned that Waters’ case was indicative of “a growing intolerant and threatening trend towards, not just Christians, but anyone across the country who dares to oppose Pride.
“Pastor Keith Waters is right to say that Christians should not attend gay Pride events as they are harmful to children,” she added. “They often exhibit nudity and displays of an overtly sexual nature that no child should have to see. If a Christian pastor can no longer say this publicly without receiving death threats, then we are living in very dangerous times.” She concluded.