Hope Church has announced the cancellation of Angus Buchan’s visit to Scotland following a campaign highlighting his promotion of homophobic and misogynistic views.
Pastor Michael McLeister, of Hope Church at Galashiels told KaleidoScot: “For the sake of the gospel, peace and relationships in our community Hope Church have decided not to run this Angus Buchan Event.”
The announcement comes after action by Scottish Borders LGBT Equality and Women’s groups has prevented Pastor Angus Buchan from preaching his views on public premises.
The South African pastor, who has been invited by the evangelical Hope Church to speak at the Volunteer Hall, Galashiels, Scotland, later this month, has caused an outcry among LGBTI rights advocates.
Buchan preaches to tens of thousands paying participants in South Africa where he says that homosexuality is a “disease” that can be “cured” by prayer.
The Pastor also runs “Mighty Men” conferences where he teaches men to “remedy” their masculinity, and for women to subject themselves to their husbands and to support corporal punishment of their children.
Representatives from the Scottish Borders LGBT Equality organisation, Scottish Borders Rape Crisis, Borders Women’s Aid and the Equality Network met with Hope Church earlier this week to discuss the the visit by Pastor Angus Buchan.
It was explained to Pastor Michael McLeister that while all parties would defend the right of freedom of speech of Buchan it was not acceptable that his views would be aired using public premises which would offend many in the Scottish Borders.
Hope Church has yesterday responded that they have cancelled the event out of respect to the communities in the Scottish Borders and in the interest of the peaceful nature of the gospel.
McLeister further told Susan Hart, the chair of Scottish Borders LGBT Equality, that he would like further meetings to work on LGBTI issues and build their communities.
Speaking with KaleidoScot, Susan Hart said: “Scottish Borders LGBT Equality, Scottish Borders Rape Crisis Centre and Border Women’s Aid would like to thank the members of Hope Church for meeting with us and listening carefully to our views.
“We appreciate that they have considered the issues and have taken what we know was a very difficult decision for them to make but which nonetheless acknowledges the importance of reflecting the values of our community here in the Scottish Borders.
“We believe in education and a united message from all the organisations involved that there is no place for discrimination and/or hate towards LGBT people, women and children within the Scottish Borders.
We feel that this experience has strengthened relationships within the community and we look forward to working with Hope Church and the other organisations to build on this in the future.”
Borders Women’s Aid also expressed their gratitude to Hope Church on behalf of the many women in the region currently living with oppressive and abusive partners. The organization stated: “These women will now not have to hear a message which says that it is OK for men to act in an abusive way towards them.”
Scottish Borders Rape Crisis also reiterated their thanks to the Church and said: “The language used by Mr Buchan suggests a message about the dominant role of men in their relationships with women; this is at odds with the culture of a modern Scotland. Giving a platform to Mr Buchan risks endorsing that message. Such language can be dangerous as it is often used by perpetrators of the abuse experienced by the women”.
Scott Cuthberston, of the Equality Network, told KaleidoScot: “We welcome the decision of Hope Church not to proceed with the invitation of Angus Buchan to speak in Scotland. When we met with them, with Borders LGBT Equality; Borders Women’s Aid and Borders Rape Crisis, they spoke positively about the inclusion of LGBTI people and women in their church and the hope for good relationships in the borders. I hope the decision by Hope Church sends a positive message about the importance of respecting LGBTI people of faith, one that will be heard by people in other parts of the UK and Ireland who are considering inviting Angus Buchan to speak.”
Speaking with KaleidoScot, renowned Human Rights campaigner Peter Tatchell said: “Huge congratulations to Scottish Borders LGBT Equality, Scottish Borders Rape Crisis and Border Women’s Aid for spearheading this successful outcome. Their efforts prove that activism gets results.
“Thanks to Hope Church for listening to the concerns of the LGBT community. We are grateful to them. Prejudice and discrimination are not Christian values. I hope that English and Irish campaigners will follow Scotland’s positive lead and ensure that Angus Buchan is not given a platform to spread his homophobic and sexist intolerance.”
Melanie Nathan, Executive Director of The African Human Rights Coalition also expressed her thanks to Hope Church, telling KaleidoScot: “It is my hope that the venues in England will follow the loving example set by Hope Church and turn what could be an awful negative into positive action. Instead of allowing the unfettered hurt and harm that a visitor like Buchan will cause, activists in England will urge community leaders to seize this opportunity to refuse him a platform of hate speech and to rather invoke community dialogue.
“Buchan should be seen as a self serving quack, rather than one who has any real investment in the betterment of the communities he impacts.”
Meanwhile, Patrick O’Neill, mayor of Kilkenny, Ireland, has said he will sign a petition against the visit of controversial pastor Angus on Wednesday.
The petition was started by local LGBTI groups in Ireland and received support of Green party councillor Malcolm Noonan.
Pastor Angus Buchan is still due to speak at five other locations in England, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
He is also running the infamous Mighty Men Conference, at the end of August, at Pateley Bridge, North Yorkshire.
In a statement on his blog posted today, Buchan replied: “Effectively, the gay rights movement have banned me from preaching the Gospel in their town called Galashiels situated on the Scottish Borders. The Sanhedrin (governing body), have put such huge pressure on the young pastor who invited me, that he has been forced to cancel the proposed Gospel event.
“This action has now spread across the Irish Sea to the beautiful “Emerald Isle” and there is a tremendous uproar taking place as I write this letter to get me banned from preaching the Gospel there as well.
“I am accused of being a homophobe, and many other unsavory things, but all I am doing, and still intend to do in Great Britain, is to preach the undiluted Word of God, “The Bible” in its entirety, not compromising one word. It is because I love people and do not want them to perish and go to a lost eternity.
“John 17:17, states very clearly, “Sanctify them by your truth. Your word is truth”. That is all I have ever done in the past, and that is all I will ever do!
“I love homosexuals, and I love lesbians, but I cannot condone their way of living, their lifestyle, because it is contrary to the teaching of God’s Holy Word!”