Theresa May urged Christians to talk openly about their faith as she visited Jesus House – one of the largest black-majority Pentecostal churches in the UK – on Sunday.
The Prime Minister was interviewed by Pastor Agu Irukwu in front of thousands at the north London megachurch and was asked about black and ethnic representation in parliament, Christian persecution and marriage.
Addressing concerns about a clampdown on Christians being able to voice their beliefs, May told the congregation: ‘One of the things I think we can all do in terms of faith is to give very clear signs of our faith and be prepared to talk about it so that people can see that that freedom exists and also so there will be roles models for people to look to and to follow.’
But May faced criticism from LGBT activists for meeting Pastor Agu, who has spoken strongly against homosexuality and gay marriage.
Peter Tatchell, human rights campaigner and a staunce supporter of LGBT rights, said the prime minister had ‘recklessly colluded with homophobic Christian extremists’.
He told the I newspaper: ‘Theresa May’s deliberate, conscious decision to visit Rev Irukwu at Jesus House is a slap in the face to black LBGT people.
‘This church and pastor have a long record of opposing LGBT equality and preaching against the human rights of LGBT Africans.
‘Their teachings fuel self-hatred and mental ill-health in our black African LGBT communities. The Prime Minister has recklessly colluded with homophobic Christian extremists.’
Pastor Agu has repeatedly spoken against gay marriage, warning in a 2006 letter to the Telegraph that the Sexual Orientation Regulations were an affront to Christians.
A Conservative spokesman said: ‘As Pastor Agu said himself in his sermon on Sunday, ‘we are called to love all, irrespective of the person’s ethnicity, the person’s background, the person’s sexual orientation’.
‘Theresa May has a strong record on LGBT+ equality, and has been clear that under her leadership, we remain committed to advancing equality for LGBT+ people at home and abroad.
‘It’s not for the Government to tell people what to believe. The law is clear – discrimination on the grounds of sexuality or gender identity is unacceptable.’
Source: Christian Today / Harry Farley