ELY — A pastor in England says that he was hounded out of his caretaker job at a primary school over a tweet in which he stated that Christians shouldn’t support or participate in pride events and that such festivities are inappropriate for children.
Keith Waters, 53, a pastor at New Connexions church in Ely, posted a status on June 1 similar to that written by U.S. Catholic leader Thomas Tobin, but changing out the word “Catholics” with “Christians.”
“A reminder that Christians should not support or attend LGBTQ ‘Pride Month’ events held in June. They promote a culture and encourage activities that are contrary to Christian faith and morals. They are especially harmful for children,” he wrote.
However, soon after publishing the statement, Waters received a tweet from a journalist who accused him of attacking homosexuals. The next day, a reporter arrived at his church while he was preparing for the Sunday service and attempted to pressure Waters to apologize.
The matter was then published in the Cambridge Evening News, which stirred up public animosity against the pastor.
According to Christian Concern, funeral directors arrived at Waters’ door, advising his wife that they were there to “arrange his funeral.” He was also contacted by real estate agents, who stated that they had been informed that he would be leaving the area “in a hurry.”
A false rumor was additionally spread that Waters was a child molester. City council members called for the pastor to be investigated for “hate.”
Fearing for his safety and that of his family, Waters deleted the post. Nonetheless, he was soon told by Isle of Ely Primary School —where he was employed — that he was being placed under investigation as it had received complaints.
One complainant alleged that Waters had called for “violence against people who support the Ely Pride Festival,” and a teacher contended that Waters must be disciplined as his tweet could be considered “extremist” under the law.
Being advised that he had brought the school into “disrepute,” and warned by the headteacher that he had violated the school’s code of conduct, Waters realized that he could no longer serve both as a pastor and a caretaker at the primary school. He consequently resigned and has now decided to take the matter to court.
“Anyone who believes in freedom of religion and expression should be very concerned about my story,” he said in a statement. “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 says that his comments were only directed toward Christians, and were specifically in regard to photos from pride events that exemplify that the nudity and sexuality on display therein is inappropriate for children.
“You don’t have to look very far. … Google pride events and you will come up with photographs of people who are naked, people who are engaged in sexual acts,” he said in a video recorded for Christian Concern, in which he provided examples of photos from the Manchester Pride Parade.
“Children should never be exposed to nudity or sexual acts, whether that’s at gay pride or anywhere else,” Waters stated. “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.”