Keith Waters, of the New Connexions Church in Ely, Cambridgeshire, says his attack on a Pride event was not discriminatory
WATERS, 53, above, claims he was victimised after retweeting a hateful anti-Pride post made in June this year by American Catholic bishop Thomas Tobin, of Rhode Island.
I regret that my comments yesterday about Pride Month have turned out to be so controversial in our community, and offensive to some, especially the gay community. That certainly was not my intention, but I understand why a good number of individuals have taken offense … the Catholic church has respect and love for members of the gay community, as do I … individuals with same-sex attraction are beloved children of God and our brothers and sisters.
Waters, on the other hand, is not in the least bit contrite, and is being portrayed as a victim by UK hate group Christian Concern because he claims he was forced to resign from his post as a caretaker at a local school.
Now, supported by the Christian Legal Centre, an arm of Christian Concern, Waters, of the New Connexions Church, is suing for constructive dismissal, indirect discrimination, and breach of public sector equality duty. He also believes that the school has interfered with his rights to freedom of religion, expression and thought.
The ‘persecuted’ Waters said:
Anyone who believes in freedom of religion and expression should be very concerned about my story. 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.
I maintain that my tweet did not discriminate against anyone. It was directed to Christians and it did not criticise individuals or the LGBT community, only Pride events. Other people have been mortified at how I have been treated but are too fearful to speak out.
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.
Andrea Minichiello Williams, Chief Executive of the Christian Legal Centre, above, said in a statement:
Our schools and churches need more community-minded people like Pastor Keith Waters, not less. For sending one tweet, that raised genuine concern for children, Keith has been threatened, harassed and hounded out of his employment.
This is not a local issue distinct to Ely, but 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. 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.
As we launch this case, we call on the Church to do more to protect courageous Christians like Keith Waters, and to speak publicly on how God’s good pattern of marriage between one man and one woman is a foundation for a healthy society. Celebrating sexual chaos and public immorality at gay Pride events is not good for anyone; it is not good for families or impressionable young children.
Christian Concern alleges that Water “received a death threat” and that he was “hounded out of his job” by a school that “capitulated to local LGBT activists’ mob rule.”
As a result of sending the tweet, Pastor Keith 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’. Estate agents contacted him, having been told he was moving from the area ‘in a hurry’, and he was nearly knocked off his bike by an angry local resident in a car who wanted to remonstrate with him.
False rumours were spread that Pastor Waters was a child molester and there were calls from local councillors for Mr Waters to be investigated by police for a ‘hate incident.’
Williams’ statement added:
Harassment followed at his home and on the streets of Ely, and, fearing for his, his family’s, and his church members safety, Pastor Waters decided to delete the tweet.
However, his caretaker role at the local primary school now came under threat as the headteacher informed him that he was being investigated for bringing the school ‘into disrepute’ after receiving a handful of complaints.
During the investigation … the school’s head teacher capitulated to the demands of a handful of LGBT activists including some parents, and Pastor Waters was issued with a final warning for allegedly bringing the school into disrepute and breaking the code of conduct.
As a result, Pastor Waters believed he could no longer combine his roles as a Christian pastor and caretaker at the school, and decided that he had no alternative but to resign.
Curiously, neither Williams’ statement nor any of the reports I’ve read about this case, mention Tobin’s apology.