British Prime Minister Theresa May drew criticism from LGBTQ activists for staging a high-profile electoral visit Sunday to a north London church notorious for its homophobic views.
The Brent Cross-based Jesus House has often waded into the debate against marriage equality and LGBTQ equality, and is led by Pastor Agu Irawku, who once complained in a letter to The Telegraph that “The [Sexual Orientation] Regulations force Christians in churches, businesses, charities and informal associations to accept and even promote the idea that homosexuality is equal to heterosexuality.”
An op-ed published in The Independent Tuesday states:
Jesus House is, at its core, a fundamentalist institution, and promotes what many would consider to be extreme views on subjects such as sexuality and abortion.
. . . Troublingly, the website for Jesus House on at least one occasion draws an equivalence between homosexuality and beastiality (sic). Anyone filling out the “Men’s Ministry Survey” is asked the following question: “Have you ever experimented with homosexuality or any other alternative sexuality (bisexual, transgender, beastiality [sic])?”
It has in the past been alleged that the church has been involved also with the exorcisms of gay people, although this claim was hotly refuted at the time by the Evangelical Alliance. In the context of the various other pieces of evidence, though, it doesn’t seem a particularly radical notion.
What is so deeply wrong, in this case, is the fact that Theresa May and by association the Conservative Party, are deliberately aligning themselves with and thus actively promoting an organization that promotes hatred, homophobia and misogyny born of religious fundamentalism and masquerading as religious freedom. We should not underestimate the insidious nature of fundamentalist religion, and when our politicians fail to challenge it, we in turn must challenge our politicians.
May has herself been no friend to the LGBTQ community, as The Canary points out:
The Conservative leader has a poor history when it comes to LGBTQ+ rights. She has voted against equality legislation and adoption by same-sex couples. Her approach to LGBTQ+ equality in the UK has softened since 2010. But the treatment of LGBTQ+ immigrants and asylum seekers grew notably worse on her watch.
May could have visited any number of religious houses in the UK to extend her hand to faith communities. But her visit to this particular church suggests she is sending signals to hardline evangelicals in the UK, at the cost of the LGBTQ+ community. And the Conservative manifesto doesn’t mention the LGBTQ+ community once.
The United Kingdom will hold a general election on June 8.