The Change.org petition the Key Population Coalition in Botswana — which includes Lesbians, Gays and Bisexuals of Botswana, the Botswana Network on Ethics Law and HIV/AIDS, the Rainbow Identity Association, Men for Health and Gender Justice and the Pilot Matambo Center for Men’s Health — posted earlier this week notes Steven Anderson of the Faithful Word Baptist Church in Tempe, Ariz., celebrated the June massacre at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Fla. It also highlights he has previously called for the execution of gays and lesbians.
“By calling for the killing of gay people, Pastor Anderson’s messages are homophobic and condone violence against fellow human beings and a group that is already marginalized,” reads the petition.
More than 2,300 people have signed the petition that also notes Anderson has previously said that men “shouldn’t be under the tyranny of women.”
“Pastor Anderson’s messages attack and demean women,” it reads.
Anderson’s Facebook page indicates he arrived in Botswana on Thursday. Other reports indicate he was to have traveled to the country on Sept. 23.
Katlego K. Kol-Kes, a Botswanan LGBT rights advocate, told the Washington Blade on Thursday the petition has been “well received” by Labor and Home Affairs Minister Edwin Batshu and the public. The Botswanan government has not responded to repeated requests for comment, but Kol-Kes said it has indicated it “will need to do their own assessment of Anderson” before responding to the petition.
“I’m confident that they too will see that his hateful doctrine is abhorrent to Botswana’s principles,” Kol-Kes told the Blade.
The government of South Africa, which borders Botswana, announced on Tuesday that it had banned Anderson from entering the country.
Anderson had been scheduled to travel across the country with a group of 17 missionaries to “win souls.” South African Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gibaga told reporters during a press conference at the South African Parliament in Cape Town that Anderson is an “undesirable person” under the country’s Immigration Act.
Anderson’s is scheduled to arrive in Botswana a week before the country celebrates its 50th anniversary of independence from the U.K.
“As we celebrate our 50th year of independence, for the government to go against the progress we’ve made as a country by letting Anderson’s hateful doctrine in would be a grave disappointment and a major set back for us all,” said Kol-Kes. “This is an opportunity for our leaders to prove that they too believe in peace and equality for all.”