Steven L. Anderson, an American preacher with extreme anti-gay and anti-Semitic views, has officially become the first person ever banned from Ireland by exclusion powers dating back from 1999.
Anderson, a Baptist pastor based in Arizona, came to public prominence in 2009 when he told his congregation he had prayed for the death of then President Barack Obama. He also praised the gunman who killed 49 people in an attack on a gay club in Florida in 2016.
According to the Irish Times, Anderson’s website stated he planned to preach to a congregation in Dublin on May 26th but did not specify the time or venue. An online petition calling for to be banned, however, has so far been signed by over 14 000 people.
This lead to the country’s Minister for Justice, Charlie Flanagan, to sign the exclusion with immediate effect under the Immigration Act 1999. His department later confirmed that it was the first time an exclusion order had been effected in the 20 years since it was enacted.
Anderson, whose church has a literal belief of the King James version of the Bible, has already been banned from most EU countries, most recently the Netherlands, and from South Africa. He has also been the subject of an exclusion order in the UK.