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Far-right US pastor becomes first person banned from Ireland under exclusion powers

An Arizona pastor who has said he prayed for the death of former President Obama and praised the 2016 mass shooting at Florida’s Pulse nightclub has become the first person banned from entering Ireland, according to The Irish Times.

Irish Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan signed an order under the Immigration Act 1999 forbidding the entry of Steven L. Anderson, pastor of Faithful Word Baptist Church in Tempe, ahead of a visit to Dublin that Anderson said he had scheduled for May 26. His visit’s purpose was to preach to an unspecified congregation, according to the newspaper.

It was the first exclusion order signed since the law was enacted.

{mosads}Anderson made national headlines in 2009 when he said he prayed for Obama’s death as well as after the 2016 Pulse shooting, which he said resulted in “50 fewer pedophiles,” and has repeatedly said the Bible calls for the execution of gay people.

Anderson has also produced videos promoting Holocaust denial and claiming that the Jewish Messiah is the Antichrist. He has been banned from several other countries, including the United Kingdom, Malawi, South Africa, Canada, Jamaica and all other European Union countries.

Before the order was signed, numerous Irish LGBTQ rights groups had called for Anderson to be prevented from entering the country. Over 14,000 people had signed a petition calling for Anderson’s banning as of Sunday evening.

The petition suggests Anderson’s planned visit is an attempt to lobby against the voter referendum that overturned Ireland’s abortion ban. American evangelical Christians lobbied heavily against the referendum before it passed with 66 percent of the vote in May 2018.

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