The pastor who made homophobic comments about the Orlando shooting just got deported from Botswana

Image: Reuters/Kham
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Botswana has decided to deport the American pastor who became notorious over his homophobic comments after the Orlando nightclub shooting. Pastor Steven Anderson was spouting his anti-gay message on a Botswana radio station when immigration officers entered the studios and escorted him out on Sept. 20, according to the radio station’s news report. The Botswana government announced via Twitter that Anderson was now considered a “prohibited immigrant.”

Anderson was banned from entering South Africa last week after the country’s government decided that his sermons amounted to hate speech. South Africa’s LGBTQI community began lobbying the government soon after Anderson’s comments over the Orlando nightclub shooting made headlines. Botswana’s LGBTQI community also lobbied their government, but failed to stop Anderson from entering the country last week.

“I feel sorry for people who live in South Africa, but thank God we still have a wide open door in Botswana,” Anderson said after hearing about his ban from South Africa.

Anderson was allowed to preach in Botswana and open a local branch of his church, even after a scuffle with protestors, the preacher said in a YouTube post. But his comments on Botswana’s radio station GabzFM proved too much. Anderson said that Botswana’s citizens clearly struggled with alcoholism and “drunkenness,” and that religious leaders were “toothless” who allowed women to preach and relied on translated Bibles that were “corrupted pieces of junk” when compared to the King James version. He again repeated his views that gay people should be killed. As the breakfast show wrapped, agents were waiting for Anderson to escort him away.

Rights group LEGABIBO, Lesbians, Gays & Bisexuals of Botswana, said they were “elated” by Anderson’s deportation. Botswana’s laws still reflect a British colonial penal code that outlaws homosexuality, but the law is not enacted. Gay rights groups in the country are still fighting for greater recognition though. In 2014, LEGABIBO won a court case compelling Botswana’s government to formally register the rights group. Earlier this year, the Supreme Court dismissed the government’s appeal against the decision.