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ELY, Cambridgeshire, England (ChurchMilitant.com) - An evangelical pastor in England is facing death threats and has been forced out of his secular job after he shared a tweet from a U.S. Catholic bishop warning against "gay pride" events.
Keith Waters, 53, pastor of New Connexions Church in Ely, Cambridgeshire, copied a tweet from Bp. Thomas Tobin of Providence, Rhode Island, reminding Christians not to "support or attend LGBTQ 'Pride Month' events held in June."
Using Tobin’s words, Waters explained that the pride displays “promote a culture and encourage activities that are contrary to Christian faith and morals” and “are especially harmful for children.”
“When I decided to put the reminder out for Christians, I logged on to Twitter and the first tweet I saw was from a Catholic bishop saying exactly what I felt needed putting out to all Christians," Waters told Church Militant. "It seemed me that it was one of those God-given moments."
“Bishop Tobin had put the message so succinctly, eloquently, relevantly, boldly and lovingly, that all that was required was for me to engage in a little ‘holy plagiarism!’” he said, adding, “I merely changed ‘Catholic’ to ‘Christian’ and applied what Bishop Tobin had said to all Christians.”
The backlash was savage and swift. LGBT activists from Ely went ballistic and stirred up local residents in an attempt to drive the pastor and his family out of the countrified cathedral town.
Gay activists told a local undertaker that Waters was dead and asked for his funeral to be arranged. Waters wife, Joanna, was shocked when the funeral director and his assistant visited her asking how she wanted to dispose of his body.
On June 2, a day after the tweet, John Elworthy, gay activist and editor of Cambs Times, Wisbech Standard and Ely Standard, attacked both Waters and Tobin, tweeting: “Your theological denouncement Keith wasn’t even one you’d thought through yourself having noticed you’d ‘borrowed’ it from @ThomasJTobin1 who hardly inspires biblical certainty.”
Your theological denouncement Keith wasn’t even one you’d thought through yourself having noticed you’d ‘borrowed’ it from @ThomasJTobin1 who hardly inspires biblical certainty. Sorry Keith you are helplessly and hopelessly wrong https://t.co/qcp55pkJT8— john elworthy (@johnelworthy) June 2, 2019
Elworthy also tried to get Waters’ church expelled from Cambridgeshire City Council hall, publicly asking: “Am I correct in stating Keith you hire your church building on a Sunday from @CambsCC? Your doctrine would appear to contradict every single assertion of @CambsCC in support of LGBT.”
After failing to bully Waters into apologizing for his beliefs, the pastor was pilloried on the front page of the Cambridge Evening News, which contrasted his disapproval of the pride parades to the Church of England Ely Cathedral’s willingness to fly a gay pride flag with the support of Stephen Conway, Anglican bishop of Ely.
Liberal Democrat politician and City of Ely Councillor Alison Whelan joined the Twitter mob calling on police to investigate Waters’ tweet as a “hate incident.” East Cambridgeshire promptly tweeted back informing where the incident could be reported.
This is not acceptable behaviour. @EastCambsCops This is a hate incident. Please get in touch immediately as I wish this investigated.— Alison Whelan �� (@alisoncwhelan) June 2, 2019
Ely has always been a hugely welcoming and inclusive community. We will not allow people like this to destroy that. @PrideEly https://t.co/6USOxadPmz
LGBT activists continued to perpetrate hoaxes against Waters, placing an advertisement in his name to sell his house and his car.
The pastor was horrified when a property firm offered to buy his house at a knockdown rate, saying they were responding to an advertisement, claiming he had to leave the area in a hurry.
A parent from the Isle of Ely Primary School, where he worked, stopped her car in front of his bicycle and “ranted” at him. False rumors were spread that Waters was a child molester.
After more harassment at home and on the streets, Waters deleted the tweet, fearing for the safety of his family and his church.
Meanwhile, Helen Davies, headteacher of the Isle of Ely Primary School, which employed the bi-vocational pastor as a caretaker, capitulated to threats from LGBT activists and parents and issued Waters a final warning for bringing the school into disrepute and "breaking" the code of conduct.
Waters felt he had no alternative but to resign from his job. He is suing the school for constructive dismissal, indirect discrimination and breach of public sector equality duty. He also believes the school has interfered with his rights to freedom of religion, expression and thought.
Andrea Williams, chief executive of the Christian Legal Centre, who is fighting on Waters’ behalf, told Church Militant, "Gay Pride parades often exhibit nudity and displays of an overtly sexual nature that no child should have to see. If a Christian pastor can no longer say this publicly without receiving death threats, then we are living in very dangerous times."
Lamenting the lack of support from the established Church of England and other mainline denominations and the lack of courageous Christian leadership in Britain, Waters described to Church Militant how institutions like Ely Cathedral, which supported the “gay pride” parade, “held sway across town and had the power to silence dissenters.”
He said he was very encouraged by the support from his congregation, other faithful ministers and ordinary people in the street, who privately continue to offer him messages of support but in public are terrified of taking a stand.
Earlier, Bp. Tobin was also attacked by LGBT groups, including Rhode Island Pride, which tweeted: “This Bishop doesn’t represent a majority of RI Catholics who overwhelmingly supported marriage equality 6 years ago. Love is love. You sir, are filled with hate.”
This is pure ignorance & bigotry. Ignore this hate-filled hypocrite. His mind set leads only to suffering. He brings to mind those priests who molested my brothers. Of COURSE we should embrace our LGBTQ brothers and sisters and children. Jesus spoke of love ❤️— Mia Farrow (@MiaFarrow) June 2, 2019
Actresses Patricia Arquette and Mia Farrow also tweeted abuse-filled messages against Bp. Tobin, calling it “pure ignorance and bigotry.”
Church Militant contacted Bp. Tobin for comment but received no response as of press time.