Angus Buchan faces protest after Dumfries event relaunch

Protest against Angus Buchan
Protest against Angus Buchan at the Lighthouse Church

LGBTI groups and allies have staged a protest outside a Dumfries Church against an appearance of Pastor Angus Buchan who promotes homophobic and misogynistic views.

Buchan preaches to tens of thousands paying participants in South Africa where he says that homosexuality is a “disease” that can be “cured” by prayer.

The Pastor also runs “Mighty Men” conferences where he teaches men to “remedy” their masculinity, and for women to subject themselves to their husbands and to support corporal punishment of their children.

The South African pastor, who has been invited by the evangelical Hope Church to speak at the Volunteer Hall, Galashiels, Scotland last weekend, has caused an outcry among LGBTI and women’s rights advocates.

The pastor was due to speak before a crowd of over 400 people organised by Hope Church, Galashiels, but following a successful campaign by Scottish Borders LGBT Equality, it has been cancelled.

However, in defiance of public outcry and concern, Angus nevertheless managed to rebook and preach to a small crowd of around 100 at the Pentecostal Lighthouse Church of Dumfries.

According to Susan Hart, Chair of the Scottish Borders LGBT Equality Forum, around 60 people turned out for the protest, with the pastor of the Lighthouse Church trying unsuccessfully to ban the protest by calling the police.

Protesting against Angus Buchan
Protesting against Angus Buchan

“Police were called by the pastor, by the actually turned out to be quite supportive and made no attempts to ban us, just assisted with road safety.

“In fact, a member of the congregation come out with his baby son, and spoke to us who protested, saying that while he and others agreed with some of Buchan’s, they rejected homophobia and misogyny and appreciated why the protest was held.  He indicated that the congregation was a split over Buchan’s views.

“Whilst I am disappointed in that we did not manage to prevent Buchan from speaking in Scotland, I was pleased we at least prevented him from doing so at the Borders and with the protest turnout.

“It seems that many of those who attended his event were women and children and I find that very disturbing particularly with his repugnant views on LGBTI people and disciplining children, and women.

“I worry about the impact such views and being able to be open diversity and community.

“Nevertheless, the protest showed strength and unity, it’s about organisations working together demonstrating what can be achieved in combating discrimination and prejudice.”

Jerry Slater and his husband Larry
Jerry Slater and his husband Larry

Jerry Slater, of LGBT Plus Dumfries and Galloway, who also participated in the protest, told KaleidoScot: “The views that Buchan promotes cause a great deal of harm, particularly the idea of ‘cure by prayer’. For five long years in my youth I prayed to be made straight as part of a congregation of an Assemblies of God Pentecostal Church.

“The idea that ‘we love you but we cannot condone your sin,’ is also harmful. When I was a member of the Pentecostal Church, I had pressure put on me to rid myself of what I was led to believe was a sin. This caused me to suffer depression and anxiety for years. It led me to low self-esteem which denied me opportunities in my work, my friendships and my relationships. I do not want anyone to go through what I went through.

“These kind of ideas cause immense harm and lead LGBTI people of faith to terrible choices, either you repress your sexuality or gender identity and retain your links with the community which is very traumatic, or you choose the former and lose your links which causes too immense hurt.

“This is a false choice and it shouldn’t be made. You don’t choose to be born ginger and neither is it a sin, it’s natural just as being gay is.

“Everyone is entitled to their personal beliefs. Things become different when any one person, or belief system, tries to impose its beliefs on others. I think giving Angus a public platform is problematic and wrong, even in a Church, as he, and people who share his views, can cause so much harm.

Kelly Moorhead from Dumfries, also participated in the protest. Moorhead is a grieving mother that had lost her daughter Chloe a few months ago, who was driven to suicide due to being humiliated and bullied in school, after coming out.  Moorhead said she also opposed Buchan’s views.

“I don’t think he should be allowed to preach to the public as beliefs can be very harmful,” she told KaleidoScot.

Kelly Moorhead
Kelly Moorhead

“These kind of messages are so damaging, not only to children and women but anyone.  Despite what members say that they love others, this is really a message of intolerance and hate which can drive abuse and even suicide.

“I and others came to protest and say we are here to show love: pride not prejudice.  We can stand together and fight for tolerant Scotland and society, united in our belief and also honouring the dead and those who suffer from prejudice.  No to discrimination and prejudice, yes to love, unity and pride”

In a statement, the Lighthouse Church said they respect the LGBT community, but also value “freedom of speech”. It said: “We respect the views of the LGBT community and although we believe different things and we hope that both communities can live peacefully and dignifiedly In a great country that allows freedom of speech, lifestyle and worship.”

Watch a clip of the protest by Moorhead here:
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Nicola Sturgeon: Pride Glasgow important in challenging prejudice

Nicola Sturgeon
Nicola Sturgeon

Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, sent a strong message of support to participants of Pride Glasgow and of inclusive education.

In a video message posted on twitter, she said: “I want to take this opportunity to wish Pride Glasgow every success for the event this weekend. Events like Pride are so important because they allow all of us to celebrate LGBTI equality.  But also because they allow all of us to stand shoulder to shoulder with the LGBTI community and challenge discrimination and prejudice wherever it still exists.

“I am delighted that the Pride Flag will fly over Scottish government buildings to mark this event, and I wish everyone taking part, all the success in the world.

“I know the theme of this year’s event is inclusive education. And that for the Scottish government is so important, making sure that education is a place where we challenge discrimination, and allow everyone to flourish.

“And that, I think, is a fitting theme for this year’s pride event.”

Thousands are expected to participate in today’s Pride Glasgow march and events with its emphasis on inclusive education this year.

The rainbow flag is flying over Scottish Government buildings this weekend to mark events in Glasgow.

Pride events in Glasgow are held by both Pride Glasgow and Free Pride with the pride march starting at noon.

Pride Glasgow will be holding events in Glasgow Green, while Free Pride will be hosting events in Glasgow’s Art School, throughout the weekend.

Watch the speech by Nicola Sturgeon here:

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Belief Matters … Or Not? The Limits to Free Speech?

Pastor Angus Buchan
Pastor Angus Buchan

Free speech is an essential ingredient of any democratic society. For freedom of expression to mean anything, it must include the right to offend others. You have the right to attack my religious beliefs, political beliefs, lifestyle, sexuality and so on. You even have the right to use intemperate language, should you so wish. I have the same right to criticise the views and lifestyles of others. I may have found the caricatures of Mohammed in the French satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo, to have been tasteless, but I defend the right of the magazine to publish them and, like most people, was appalled at the cold blooded murder of some of its staff. Likewise, I defend the right of those who opposed the introduction of same sex marriage to express their views, distasteful as I find them.

Should there be any limits to freedom of expression? Many libertarians would answer: no. I disagree with them. In even the most democratic of societies, there have been such limits. For example, we have libel and slander laws that help prevent people from spreading lies about us.

More importantly, in Scotland we have legislation outlawing “hate crimes” committed against people on the basis of their race, religion, sexuality, transgender identity and disability. Included in activities that can be hate crimes are harassment, hate mail and inciting others to commit a crime. Similar legislation is in place elsewhere in the UK.

Recently hate preacher Anjem Choudary was imprisoned after being found guilty of inciting violence and promoting the aims of IS. One of the murderers of Fuslier Lee Rigby in 2013 was inspired by Choudary.

Another hate preacher, this time one who claims to be a Christian, is planning a tour of the UK, spreading his homophobic and misogynist views. Pastor Angus Buchan, originally a farmer in Zambia, now lives in South Africa where he set up his evangelical church Shalom Ministeries. He also runs Mighty Men conferences. Following an invite from the Hope Church in the Borders, he was due to speak at the Volunteer Hall in Galasheils. Following pressure from LGBT groups, women’s groups and Scottish Borders Rape Crisis the invitation to him has been withdrawn.

Although he claims to “love” us, he believes we are sinful. He also believes we can be “cured” by prayer. Anyone who thinks this type of “prayer” is harmless and not abusive should read Scottish Makar Jackie Kay’s memoir “Red Dust Road”. Adopted shortly after her birth, she describes the search for her birth parents. Her biological father in Nigeria had become a fundamentalist preacher and when she went to visit him, she became almost a prisoner as he prayed at her, trying to drive her homosexuality out of her. Jackie Kay has turned this into a positive by writing about it in both her prose and her poetry. But there is little doubt that sort of “prayer” is a form of emotional abuse, particularly given the high rates of self harm among young LGBT people.

It is only a short step from such “prayers” to the sort of institutional abuse that occurred in this country well into the 1960s, when we were forced into mental institutions (often as an alternative to prison) where we were given electric shocks or chemical poisons or psychoactive drugs like LSD (or a combination) in order to “cure” us. We have recently witnessed some awful homophobic crimes, including the deaths at a gay club in Florida. Do we really want pastors like Buchan to offer comfort and support to those who want rid of us?

His views on gender are, if anything, even worse. He believes men should be heads of households and that women should obey them. He argues that fathers should have the right to discipline their children as they see fit, regardless of what mothers think. Indeed, he tells women they should not contradict their fathers and husbands. Such statements serve to encourage both child abuse and domestic violence. In Scotland, most forms of corporal punishment of children have been banned since 2003. Smacking children on their heads, shaking them and using an implement such as a cane or belt are all criminal offences. Yet Buchan believes it is okay for fathers to use violence against their children.

His exhortation on women to obey men also promotes abuse. In 2014-15, there were almost 60,000 incidents of domestic abuse reported to police in Scotland. Given that far too many women suffer domestic abuse in silence for years before reporting it (and many never report it) the actual incidence of such abuse is likely to be much higher. By telling men they are heads of their households and have the right to obedience and by instructing women to obey their husbands and fathers, Buchan is advocating abuse.

It is therefore good news that Buchan has been told he cannot use a publicly owned building in Galasheils for his meeting. I also think we should congratulate Hope Church in the Borders for rescinding its invitation to Buchan. This would not have been achieved without the campaigning efforts of LGBT and women’s groups and Scottish Borders Rape Crisis.

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Thousands expected at Pride Glasgow

Pride Glasgow
Pride Glasgow

Thousands of LGBTI people, friends and allies will attend Pride Glasgow, Scotland’s largest parade and celebration.

Pride Glasgow’s this year’s theme is inclusive education asking the government to commit to teaching diversity and tackling homophobia, biphobia and transphobia in Scottish schools.

This year’s Pride Glasgow is expected to be the biggest ever with potentially over ten thousand people braving the rainy weather to attend the march and festival.

Pride Glasgow will also honour the victims of the hate crime shooting against the Pulse club in Orlando, Florida, that claimed the lives of 49 people and dozens more injured.

Equalities Secretary, Angela Constance, is due to speak at the Equality Network’s float later today, reflecting on the significant progress made tackling prejudice in Scotland over the last decade, she also highlighted future plans to review and reform the gender recognition law.

Ms Constance said: “Pride Glasgow is an opportunity to celebrate LGBTI communities and to present a unified front by standing and marching together against hate crime.

“Showing this solidarity is even more important in the wake of recent atrocities in Orlando and the persecution LGBTI people in other parts of the world face on a daily basis.

“Scotland should be proud of the progress we’ve made to tackle LGBTI inequalities but we cannot be complacent. To eradicate hate crime we all need to take responsibility for challenging any prejudice and discrimination in our society.

“We will continue to work to address any inequalities that exist by uniting against hate crime and updating our gender recognition laws.”

Director of the Equality Network Tim Hopkins said: “We are happy to welcome Angela Constance to address the Pride marchers today. Together we celebrate the progress we’ve made towards LGBTI equality in recent years, but recognise that there’s more to do before LGBTI people can feel truly equal and welcome in Scotland.

“The event today is themed around the vital importance of making our education system LGBTI-inclusive, to address prejudice and ensure that LGBTI young people know that their identity is fully respected and valued.

“We also very much welcome the Scottish Government’s commitment to bring our gender recognition law up to international best practice, and we look forward to helping the Government ensure that Scotland retains its place amongst Europe’s leaders on legal equality for LGBTI people.”

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Following campaign Hope Church cancels Angus Buchan Scotland visit

Pastor Angus Buchan
Pastor Angus Buchan

Hope Church has announced the cancellation of Angus Buchan’s visit to Scotland following a campaign highlighting his promotion of homophobic and misogynistic views.

Pastor Michael McLeister
Pastor Michael McLeister

Pastor Michael McLeister, of Hope Church at Galashiels told KaleidoScot: “For the sake of the gospel, peace and relationships in our community Hope Church have decided not to run this Angus Buchan Event.”

The announcement comes after action by Scottish Borders LGBT Equality and Women’s groups has prevented Pastor Angus Buchan from preaching his views on public premises.

The South African pastor, who has been invited by the evangelical Hope Church to speak at the Volunteer Hall, Galashiels, Scotland, later this month, has caused an outcry among LGBTI rights advocates.

Buchan preaches to tens of thousands paying participants in South Africa where he says that homosexuality is a “disease” that can be “cured” by prayer.

The Pastor also runs “Mighty Men” conferences where he teaches men to “remedy” their masculinity, and for women to subject themselves to their husbands and to support corporal punishment of their children.

Representatives from the Scottish Borders LGBT Equality organisation, Scottish Borders Rape Crisis, Borders Women’s Aid and the Equality Network met with Hope Church earlier this week to discuss the the visit by Pastor Angus Buchan.

It was explained to Pastor Michael McLeister that while all parties would defend the right of freedom of speech of Buchan it was not acceptable that his views would be aired using public premises which would offend many in the Scottish Borders.

Susan Hart, Chair, and Jen Logie, trustee of the Scottish Borders LGBT Equality
Susan Hart, Chair, and Jen Logie, trustee of the Scottish Borders LGBT Equality

Hope Church has yesterday responded that they have cancelled the event out of respect to the communities in the Scottish Borders and in the interest of the peaceful nature of the gospel.

McLeister further told Susan Hart, the chair of Scottish Borders LGBT Equality, that he would like further meetings to work on LGBTI issues and build their communities.

Speaking with KaleidoScot, Susan Hart said: “Scottish Borders LGBT Equality, Scottish Borders Rape Crisis Centre and Border Women’s Aid would like to thank the members of Hope Church for meeting with us and listening carefully to our views.

“We appreciate that they have considered the issues and have taken what we know was a very difficult decision for them to make but which nonetheless acknowledges the importance of reflecting the values of our community here in the Scottish Borders.

“We believe in education and a united message from all the organisations involved that there is no place for discrimination and/or hate towards LGBT people, women and children within the Scottish Borders.

We feel that this experience has strengthened relationships within the community and we look forward to working with Hope Church and the other organisations to build on this in the future.”

Borders Women’s Aid also expressed their gratitude to Hope Church on behalf of the many women in the region currently living with oppressive and abusive partners.  The organization stated: “These women will now not have to hear a message which says that it is OK for men to act in an abusive way towards them.”

Scottish Borders Rape Crisis also reiterated their thanks to the Church and said: “The language used by Mr Buchan suggests a message about the dominant role of men in their relationships with women; this is at odds with the culture of a modern Scotland.   Giving a platform to Mr Buchan risks endorsing that message.   Such language can be dangerous as it is often used by perpetrators of the abuse experienced by the women”.

Peter Tatchell
Peter Tatchell

Speaking with KaleidoScot, renowned Human Rights campaigner Peter Tatchell said: “Huge congratulations to Scottish Borders LGBT Equality, Scottish Borders Rape Crisis and Border Women’s Aid for spearheading this successful outcome. Their efforts prove that activism gets results.

“Thanks to Hope Church for listening to the concerns of the LGBT community. We are grateful to them. Prejudice and discrimination are not Christian values. I hope that English and Irish campaigners will follow Scotland’s positive lead and ensure that Angus Buchan is not given a platform to spread his homophobic and sexist intolerance.”

Meanwhile, Patrick O’Neill, mayor of Kilkenny, Ireland, has said he will sign a petition against the visit of controversial pastor Angus on Wednesday.

The petition was started by local LGBTI groups in Ireland and received support of Green party councillor Malcolm Noonan.

Pastor Angus Buchan is still due to speak at five other locations in England, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

He is also running the infamous Mighty Men Conference, at the end of August, at Pateley Bridge, North Yorkshire.

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Scotland urged to join LGBT youth at Pride Glasgow

LGBT Youth ScotlandFriends and allies of LGBT youth across Scotland are urged to march in Pride Glasgow in support of inclusive education.

With thousands set to take part in Pride Glasgow this Saturday, LGBT Youth Scotland, called upon Scots to participate in order to highlight this year’s theme which is education.

LGBT Youth Scotland, a leading charity that campaigns for equal rights and diversity for young LGBTI people, said that while there are many things to celebrate this weekend there are still many challenges and problems that need addressing.

LGBT people have been telling the charity that more progress is needed to ensure they can live full lives, feel safe, included and respected.

LGBT Youth Scotland’s Education Report (2012) revealed that 69% of all LGBT respondents had experienced homophobic or biphobic bullying in school, with 10% leaving school as a direct result.

Fergus McMillan
Fergus McMillan

Fergus McMillan (Chief Executive of LGBT Youth Scotland) commented: “LGBT Youth Scotland, family and friends look forward to joining our supporters and allies at Pride to celebrate successes and bring the community together to push for continued collective action and progress.”

“While it is clear from LGBT young people’s experiences that education needs to be more inclusive of LGBT identities, it is worth recognising that some progress has been made.

LGBT Youth Scotland now works with teachers and schools across the country every week that are committed to improving education for LGBT young people.”

“This week alone, LGBT Youth Scotland celebrates the achievement of training 389 teachers and support assistants in Scottish schools, all in the first week of term. The education focus of Pride provides the opportunity to celebrate these successes, and for LGBT young people to speak out about the progress still needed.”

“There is certainly still work to be done and allies can play a vital part in making school a better place for LGBT young people to learn and feel safe, respected and included.”

Speaking about their first experience of a Pride event, one young person said:

“I went from being a shy little boy who hid who he was for so long, to skipping down the Royal Mile with a rainbow flag wrapped around my neck. I stopped caring what people thought of me. I took that confidence with me back to Inverness and I’ve never looked back since. There are always going to be people who try to pull you down but I know who I am now.”

Asked what Pride means to them, another young person commented:

“Pride is important to find community and see the diversity within it. It lets people be themselves for at least one day and it gives LGBT young people a chance to have their voices heard.”

 

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Costa to mark Pride Glasgow by serving rainbow coffees

Rainbow Coffee by Mason Salisbury
Rainbow Coffee by Mason Salisbury

Costa to serve rainbow coloured coffees in Glasgow in support of Pride Glasgow this weekend.

Costa Coffee will have its baristas serve rainbow coloured coffees in Glasgow during this weekend in a short of support of Scotland’s LGBTI community.

The coffee chain will be serving its rainbow coffee creations in the St Vincent and Bothwell Street brachnes on Saturday, during Pride Glasgow.

The company is reported to have flown in especially for Pride Glasgow, Mason Sailsbury, an internationally renowned barista, to train the staff in the branches ahead of Pride.

Pride Glasgow will be held this Saturday and Sunday and is Scotland’s largest LGBTI event and festival, with last year over 7,000 attendants.

Costa Coffee founded GLOW (Gay Lesbian Out at Whitbread), which provides a network for the company’s LGBT staff.

John Kerslake, Costa’s UK & Ireland Operations Director and co-founder of GLOW said: “We’re delighted to be bringing rainbow coffee to Glasgow Pride this year.

“We hope customers will enjoy the multi-coloured drinks and admire our baristas’ passion and creative flair.”

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