This is a guest post by Peter Tatchell
Rev Agu Irukwu is homophobic and divisive
London – 9 December 2009
“London Mayor Boris Johnson has made a big mistake by agreeing to attend a carol service hosted by a homophobic clergyman,” said gay human rights campaigner, Peter Tatchell, of the gay equality group OutRage!
He was commenting on the Mayor’s decision to attend carol singing tonight (Wednesday 9 December) at the Jesus House church in Barnet, which is led by Pastor Agu Irukwu,
“Pastor Agu Irukwu is a long-time opponent of gay equality. His faith opposes civil partnerships and the fostering of children by same-sex couples,” said Mr Tatchell.
“On 13 July 2006 he signed a letter to Daily Telegraph suggesting that gay people are not equal to heterosexual people and opposing laws to protect lesbians and gay men against discrimination. He denounced such laws as ‘Christianophobia'”
Also see this Observer newspaper report in 2007:
“I don’t know whether he regards homosexuals as possessed by the devil and supports the exorcism of gay people, but someone ought to ask him.
“Boris should investigate the people who invite him before accepting their invitations.
“He should not attend this church, for the same reason that he should not attend a church where the pastor preaches against black or Jewish people or against equal rights for women or Muslims.
“The Mayor of a multicultural city should not collude with a preacher who rejects diversity and opposes the human rights of lesbian and gay people.
“Pastor Agu Irukwu is a divisive character. He divides gay and straight Londoners,” added Mr Tatchell.
Further information: Peter Tatchell 0207 403 1790
Excerpts from the London Mayor’s news release:
Mayor backs Christmas carol services across the capital
– Community Carol Service at Jesus House in Barnet
– Mayor’s Carol Service returns to Southwark Cathedral
– Carol singing for good causes in Trafalgar Square
The Mayor of London Boris Johnson will kick off a host of festive celebrations across the capital, when he joins thousands of worshippers for a community carol service in north-west London this Wednesday (9 December).
Founded by Pastor Agu Irukwu, Jesus House in Barnet has a congregation of over 3,000 and offers a range of services, including in Portuguese and in French, plus others aimed specifically at young people. Jesus House has a number of activities taking place throughout the Christmas period aimed at different sections of the community, including the carol service that the Mayor is attending.
The Mayor Boris Johnson said: ‘This has been an eventful year and for many it has been a challenging time. But through it all, the familiar resilience and resourcefulness of Londoners continues. Christmas is an uplifting celebration and a symbol of hope so let us join together in festive union and look forward with optimism to good times and deeds ahead in 2010.’
COMMUNITY CAROL SERVICE – BARNET
Date: Wednesday 9 December 2009
Time: 7pm-8pm (Doors open at 6pm)
Venue: The Jesus House Centre
112 Brent Terrace, Brent Cross, London NW2 1LT (nearest Tube: Brent Cross)
Letter to Daily Telegraph 13 July 2006 signed by Pastor Agu Irukwu
Sir – We write as pastors on behalf of tens of thousands of black British Christians. Many members of our congregations in London left their home countries to come to England to experience the freedom of living according to their Christian beliefs in a Christian democratic country.
But increasingly the Labour Government is discriminating against Christians in order to appease minority groups. From the Government’s behaviour, it seems that those minority groups have disproportionate access to the ears of politicians and use that access to promote views and values that are contrary to the views and values which have been at the centre of protecting and promoting British families, schools and local communities for centuries.
The latest discrimination against Christians is the new law called the Sexual Orientation Regulations, said to combat the problem of homophobia in Britain. It alarms us that the Government’s only evidence for a problem actually existing is “accounts in national newspapers”.
The regulations force Christians in churches, businesses, charities and informal associations to accept and even promote the idea that homosexuality is equal to heterosexuality.
For the sake of clarity, this is not what the Bible teaches and it is not what we believe to be the truth. In our view, these regulations are an affront to our freedom to be Christians.
If the Government thinks that we will accept this law lying down, they are mistaken. This sort of Christianophobia from the Government is no longer acceptable.
Ade Omooba, Sam Solomon, Coherent and Cohesive Voice, London W11
Pastor John Noble
Pastor Nims Obunge – Freedom Ark
Pastor Sola Fola-Alade – Trinity Chapel
Pastor Jonathan Oloyede – Glory House
Rev Kofi Banful – Praise Chapel
Pastor Agu Irukwu – Jesus House for all Nations
And over 170 others