JOHANNESBURG — A U.S. pastor who has made anti-gay comments is being deported, Botswana’s government announced Tuesday, shortly after he spoke on local radio and called the people killed in the June shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando “disgusting.”
The tweet by the government said Steven Anderson of the Faithful Word Baptist Church of Tempe, Arizona, “has been declared a prohibited immigrant” but did not give details.
The Orlando attack, the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history, left 49 people dead.
Neighboring South Africa earlier this month prevented Anderson from entering the country, saying he and church members allegedly promote hate speech and “social violence.”
“Thank God we still have a wide open door in Botswana,” Anderson posted on Facebook.
He entered Botswana last Thursday and preached at an event on Sunday, according to his church’s Facebook page.
Activists had campaigned against Anderson’s travels in Africa, where many countries still criminalize homosexuality.
“This a great day for Africa,” Pamela Adie, senior campaigns manager for the LGBT rights group All Out, told The Associated Press after Botswana’s announcement. “This decision sends a strong message to international evangelists that hate messages are not welcome in Africa and by its people.”
Same-sex activities face legal challenges in Botswana. This year, an appeals court ruled against the government and said an LGBT group should be allowed to officially register.