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Breaking News

Pastor loses job and receives death threat over Pride warning

Where will the line be drawn? How far is the LGBT community prepared to go?
There sadly seems to be a growing trend of people losing their jobs for raising concerns about LGBT ideologies and Pride events. This is also true of Pastor Keith Waters, who worked as a caretaker at his local primary school.

However, there is something different about Keith's case. It raises the question: how far is the LGBT community prepared to go to silence mainstream Christian views?
On 1 June this year, Keith advised Christians on Twitter to steer clear of gay Pride events that month. Quoting a US Catholic priest, he simply stated that Pride events are not aligned with Biblical teaching and that they are especially "harmful to children".

The toxic set of events that followed made Keith fear for not only his own safety, but that of his family and congregation as well.
Read coverage in The Sunday Times
Donate to help us protect Christians like Keith
Watch Pastor Keith Waters share his story

"An asset to the school"

Three years ago, Pastor Keith Waters, 53, took a 60% pay cut from his role as an Estates Manager at one of Cambridge University’s largest colleges, to work as a caretaker at the Isle of Ely Primary School. He took the job with the agreement that he would combine the role with his duties as pastor of Ely’s New Connexions church.

Keith was a liked and respected member of staff, being described as ‘an asset to the school’. He went above and beyond his duties as caretaker at the school, from using his expertise to put in place fire safety policies, to organising gardening lessons for troubled pupils who were physically threatening teachers.

This was until Saturday 1 June 2019 when Keith sent out the following post on his Twitter account:
The original tweet Keith sent which led to a death threat, harassment and being hounded out of his job.

Wife answered door to funeral directors

Within minutes of sending the post, Keith received a tweet from a local journalist and ‘LGBT advocate’ accusing him of attacking the local LGBT community in Ely ahead of Pride events that month.

The following morning, as Pastor Waters was preparing for a Sunday service at his church, a Cambridge based journalist arrived, harassing and pressuring him to apologise for the tweet, which Keith refused to do. By Monday, he was front page news in the Cambridge Evening News, and online abuse continued to grow, with calls from local councillors for Keith to be investigated by police for a 'hate incident'.

Harassment followed at his home and on the streets of Ely. On one occasion, his wife answered the door to funeral directors who had been sent to ‘arrange his funeral’. Estate agents also contacted him, having been told he was moving from the area 'in a hurry', and he was at one point nearly knocked off his bike by an angry local resident in her car who wanted to remonstrate with him. False rumours were also spread that he was a child molester.

Fearing for his, his family's, and his congregation's safety, Keith deleted the tweet.

School capitulating to LGBT pressure

Images from London and Manchester gay pride which Pastor Keith presented at the school hearing to demonstrate why he believes the events are harmful to children. 
Following on from this abuse and harassment, his caretaker role at the local primary school came under threat as he was told he was being investigated for 'bringing the school into disrepute' after the school had also received a handful of complaints.

One letter to the school claimed that Keith's tweet called for ‘violence against people who support the Ely Pride Festival’; and an anonymous teacher claimed that his tweet fell ‘within the British government’s definition of extremism’ and that action must be taken against him.

Keith was issued with a final warning from the headteacher for allegedly breaking the school's code of conduct. As a result, Keith believed he could no longer combine his roles as pastor of his church and caretaker at the school, and decided there was no alternative but to resign from his job at the school.

Now, supported by the Christian Legal Centre, Pastor Waters is suing for constructive dismissal, indirect discrimination and breach of public sector equality duty. He also believes that the school has interfered with his rights to freedom of religion, expression and thought.
Donate to help us protect Christian freedoms
The Pride flag which flies from the roof of Ely cathedral during Pride month provides context to the lack of local support Pastor Keith has received.

'Children should never be exposed to nudity or sexual acts'

Keith commented on his case: “Anyone who believes in freedom of religion and expression should be very concerned about my story. This was an attack, not just against my Christian beliefs, but against anyone who dares to question these matters in public. The biggest concern should be that a story like mine is becoming normal.

“I maintain that my tweet did not discriminate against anyone. It was directed to Christians and it did not criticise individuals or the LGBT community, only Pride events. Other local people have been mortified at how I have been treated but are too fearful to speak out.

“Children should never be exposed to nudity or sexual acts, whether that’s at Gay Pride or anywhere else. I am determined to fight for the freedom to say that, and believe that no one should lose or be forced out of their job for holding and expressing legitimate views.”

'We are living in very dangerous times'

Andrea Williams, chief executive of the Christian Legal Centre, said: Our schools, communities and churches need more men like Pastor Keith Waters, not less. For sending one tweet, that raised genuine concern for children, Keith has been harassed and hounded out of his employment.

“This is not a local issue distinct to Ely, but a growing intolerant and threatening trend towards, not just Christians, but anyone across the country who dares to criticise Pride.
“Pastor Keith Waters is right to say that Christians should not attend gay Pride events as they are harmful to children. They often include nudity and displays of an overtly sexual nature that no child should see. If a Christian Pastor can no longer say this publicly without receiving death threats, then we are living in very dangerous times.   

“As we launch this case, we call on the Church to do more to protect courageous Christians like Keith Waters and to speak publicly on how God’s good pattern of marriage between one man and one woman is best for the whole of society.
 
"Applauding sexual chaos and immorality at gay Pride events is not good for any of us; it is not good for families or our impressionable young children."

Please pray for Pastor Keith, his family and our legal team as they take the case forward.

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