Keir Starmer criticised over go to to church the place pastor opposed same-sex marriage | Keir Starmer
Keir Starmer has been criticized after attending a church widely condemned for its attitudes towards homosexuality.
The Labor leader went to Jesus House in Brent Cross, northwest London on Friday and praised it as a “wonderful example” of a church serving its community and also acting as a vaccination center during the pandemic.
In a video uploaded to Twitter, he said: “From introducing the vaccine to running the local food bank, Jesus House, like many other churches across the UK, has played a vital role in meeting the needs of the community.”
However, the church’s senior pastor, Agu Irukwu, has spoken out against same-sex marriage and equality laws, leading to condemnation by LGBTQ + groups. In 2006, he signed a letter to the Daily Telegraph against laws designed to protect LGBT + people from discrimination, and in 2013 he was one of the signatories of another letter to the Telegraph against same-sex marriage laws.
Jesus House is part of the network of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, a Pentecostal church that was founded in Lagos, Nigeria and operates internationally.
In 2017, Theresa May was criticized for attending church as Prime Minister, despite Boris Johnson and the Prince of Wales visiting the vaccination center in recent weeks.
Workers have told PA Media that Starmer’s visit was focused on the vaccination center – although the video appears to show him praying with the pastor and local MP Dawn Butler.
LGBT + Labor, the party’s campaign group for LGBTQ + rights, said: “The visit was unacceptable and we made this clear to LOTO (the chairman of the opposition office). We have received an unreserved apology and we will meet with them urgently next week to make sure this doesn’t happen again and that LGBT + equality is embedded in everything Labor does. “
Veteran LGBTQ + fighter Peter Tatchell told Pink News that Labor “puts religion before human rights”. “This apparent drive to appease bigoted churches is outrageous. Keir Starmer must immediately issue a statement in which he distances himself and Labor from the homophobia of the Jesus house. “
A Labor Party spokesman insisted that it “steadfastly supports the LGBT + community and a woman’s right to have access to safe abortions.” They said Labor has urged the government “to stop pulling its feet and ban the heinous practice of conversion therapy”.