The Redeemed Christian Church of God aims to have branches in every country in the world, and Adeboye will be visiting Canberra, Melbourne, Sydney and Perth throughout November with the aim of growing the church’s Australian presence.
Adeboye, who calls himself ‘General Overseer’ of the church, made international headlines earlier this year when he claimed same-sex marriage legislation would wipe out humanity within the next 20 years.
He has called homosexuality “evil” and “anathema to the will of God,” serving as an influential voice in Nigeria, where gay people experience significant persecution and violence.
Nigerian human rights advocate Leo Igwe published an open letter urging countries on Adeboye’s Pacific tour to protest his visits.
“Due to the sermons of homophobic clerics like Pastor Adeboye, there is a growing trend of attacks and violence against homosexuals in Nigeria,” Igwe wrote.
“We should not allow this vicious trend to spread and take hold in other parts of the globe. We need to use this opportunity to send a strong message to Pastor Adeboye and other gay bashing African clerics that their gospel of hatred and intolerance has no place in the Pacific Region and that their churches have no future in Australia.”
NSW President of Amnesty International Australia Senthorun Raj spoke to the Star Observer about the ongoing persecution faced by LGBTI people in Nigeria.
“It is extremely concerning that Nigeria continues to have laws that criminalise same-sex relationships and prohibit the public expression of homosexuality. Not only do these laws solidify the idea that homosexuality is a disease or perversion, but they also undermine the ability of LGBTI people in Nigeria to access justice when faced with discrimination, vilification or harassment,” Raj said.
“Nigeria must immediately repeal these archaic laws in order to respect the dignity of LGBTI people and their freedom to associate without fear of persecution.”
Some within Australia’s LGBTI community have called on the Australian Government to refuse Adeboye’s visa on the grounds of a risk the preacher would vilify the gay community, a legitimate basis for denying a person entry.
Opponents of Dutch anti-Muslim politician Geert Wilders argued against a visa being issued to him on the same grounds, although Wilders’ visa was eventually granted.
The Star Observer contacted the Australian branch of the Redeemed Christian Church of God who will be hosting Adeboye’s visit, but has not received comment.