More

An anti-gay pastor tried to visit Jamaica. The entire country said, 'No thanks.'

He's running out of places to spread his hateful message.

An anti-gay pastor tried to visit Jamaica. The entire country said, 'No thanks.'

Steven Anderson is infamous for his hateful statements against Barack Obama, the LGBTQ community, and many others.

But when the Arizona preacher tried bringing his divisive message to Jamaica, the country's leaders responded with a message of their own — stay home.

Anderson is the pastor of Faithful Word Baptist Church in Arizona, which the Southern Poverty Law Center labeled an "anti-gay hate group" based on Anderson's statements celebrating acts of violence against LGBTQ people. Anderson was reportedly planning to board a flight to Kingston for a religious mission when he was informed he was no longer welcome in Jamaica.


Photo by Gail Frederick/Flickr

A spokesperson for Jamaica's Ministry of National Security explained the move in a statement:

"The decision was made by the chief immigration officer because the pastor’s statements are not conducive to the current climate."

The ban is a surprising move for many, considering Jamaica has a less-than-stellar record on LGBTQ issues. In 2014 the Human Rights Watch issued a report outlining violences encountered by LGBTQ people in Jamaica, ranging from discrimination to criminalization to assault. But in the years since, the country has been making strides toward equality, with the ban on Anderson just the most recent in a string of efforts to increase LGBTQ equality on the island.

Image via Wikicommons

The announcement of the ban was met with praise from individuals and LGBTQ groups alike.

The decision was praised by the Human Rights Campaign, which credited activism from LGBTQ advocates around the world as pressuring Jamaica into issuing the ban.

A change.org petition asking Jamaica to ban Anderson helped create momentum too, garnering nearly 40,000 signatures.

Change.org

And of course, Anderson quickly weighed in on the decision as well. In an unintentionally ironic post to his YouTube channel, Anderson vented about what he called a movement toward a "one-world government" for following the lead of the other four countries who have barred his from visiting. "Apparently, Jamaica they can't really do their own thing, because obviously this is an outside influence," he said.

Photo by Chad Sparkes/Flickr

‌That's a lot coming from a person who wanted to visit another country to preach his own perspective on what he thinks should be universal moral laws.

Jamaica isn't the first to make clear that Anderson, and his message, are not welcome.‌

It's now the fifth country to ban Anderson from visiting, as he was previously barred from entering the U.K., South Africa, and Botswana after announcing plans to visit each country. Those countries banned Anderson after his repeated public statements calling for the stoning deaths of members of the LGBTQ community, advocating the death of President Barack Obama, and denying the Holocaust.

It goes to show that public pressure can be a powerful tool in supporting LGBTQ people around the globe.

Jamaica still has a long way to go in addressing its own support LGBTQ communities, but this ban and the country's improving attitude toward equality shows that it's moving in the right direction. With some helpful public pressure, they're following the example set by other countries when it comes to responding to missionaries for hatred like Anderson.

No one is stopping Steven Anderson from holding, or even expressing, his hateful views. But, as Jamaica has shown, communities and nations can choose not to enable those who preach violence and hate against others.

True

When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.

Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.

"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."

Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."

That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."

4-year-old New Zealand boy and police share toys.

Sometimes the adorableness of small children is almost too much to take.

According to the New Zealand Police, a 4-year-old called the country's emergency number to report that he had some toys for them—and that's only the first cute thing to happen in this story.

After calling 111 (the New Zealand equivalent to 911), the preschooler told the "police lady" who answered the call that he had some toys for her. "Come over and see them!" he said to her.

The dispatcher asked where he was, and then the boy's father picked up. He explained that the kids' mother was sick and the boy had made the call while he was attending to the other child. After confirming that there was no emergency—all in a remarkably calm exchange—the call was ended. The whole exchange was so sweet and innocent.

But then it went to another level of wholesome. The dispatcher put out a call to the police units asking if anyone was available to go look at the 4-year-old's toys. And an officer responded in the affirmative as if this were a totally normal occurrence.

Keep Reading Show less