Gay activists have threatened to burn down a Baptist church in Newquay, but when the pastor reported it to the police he was warned not to offend anyone in the LGBT community.
The arson threats arose after pastor Josh Williamson welcomed the cancellation of the Newquay Pride event, which was called off because of concerns about social distancing.
Writing on Facebook, the 34-year-old pastor said the cancellation of the event was an answer to prayer.
He wrote, ‘Hallelujah!! We prayed at our prayer meeting on Tuesday night that this event would be cancelled.
‘We also prayed that the Lord would save the organisers. One prayer answered, now we wait for the second prayer to be answered.’
Following this, he was targeted by a wave of anti-Christian abuse, threatened with physical violence and public calls for his church – Newquay Baptist Church – to be burned down.
Threats were made against his wife, and others suggested holding orgies at the church.
There were calls to protest his Sunday services, report him to the police, and get him deported to his native Australia.
He met with two members of Cornwall Pride for a couple of hours, explaining his belief and sharing a leaflet on what the Bible says about homosexuality.
However, images of the leaflet were shared online, giving the impression he had been distributing them widely, prompting comments of ‘burn the church’.
But when Mr Williamson reported the arson threat to Devon and Cornwall Police, he claimed the police stated the situation was ‘complex’.
Mr Williamson says he was also told he should make sure he did not offend anyone in the LGBT community in future to avoid breaking the law.
He said, ‘My family and I and our church community have been very concerned by the level of anti-Christian abuse and threats of violence that we have been targeted with over the past few weeks.
‘The police have not formally spoken to me about any hate crime or sought a witness statement to look at the various online comments, which have included threats to burn down our church.’
Andrea Williams, chief executive of the Christian Legal Centre, which is supporting Mr Williamson, said, ‘It’s becoming worryingly common in the UK to see threats and calls for violence against Christians for voicing their simple opposition to LGBT Pride.
‘Police forces should show Christians they take this seriously by protecting their free speech against mob threats rather than by seeking to keep Christians quiet.’