‘These are callous and deeply hurtful comments by Rev Brown,’ says Rainbow policy manager

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A spokesperson for the gay advocacy organisation, The Rainbow Project, has described Rev. Ian Brown’s thesis that God is punishing Europe with homosexuality and ISIS as “callous and deeply hurtful.”

The Rainbow Project policy manager Gavin Boyd said Rev. Brown did not speak for many Christians.

“These are callous and deeply hurtful comments by Rev Brown,” he said.

“There can be no reasonable comparison made between LGBT people and ISIS.”

The Sentinel first reported the former pastor of Londonderry’s Free Presbyterian Congregation’s statement that God was using ISIS and homosexuality to punish Europe for its wickedness, on Wednesday.

“That’s why the dark spectre of ISIS is closing in on us today from the east and homosexuality closing in from the west, including ourselves as part of the west.

“God is saying something through this.

“He is shaking the nations. This is his method through history. And he is shaking his Church.

“He shakes us up to send us back to himself,” he said in a sermon at the Martyrs’ Memorial Free Presbyterian Church, in Belfast, in the wake of the Ashers Bakery verdict last week.

But Mr Boyd said: “Many people across Northern Ireland, including many Christians, were delighted when the Irish people used their democratic rights to enshrine civil marriage equality in their constitution.

“Rev Brown does not speak for these people. We share their hopes that civil marriage equality will soon be realised in Northern Ireland.

“The Rainbow Project, Amnesty International and the Irish Congress of Trade Unions have organised a march for civil marriage equality leaving Writers’ Square in Belfast at 2.30pm on Saturday, June 13.

“We hope that all those people who support the rights of their LGBT family, friends and colleagues can attend.”

Rev. Brown stood by his comments.

“I view prayer as a powerful force and an underutilised force in the Church of Jesus Christ today.

“I think when a Church stops praying, these kind of things that are against the word of God pop up, embolden themselves out into the open and go on a crusade.”

He said the prayers should be “one of contrition, confession and repentance” in a bid to turn away from our waywardness and fully embrace God’s Word and ways.

Rev Brown said symptoms of not seeking repentance included “the result of the same-sex marriage referendum in the Republic, the Ashers verdict and ISIS”.

He said during the sermon he was “trying to take the Ashers case onto the global scale as the Church in the west is suffering”.