Union leaders have distanced themselves from a pastor’s controversial past comments after he raised eyebrows speaking at an anti-Northern Ireland Protocol rally.
US pastor Rusty Thomas spoke at the rally in Lurgan, Northern Ireland, last week, saying that “the same powers of darkness that have imposed sodomy, abortion, and tyranny upon Northern Ireland” are pushing the protocol.
After he spoke, it was discovered that he had made comments in the past about the Black Lives Matter movement, feminism and abortion which many found offensive.
Footage emerged of pastor Rusty, of Operation Save America, a pro-life ‘Christian abolitionist ministry’, previously preaching that “good, Godly men were being marginalised and considered fringe” where feminism grows, that “women will rule over you” and that “while the true men are marginalised the culmination [of that will be] children will be their oppressors”.
In another clip, pastor Rusty said: “So whenever a nation exchanges patriarchy for feminism, you are going deeper and deeper into the curse of God upon your nation.”
He had also claimed the Black Lives Matter movement was being fuelled by white, progressive, Marxist young women.
The Belfast Telegraph said pastor Rusty, speaking previously outside Craigavon Area Hospital, had said it was “the actual gates of hell” because abortions are carried out there.
When these comments came to light, Ulster Unionist Party leader Doug Beattie called them “pretty abhorrent” and said that some of Pastor Rusty's comments were inciteful.
A Democratic Unionist Party spokesperson said: “Sir Jeffrey was invited to address this event by the organisers. We are not responsible for others. Our focus is on speaking to the many thousands of ordinary people who attended this event to demonstrate their opposition to the Northern Ireland Protocol.”
Sir Jeffrey Donaldson has previously spoken to Premier Christian Radio about his strong Christian faith.