A street preacher in Northern Ireland has been criticised for using strong language to describe homosexual people.
An 18-second clip was circulated on social media of Ryan Williamson, of Salvation On The Streets, accusing gay people of being rapists and child sex abusers during a Pride event in Belfast on Saturday.
He was recorded saying: “Homosexuals have become so brazen that they wanted to rape the righteous, and that’s what is happening today – they want to rape our children, they want to rape our country, they want to pillage and they want to pilfer, all in the name of love.
“We need to stand up against the sin of homosexuality.”
His remarks sparked a backlash from LGBT+ campaigners who called the street preacher’s comments as “entirely unacceptable”.
Now, Williamson has hit back, saying his remarks were “taken out of context”. Speaking to the BBC, he said: “Of course, I don’t believe that homosexuals rape kids. I believe what the rape is the rape of our children’s identity.”
He continued: “There is a pretext to vilify Christians and to vilify preachers.
“Police and the council and others have been weaponised against me by the homosexual community… I have been arrested over the head of them taking things out of context, so I’m saying that what I mean is that kids are being indoctrinated by a militant homosexual agenda, it’s the rape of their identity, our biblical morality and Christian heritage is being raped from our country.”
He also described the media coverage of his remarks as “diabolical”.
"They took an 18-second clip of a message I had been sharing and misconstrued it - they might have caught some words but they didn't catch the heart of the message," he continued.
On Sunday, the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) said they were aware of the video and said officers were present at the scene and gathered evidence on body-worn video. Video footage is being reviewed by investigators.