Pastor says anti-Pride tweet that cost him job was 'born out of love'

Christian pastor who says primary school forced him out of job over anti-Pride tweet that event was ‘harmful to children’ says message was ‘born out of love’ and was not homophobic

  • Keith Waters claims he was forced out of his job after making the tweet in 2019
  • The 55-year-old said it was an expression of a ‘Christian viewpoint’ on the events
  • He claimed that he was addressing promiscuity in public regardless of sexuality

Keith Waters (pictured yesterday), who is a minister at an evangelical church, claims he was forced out of his job as a caretaker at a secular primary school after making the tweet in 2019

A Christian pastor has said a ‘homophobic’ tweet about gay pride being harmful was ‘born out of love’ as he sues his ex-employer for constructive dismissal.

Keith Waters, who is a minister at an evangelical church, claims he was forced out of his job as a caretaker at a secular primary school after making the tweet in 2019.

The 55-year-old said the tweet, which he later deleted, was an expression of a ‘Christian viewpoint’ on LGBTQ Pride events.

He wrote on Twitter on June 1, 2019: ‘A reminder that Christians should not support or attend LGBTQ ‘Pride Month’ events held in June.

‘They promote a culture and encourage activities that are contrary to Christian faith and morals. They are especially harmful to children.’

Social media users accused him of homophobia and parents wrote to his school in Ely, Cambridgeshire, to complain about his ‘disgusting, hateful views’.

But Waters, who is married and has a daughter, told an employment tribunal yesterday his tweet was ‘born out of love’.

He is suing Active Learning Trust, which runs Isle of Ely Primary School, for direct and indirect discrimination, and constructive dismissal.

On June 24, 2019, Waters handed in a notice to resign from the job he had held since January 2017 after school bosses threatened him with disciplinary action. Pictured: File photo of Pride

On June 24, 2019, Waters handed in a notice to resign from the job he had held since January 2017 after school bosses threatened him with disciplinary action.

In written submissions yesterday, Waters said his tweet was an expression of a ‘Christian viewpoint’ on LGBTQ Pride events, which are ‘diametrically opposed to Christian sexual ethics’.

Waters, minister at New Connexions Free Church in Ely, wrote: ‘Beliefs, culture and ethics promoted by ‘Pride’ are thus diametrically opposed to Christian sexual ethics.

‘Not only does ‘Pride’ promote what we regard as sin; it also encourages people to take pride on [sic] that sin.’

Isle of Ely Primary School argued Waters tweet and the social media outcry had brought the school into disrepute, which warranted a disciplinary investigation.

Yesterday’s tribunal in Cambridge heard parents wrote to the school to complain about Waters’ tweet.

One letter was summarised by Stephen Peacock, representing the Active Learning Trust.

Isle of Ely Primary School argued Waters (pictured yesterday) tweet and the social media outcry had brought the school into disrepute, which warranted a disciplinary investigation

He said: ‘The parent is disgusted that someone with such disgusting, hateful views should be employed in a setting with impressionable children.’

Waters told the hearing: ‘Did I particularly think about the implications of this tweet? I didn’t. The reason for the tweet was born out of love.

‘I didn’t talk about Pride month. I was talking about the events and things that are reported to happen at these events.

‘I was addressing sexual activity and promiscuity in public. Whether it was heterosexual or homosexual made no difference. It was about nudity.’ 

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