A church pastor in England was told by police to not offend the LGBT community after a social media celebration of the cancellation of a LGBT pride event prompted backlash from the community.
Josh Williamson, 34, of Newquay Baptist Church in Cornwall, shared a local news article on Facebook about a LGBT pride event called Rainbow Fest being canceled in August, adding "hallelujah!" to the post.
Williamson said that he and others had prayed for the event to be canceled and that "the Lord would save the organizer."
Cornwall Pride saw the pastor's comments and posted screenshots. The group also included comments made by other users about gay pride, blocking out the the names on each comment, making it appear that all the comments were from Williamson.
Both Williamson and his wife were harassed online, with his wife receiving threats. Activists also called for Williamson to be deported and for the church's charity status to be revoked by the government. During a meeting between Williamson and some members of Cornwall Pride, the pastor shared a leaflet outlining what the Bible says about homosexuality. After the leaflet was shared online, several people threatened to burn down the church.
Williamson reported the threats to the Devon and Cornwall Police, but was told the situation was "complex" and that they did not believe anyone would act on their threats.
Both police departments confirmed that they had "spoken to all parties involved," but that there was nothing being taken forward. They advised Williamson to make sure he does not offend anyone in the LGBT community to avoid breaking the law.
"Following concerns expressed between individuals from the community, and subsequent tensions, police officers have spoken to all parties involved and advice has been given," a police spokeperson said. "There are no other associated, ongoing policing matters."