19 Jan 2014

Ukip councillor suspended over gay marriage flood claims

A Ukip councillor is suspended by his party after blaming the recent UK floods on the passing of gay marriage laws, and stating homosexuality is a disease “which can be cured”.

Henley-on-Thames councillor David Silvester said he had warned the prime minister of “repercussions” if gay marriage had gone ahead and told BBC Radio Berkshire his daily prayers convinced him the recent flooding was the consequence.

He said the new law, paving the way for the first gay marriages in Britain this spring, was the latest mistake which would anger God – following on from abortion laws, which he likened to the Holocaust.

The part initially supported him but has now used emergency powers to suspend him.

Ukip’s south east chairman Roger Bird said: “We cannot have any individual using the Ukip banner to promote their controversial personal beliefs which are not shared by the party.

“Everyone is entitled to their own religious ideology which is central to a free and fair society. Councillor Silvester’s views are his own and in no way reflect the party’s position. Indeed Councillor Silvester himself has clearly stated this.

“However, Councillor Silvester has today acted contrary to party requests and continued to court the media in order to promote his own personal beliefs.

In the radio interview, which followed his initial claims about the link between flooding and gay marriage in a letter to the Henley Standard, Mr Silvester said: “I don’t have a problem with gay people.

“I believe as a Christian I should love gay people and indeed, I do. My prayer for them is they will be healed.

“When I was at bible college I did a thesis on homosexuality and I came across the writings of an American psychiatrist, Jeffrey Satinover, and he came up with two particular beliefs – one, he said it has not been proven at all that the gay condition comes from the genes, and second he said that by the Holy Spirit, there is always power for a gay person to be healed.

‘You have been healed’

“I believe that is what the apostle Paul said in the New Testament, he said some of you are gay but you have been healed.

“There is healing for the gay condition and I believe a Christian should long for gay people to be healed and to have normal heterosexual lives.

“It is nonsense to say it is homophobic. If you love a person enough to want them to be healed and to have a proper family, that is hardly homophobic.

“It is a spiritual disease… it’s not what I say, it’s what the Bible says.”

Mr Silvester said he was convinced that there were “repercussions for a nation persisting in what is wrong”, and that he had clear beliefs “there are things that are right and wrong”.

Controversial laws

“Over the years we have done many things that have caused problems,” he said.

“One, for example, is the abortion laws in which something like six million children, as many as the people killed by the Nazis in the death camps, have been killed as a result of the abortion laws.

“Now, this is a process. The latest in this process is these homosexual laws and the homosexual marriage.”

Expanding on his views about the repercussions of the state, Mr Silvester added: “I am a man who prays every day for every member of the cabinet and for every member of the royal family and when, two years ago, I wrote to the prime minister to warn him there are repercussions for serious breaches of the coronation oath, such as this one has been, when I saw what followed I naturally assumed this was the result of them going against God’s laws.

“This is not new, this happened in the Old Testament – they were warned if they turned against God there would be pestilence, there would be war, there would be disasters.

‘Repurcussions from God’

“All I’m doing is following the pattern that the Old Testament set out for a nation that followed God. If they followed God, things would go well, if they rebelled against God, then there would be repercussions.”

The councillor said Ukip, to whom he defected from the Conservative party, had told him not to give any more interviews.

He said: “I had a phone call yesterday from one of them and the instructions I have got from now one is not to answer anybody and not to do interviews such as this one… (this) is the last one.

“I’m not going to go into (their reasons). That’s a private discussion between me and them.”