Tom Daley ‘is gay because his father died’ says UK evangelist

Christian Concern founder Andrea Minichiello Williams angers gay rights campaigner after speech in Jamaica

The head of a British evangelical Christian lobby group has angered gay rights campaigners by urging Jamaica to keep same-sex intercourse illegal and reportedly suggesting  that Tom Daley is in a relationship with a man because his father died.

To the dismay of mainstream church leaders Andrea Minichiello Williams, the founder of Christian Concern, spoke at conference in Jamaica to lobby against the repeal of the Caribbean island's controversial law banning gay sex.

Mrs Williams, an elected member of the Church of England General Synod, the body which creates church law, apparently said that Jamaica had the chance to become a world leader in battling foreign pressure to decriminalize same-sex intercourse.

"Might it be that Jamaica says to the United States of America, says to Europe, 'Enough! You cannot come in and attack our families. We will not accept aid or promotion tied to an agenda that is against God and destroys our families,'" she reportedly said at the event, which was held earlier this month in Kingston.

According to the news website BuzzFeed, which reported her alleged comments, she argued that it's a "big lie" that homosexuality is inborn and blamed the "lack of the father" and "sometimes a level of abuse" for creating homosexual feelings.

She reportedly illustrated  this by pointing to Olympic diver Tom Daley who came out as gay earlier this month. She is said to have added that he is "loved by all the girls and had girlfriends" and had "lost his father to cancer just a few years ago".

Yesterday Martin Warner, the Bishop of Chichester, where Mrs Williams was elected to the General Synod in 2011, condemned the comments.

He told the Independent that they had "no sanction in the Church of England" and that they "should be rejected as offensive and unacceptable".

Tom Daley with his father Robert at the British Academy Television Awards in 2008. Mr Daley died in 2011 (PA) Tom Daley with his father Robert at the British Academy Television Awards in 2008. Mr Daley died in 2011 (PA)
While the gay rights charity Stonewall said it was "sad" that Mrs Williams is "supporting the prosecution of gay people simply for how they were born".

Dr Keith Sharpe, vice chair of Changing Attitudes, an Anglian body calling for full equality for LGB&T people, said that her "bigoted outburst amount to dangerous hatemongering".

He added that "Jamaica is one of the most dangerous places in the world for LGB&T people who suffer homophobic intimidation and violence on a daily basis" and that endorsing its laws on gay sex amounted to supporting the "vilest form of homophobia in a most terrible cultural situation."

Mrs Williams is also the founder of the Christian Legal Centre, which funds high-profile cases "to protect the freedoms of Christians in society". These include the failed 2012 appeal by Lesley Pilkington, a therapist struck off after offering to "cure" an undercover reporter who was posing as a gay patient.

Christian Concern said Mrs Williams was "unavailable due to a private matter" yesterday.

Next month she is set to address conference for the "ex-gay movement", which is set to discuss controversial gay-to-straight conversion therapy  at Emmanuel Evangelical Church in Westminster

The conference, which is entitled Setting Love In Order, will discuss controversial gay-to-straight conversion therapy and comes after Labour MP Geraint published a Private Members' Bill in Parliament aimed at banning gay-to-straight conversion therapy by regulating the psychotherapy sector.

According to the conference website it seeks to protect "the freedoms to believe, to exist and to change when homosexual feelings are unwanted." 

Mrs Williams will be joined on a panel by Dr Michael Davidson, the founder of the Core Issues Trust, who in the past has described homosexuality as a "developmental aberration". Dr Davidson told the Independent he did not view "homosexuality as a disease".

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Recruitment Genius: HR and Payroll Manager

£35000 - £38000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This dynamic outsourced contact...

Recruitment Genius: Production & Quality Control Assistant

£19000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An excellent opportunity for a ...

Ashdown Group: Group HR Advisor - Kettering - £32,000

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Group HR Advisor with an established...

Guru Careers: HR Manager / HR Generalist

£40 - 50k (DOE) + Bonus: Guru Careers: We are seeking a HR Manager / HR Genera...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?
How Tansy Davies turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

How a composer turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

Tansy Davies makes her operatic debut with a work about the attack on the Twin Towers. Despite the topic, she says it is a life-affirming piece
11 best bedside tables

11 best bedside tables

It could be the first thing you see in the morning, so make it work for you. We find night stands, tables and cabinets to wake up to
Italy vs England player ratings: Did Andros Townsend's goal see him beat Harry Kane and Wayne Rooney to top marks?

Italy vs England player ratings

Did Townsend's goal see him beat Kane and Rooney to top marks?
Danny Higginbotham: An underdog's tale of making the most of it

An underdog's tale of making the most of it

Danny Higginbotham on being let go by Manchester United, annoying Gordon Strachan, utilising his talents to the full at Stoke and plunging into the world of analysis
Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police

Steve Bunce: Inside Boxing

Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police
No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat