UK

Alan Clifford, Controversial Norwich Pastor, Under Investigation For Homophobic Comments

30/08/2013 15:15 BST | Updated 30/08/2013 15:29 BST

A pastor is under police investigation after describing the Norwich Pride celebrations as an “unashamed carnival of perverted carnality”.

Rev Dr Alan Clifford, of the Norwich Reformed Church wrote the contentious statement in an open email sent to the organisers of the event after it had taken place.

Attached to the email were two leaflets entitled "Christ Can Cure – Good News for Gays" and "Jesus Christ, the Saviour We All Need", saying: “You need them, they will do you good.”

gay pride

Alan Clifford is under investigation for his ‘homophobic' comments

Defending his comments, he wrote in a statement that he was simply "reporting to the gay-pride people our Christian complaint against the public display of their homosexual propaganda, which we find offensive."

Clifford denied he was homophobic, pedantically arguing that the word stems from the Greek ‘phobia’, meaning ‘fear’, and that he does not encourage hatred.

"I certainly fear the influence of homosexuality on society, but this should not be regarded as “hatred” unless criticism is taken to mean “hatred”.’

He explained his mission was in fact "a Compassionate call to Christian Conversion."

"Is that hatred? We don’t hate these people. We love them and want to help them. So, even though the gay-pride people are upset, we are guilty of no crime," he said.

In the email, he explained how he had been one of five people to hold a “gospel witness” during the parade.

He approached a stall at the event, from which he had already banned from in April 2012 for giving out “hate motivated” literature, and then demanded he be given some of the official Norwich pride pamphlets.

Police then provided a buffer as Rev Clifford and his fellow protestors walked ahead of the Norwich Pride parade.

In the email he wrote how the parade was a "shameful" display of the City Council’s "decadence."

“The planned route took us past the market and the City Hall. Shamelessly displaying the City Council’s decadence, a ‘rainbow’ drape stretched along the entire width of the building," he said.

"On the balcony the lord mayor [Keith Driver], resplendent in his ceremonial robes, waved to the crowd, supported by other members of the council. It was a truly shameful display of official support.”

A Norfolk Constabulary spokesman confirmed the email was being investigated.