Politicians urged to cut ties with 'homophobic' pastor

By Aled ap Dafydd
Chief correspondent, Newyddion9

  • Published
Pastor Yang (left), Russell George (above right) and Darren Millar (below right)
Image caption,
Pastor Yang Tuck Yoong (left), Montgomeryshire AM Russell George (above right) and Clwyd West AM Darren Millar (below right)

Two assembly members have been urged to sever their links with a controversial pastor who claimed homosexuality is a "sin".

Yang Tuck Yoong called homosexuality an "abomination" during a sermon.

Darren Millar and Russell George are trustees of the Evan Roberts Institute which has financial links with the pastor's Cornerstone Community Church.

They say they do not share his views but human rights campaigners are calling for all ties to be cut.

The pastor was reported to police in 2013 after saying: "Homosexuality is a sin and it is far more rampant, militant and organised than most of us actually believe it to be."

He also called on the church to "rise up and take a stand".

Image caption,
The Pisgah chapel in Loughor was brought back to life with money from the pastor's Cornerstone Community Church

It has emerged the Pentecostal minister and his church in Singapore have strong ties with Welsh charity, The Evan Roberts Institute.

Named after the Welsh revivalist, the institute was formed in 2013 to safeguard sites of religious and spiritual significance in Wales.

In 2014 it bought Pisgah chapel in Loughor, Swansea, which had been earmarked for demolition.

However the refurbishment work was paid for by Cornerstone Community Church.

Mr Yang's church was also granted a 50-year lease by the institute.

Image caption,
Peter Tatchell have said the pastors views were "out of touch" with public opinion in Wales

Clwyd West AM Mr Millar, who helped finance the original £20,000 purchase with a loan, visited Asia in 2015 to meet with the leaders of Cornerstone Community Church, according to the institute's annual report.

And he "thanked God" for Pastor Yang's support for another religious project in Wales, the purchase of the Bible College of Wales.

However the pastor's comments have angered human rights groups.

Campaigner Peter Tatchell said the views are "not compatible with humanitarian values".

He added: "The Evans Roberts Institute should not be associated with him or his church in any way.

"These AMs should either stand down from the institute or make sure it has broken all ties with the pastor."

The institute and both Conservative AMs said they do not support the views of Mr Yang on homosexuality.

The Welsh Conservatives said they do not condone homophobia or discrimination "of any sort".

Image caption,
Cai Wilshaw said the politicians should consider standing down if they do not cut all ties with the pastor

However Cai Wilshaw of Pink News, which provides news for the LGBT community in the UK and worldwide, described the comments as "dangerous".

"The pastor's views are not only homophobic but dangerously so when you think of the message it sends to, for example, a child in Wales who is being bullied for their sexual orientation or gender identity," he said.

"It's completely unacceptable for these politicians to have social, financial and legal links with someone who has such dangerous extremist views.

"Cutting those links don't go far enough. They must (act) in the same way they want to be represented in their constituencies.

"If they're not willing to educate themselves about LGBT rights then they should think about resigning."

Welsh Labour AM Jeremy Miles added: "I'd support calls for Darren Millar and Russell George to sever their links with the pastor. I hope they will reflect on the message it sends to young people in their constituencies.

"Having faith and being gay are not incompatible. Drawing strength from faith should give us a rich understanding of humanity. And remind us that we are all different but equal."

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