Pastor who sparked controversy with remarks on gays ‘constantly surrounded’ by bodyguards


Pastor who sparked controversy with remarks on gays ‘constantly surrounded’ by bodyguards

Petru Saal | 2017-01-26 16:34:45.0

Bishop Dag Heward-Mills.

Image by: Screengrab via Youtube/TimesLIVE

I never thought I would find myself at church with burly bodyguards giving me the evil eye, writes Petru Saal

It was tense in the reception area of the Lighthouse Christian Centre in Cape Town where photographer Esa Alexander and I were ordered to wait for the arrival of Bishop Dag Heward-Mills. We were hopeful that he would spare a few minutes to speak about his sermon in Soweto that set the internet alight.

Did he know that SA Idols judge Somizi Mhlongo was insulted when he said homosexuality is unnatural and that not even animals practice it? Were his comments taken out of context? What did he mean?

The good bishop is no stranger to controversy. Last year he urged young people to marry young if they wanted to have sex. His apparent views on oral sex? “Why can’t you not kiss your wife’s vulva and why can’t your wife also kiss your penis; why can’t she hold it? It’s nice.”

During another sermon in Ghana he reportedly said that “one of the advantages of oral sex is that the clitoris needs to be stimulated and the tongue can do a good job because sometimes the finger stimulates the clitoris so hard it becomes sore”.

When we arrived volunteers were selling books outside the very stately looking church. A red carpet‚ plenty of flower arrangements‚ men in suits‚ executive security – all this for a conference featuring the bishop at R850 per ticket. The receptionist directed us to a security guard who dealt with the bishop’s bodyguard who would hopefully put us in touch with his PA. I was not the only journalist. A reporter flew from Nigeria to speak to him and had been waiting for two days.

She suggested I ”go upstairs” to find him. But a vigilant guard ordered that I remain seated in the reception area. Then another guard arrived and blocked the door leading to a foyer. We were trapped‚ prevented from accessing the church. I could feel my anxiety levels climb. But we tried to play it cool.

“I have never seen anything like it. He is constantly surrounded by his bodyguards‚” said the receptionist.

“What do they think is gonna happen to him?” I asked.

“Ag man‚ I think it’s just for safety reasons‚ you know‚” she replied.

She also explained that his sermons may last between three to four hours and not one person would step outside for fresh air or to use the bathroom.

 “We can actually learn from them‚” she added. Then a flustered woman wanted to know why we were there. She called a senior pastor and I could deduce that he was not pleased. All the while the two security guards were pressing up against the doors as if a mob was about to storm the church. Eventually the woman announced that the bishop was not even there. He was out with a pastor doing ”outreach” work.

I hurriedly jotted down my details. Yet another security guard appeared and escorted us from the building.

Once outside‚ Esa and I sighed a huge sigh of relief. Thank God.

TMG Digital/TimesLIVE

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