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Councillor faces 'stitch-up' meeting over biblical Facebook posts

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A free speech rally in support of Cllr Smith will be held at 6pm tonight at the Council Chamber, Town Hall, Ferryhill DL17 8JL.

Tonight, a meeting will be held at Ferryhill Town Hall, County Durham, with a motion of no confidence in the local Councillor Richard Smith. Cllr Smith, who has served in the army for eight and a half years, and is a pastor at the Immanuel Christian Fellowship since 2003, had been elected Mayor of Ferryhill in May this year.

After an LGBT activist campaign led by a local drag artist, Tess Tickle, accusing him of ‘homophobia’ and ‘Islamophobia’, Cllr Smith felt forced to resign because of the adverse impact on his wife and family. Most Facebook posts which outraged Tess Tickle and his supporters were re-posts from The Activist Mommy and other well-known social media personalities, advocating biblical sexual ethics and highlighting the dangers of radical Islam. However, that led to a vocal online campaign by Tess Tickle, Pink News, and others. One Facebook commentator posted:

This day in age. F***s sake! Tie the twat up in a rainbow flag, strip the nob head naked and leave him there to be laughed at. This s***s getting boring! His breed are getting fewer though, you just do have the odd few still breathing. X

In his resignation letter (see full text further below), Cllr Smith writes:

To be denied the opportunity to hold personal views was never my expectation when I undertook the role of Town Mayor, and it is a matter of sincere regret to me that those personal views have been so tragically and outrageously twisted and reported on in order to discredit both myself and my faith. I am stepping aside with immediate effect.

Ahead of tonight’s meeting, Cllr Smith said:

Tonight’s meeting is a stitch-up. The outcome has already been decided and is part of the ongoing campaign to remove me from office. I am very proud to serve as a Councillor in my local community of Ferryhill and my decision to resign as Mayor was not taken lightly, and only after a successful campaign of intimidation against my family. Had it only affected me, my decision would have been different, but I have to protect my wife and children.

“Tonight, I am determined to make my case. We may be just a small local community, but this kind of hounding out of office is sinister and has much wider implications.

Andrea Williams, Chief Executive of Christian Concern, who is supporting Cllr Smith, said:

Councillor Smith has posted nothing illegal. He is a pastor of a church and nothing he has said contradicts the teaching of the Bible. An aggressive lobby is determined to distort those views, take them out of context, and ultimately silence and remove anyone who adheres to them. Councillor Smith serves as a local pastor and politician, motivated by his faith and love for the people of his community. What kind of system hangs him out to dry?

A free speech rally in support of Cllr Smith will be held at 6pm tonight at the Council Chamber, Town Hall, Ferryhill DL17 8JL.
 
Cllr Smith’s resignation letter – full text:

It is with deep and profound sadness that after considerable deliberation I have decided to relinquish the role of Mayor of Ferryhill Town Council.

Over recent weeks I have been subjected to unprecedented levels of adverse publicity, publicity that has been orchestrated for political advantage, and has threatened both my Church, family, and colleagues alike. Whilst the instigators are very much in the minority, as evidenced by the widespread messages of support I have received, I realise that my ability to serve the people of Ferryhill in the manner I would have wished will always be subject to disruption and intimidation. The latest incidents being the mob getting my son involved who is an Afghanistan War Veteran who suffers severe PTSD with severe flash backs. I had to refrain from attending the Flag Raising Event where I was to give a speech for those of our Serving Military Men and Women, this was due to the threats of disruption to that and any event I would have been involved in as Town Mayor. It has got so bad I now have involved the Police.

To be denied the opportunity to hold personal views was never my expectation when I undertook the role of Town Mayor, and it is a matter of sincere regret to me that those personal views have been so tragically and outrageously twisted and reported on in order to discredit both myself and my faith. I am stepping aside with immediate effect, and trust all local organisations who have been so cruelly influenced by recent publicity are able to once again support all charitable and worthy events organised by the Council in Ferryhill.

I will remain a member of the council, to participate in and promote initiatives brought forward for the benefit of all in our town, as was always my intention.

May I thank the many people who have expressed support for me, especially the 5,540 people who signed my petition and the 56% who voted me to stay as Mayor from the Northern Echo poll. I trust that my resignation now puts an end to the vendetta being waged against me, my family, Church and colleagues. My Faith in Christ is what drives me to help people regardless of their faith, colour, culture, sexuality, or political persuasion. I have never let the convictions of my Faith dictate who receives my help or the help from the Church it has always been the Love of God that is found in Christ Jesus, a love that is full of Mercy and Grace. People who really know me and Lauraine and the Church can truly comment on how hard we have lovingly worked to help and provide for those in need, this has now been decimated by the minority mob along with those wishing to score political points and who have a God-phobia.

I will close with these words from the Apostle Peter from the Book of Acts Chapter 5:

“25 And someone came and told them, “Look! The men whom you put in prison are standing in the temple and teaching the people.” 26 Then the captain with the officers went and brought them, but not by force, for they were afraid of being stoned by the people. 27 And when they had brought them, they set them before the council. And the high priest questioned them, 28 saying, “We strictly charged you not to teach in this name, yet here you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching, and you intend to bring this man's blood upon us.” 29 But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men. 30 The God of our fathers raised Jesus, whom you killed by hanging him on a tree. 31 God exalted him at his right hand as Leader and Saviour, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. 32 And we are witnesses to these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him. 33 When they heard this, they were enraged and wanted to kill them.”

I guess nothing much has changed. I get called a bigot and intolerant?

Richard Smith

Pastor and Ferryhill Town Councillor.

 

Further Information:

Activist Mommy Facebook video post – Gay Pride parade Columbus:
https://www.facebook.com/theactivistmommy/videos/986662654785217

Activist Mommy Facebook image post – Act now! #genderinsanity cartoon:
https://www.facebook.com/theactivistmommy/posts/1530486540402823

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