Waitrose donated community fund to event run by café owner who preached anti-gay hatred in Uganda

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Supermarket chain Waitrose has given a share of its Community Matters fund to a Cambridgeshire café owner who preached anti-gay hatred in Uganda.

Waitrose’s Community Matters is an initiative to enable branches to support local communities.

The Cornerstone Café in Cambridge Street, St Neots, received £330 for its Christmas Lunch event. The cafe provides a free dinner to anyone who finds themselves alone on Christmas Day.

But a recording published by the campaign blog ‘Stop Ugandan Anti-Homosexuality Bill’ shows owner Paul Shinners is far from festive when it comes to the issue of gay rights.

On 31 December 2012, Mr Shinners attended Uganda’s Annual National Prayer Day and gave robust support for the country’s Anti-Homosexuality law.

He defended Ugandan Bishop David Kiganda, who is part of the National Task Force Against Homosexuality, and one of the organisers of the Prayer Day.

Mr Shinners said: “Across the world people are now looking at Uganda because Uganda is the first country to stand up for God.

“You see there are many nations in the world – America – they are a big powerful nation and President Obama, he has pointed his finger at Uganda and he said ‘Uganda should not prosecute homosexuals’.”

Mr Shinners declared: “President Obama should put his own house in order.”

To cheers he said: “I tell you in the UK we have heard that this Government in Uganda is a democracy. The politicians were elected here. They had the freedom here to write their own laws and four years ago this bill came into fruition and I tell you now there are many people in the UK saying ‘well done Uganda!’”

Mr Shinner claimed he was “making a stand for God”.

He said: “The secular countries, they are trying to point the finger at Uganda, but I tell you, God is happy with Uganda. Hallelujah. The world is changing, those who are last will be first one day”.

The café owner also criticised the US for paring back international aid to Uganda over its support for anti-gay legislation. “One sunny day I see America with a begging bowl,” he said.

“America will say to Uganda: ‘Abolish the Anti-Homosexuality Bill’. “America will come to Uganda one day and say ‘give us money, give us money, give us money, because we need Uganda’s help”.

Mr Shinners warned: “God has got a big plan for Uganda”.

Uganda’s Constitutional Court struck down the country’s Anti-Homosexuality law in August, ruling that the law had been passed without the necessary quorum of MPs.

Human rights campaigners welcomed the move, but also feared it would only represent a brief respite before new anti-gay legislation is introduced.

Signed by President Yoweri Museveni in February, the act called for ‘repeat offenders’ of homosexuality to be sentenced to 14 years in prison and made it a criminal offence not to report someone for being gay.

Same-sex sexual activity is already illegal in Uganda.

Waitrose forms the food retail division of Britain’s largest employee-owned retailer, the John Lewis Partnership.

Donation screenshot

The Cornerstone Café received £330 for its Christmas Lunch event from Waitrose in St Neots.


A Waitrose spokesperson told PinkNews: “This lunch was one of 300 Christmas events we’ve supported across the country as part of the Waitrose Christmas dinners campaign. The money Waitrose donated went to the Cornerstone Cafe to provide lunch for those who would otherwise be on their own at Christmas.

“Let me strongly emphasise that Waitrose is an inclusive company, and our branches support thousands of community events across the country each year. It would be wrong to link this individual’s personal views with the community event that our St. Neots branch has supported.”