Waitrose expresses no regret for donating to event run by café owner who preached anti-gay hatred in Uganda

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Waitrose has expressed no regret over the comments of a Cambridgeshire café owner who preached anti-gay hatred in Uganda and received a donation from the supermarket in order to provide Christmas lunches to lonely people.

The Cornerstone Café in Cambridge Street, St Neots, received £330 for its Christmas Lunch event from a branch of Waitrose in the town.

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!’”

When pointed to Mr Shinners’ homophobic comments and asked if they were cause for regret, 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.”

PinkNews understands that several customers had complained about the store’s decision to support Mr Shinners’ Christmas Lunch event and it had been “discussed” by its management with them being aware of his views before the donation was made.