After weeks of evasive email responses from Paul Shinners regarding his beliefs and actions in Uganda, I held a small protest outside his shop on St. Neots High Street.
Shinners invited me into his "Healing Room" for a conversation under the supervision of one of the charity Passion for Souls' fellow trustees Paul Imrie.
He talked rather convincingly until I began to ask questions and then his lies, hypocrisy and apathy became very self evident.
He played the victim and claimed he was being persecuted (rather ironic given the situation in Uganda) and said that he was unwilling to do anything to help the people of Uganda as he had already been judged and it wouldn't benefit his reputation. He was only concerned with himself and had no sympathy or concern for the people in Uganda.
When I asked him his opinion on homosexuality he and his college just openly laughed in my face. He refused to answer a few simple questions like whether he views homosexuality as a sin and if he agrees that homosexuals should be able to marry or adopt. He has claimed not to be homophobic, but when I asked him what he defined as homophobia, he said "nothing." He was consistently vague and evasive and always brought the conversation back to how he was a victim.
He accused me of attacking him online without getting his side of the story first, but last year I did attempt to contact him first and he agreed to a meeting but then kept on rescheduling over a couple of weeks until it was clear that he was unwilling to have a conversation, something he denied which is nothing but a blatant lie. He was also approached for answers from a number of other individuals both locally and internationally and has been unwilling to respond. His only communication appears to have been to the local paper the Hunts Post and a couple of online bookshop blogs/websites to cover his tracks and protect his business.
He distanced himself from the views of River Church, which openly state a homophobic view on a link from their website, despite the fact that this time last year his website stated he was a "proud member" of the church and the head of the church Rob McFarlane (pictured below, bottom right) used to be a fellow trustee of his charity.
The conversation quickly descended into farcical nonsense. Shinners claimed to be able to fully cure the blind and his website also claims they can cure cancer. He also said that he would be able to heal my spine injury. When I asked him why there were no scientific papers regarding this he said that they would rather keep it quiet to avoid ridicule. Religious "healing" has been shown to be a hoax or at the least purely psychological. The placebo effect can be a powerful if only temporary effect.
He claimed to take no salary from his charity and when I asked him how he pays his mortgage on his £500K house or pays for petrol he said that god pays for it. I don't know whether he was just being facetious or just has a very loose grip on reality, though I suspect the latter given some of his other comments.
Paul Shinners appears to have a literal, fundamentalist view of the old testament and said that "evolution is just a theory." The mistake he made is that the word "theory" has a different meaning in science than how it is used in common language. I pointed out that Gravity is a theory too and he showed himself to be completely ignorant on the subject by stating that there was no gravity in space or on the moon. Without gravity on the moon astronauts would be unable to land, walk or drive on the moon and without gravity in space the moon wouldn't go round the earth, the earth and other planets wouldn't go round the sun and galaxies wouldn't have formed around black holes.
He appeared ignorant of many parts of the bible and holds the worrying belief that children who are born disabled are born that way because of the actions of the devil. He also said that "spirits can't create spirits" and believes that like god, the devil always existed, rather than the generally accepted christian view that the devil is a fallen angel created by god.
Throughout our conversation he was continually evasive of the important questions regarding his views on homosexuality, showed complete apathy and (apparent) ignorance regarding the plight of the Ugandan people. He also claimed to have a recording of what he said in Uganda but refused to make it public. Why would an innocent person hide the truth or be unwilling to clearly state his beliefs?
I would hope that anyone who uses his cafe would boycott it to stop supporting and funding his questionable activities in Uganda and the rest of Africa.
I will be organising a protest outside the cornerstone Cafe on Saturday 15th February to call for answers and action from Paul Shinners and raise public awareness of the situation. If anyone would like to join me or help me organise it please contact me via my email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Please feel free to contact the Hunts Post on 01480 443451- email@example.com or 01480 411481- firstname.lastname@example.org if this is an issue you believe is in the interest of the local community.