Belfast Telegraph

Loyalist pastor Alan Campbell condemned for racist and sectarian views dies at 67

By Staff Reporter

A controversial pastor who was once accused of peddling white supremacist views while working as head of religious education at a Newtownabbey school has died.

Pastor Alan Campbell, who founded the now-closed Open Bible Ministries, died suddenly in hospital on Sunday at the age of 67.

A biography on his Facebook page states that he was "born in Belfast on 7 August 1949 into a staunchly Presbyterian home, in a Roman Catholic area".

It adds that his grandmother was a "very firm adherent of the doctrine of British Israelism, and thus he was exposed to this teaching from a very early age".

However, it states that he didn't truly convert to Christianity until September 19, 1965, when he heard Ian Paisley preach at Ravenhill Free Presbyterian Church.

Campbell, known for his ultra-loyalist views, claimed that Ulster Protestants and the whites of South Africa were lost tribes of Israel, given their own homelands by God.

During his tenure as head of RE at Newtownabbey Community High School he sold tapes lamenting the end of the apartheid regime in South Africa.

On one tape he claimed that "black heathens have taken over" what he described as "the once beautiful, white, Christian-Israelite South Africa".

He accused the country's Nobel Peace Prize winning ex-President FW de Klerk of "selling out the whites" to "black heathens".

He also slammed UUP and DUP politicians for meeting Nelson Mandela, and described Archbishop Desmond Tutu as a "little black man".

Campbell was frequently at the centre of controversy over his anti-Catholic views, which he spread on the internet.

His "British Israelite" views, which claimed that Celto-Anglo-Saxon people are the lost tribe of Israel, attracted criticism from members of the Free Presbyterian Church.

His own church, Open Bible Ministries, shut in 2013 amid claims that funds were raided by an associate of the pastor "with a seedy background".

This was denied by Campbell.

Fellowship members closed down the church's website and broadcasts and voted that they no longer had any confidence in Campbell.

Earlier that year he claimed to have been seriously ill and said he had almost died as a result of renal failure.

Campbell was a fringe figure in loyalism for more than 40 years, and took part in the Harryville Church protests in Ballymena.

Journalist Henry McDonald, who co-authored books on the UDA and UVF, said it was his "firm belief" that Campbell was an "agent provocateur" who stirred things up with naive young loyalists.

"At times of crises within loyalism he would suddenly reappear and be focused on mixing it with impressionable young loyalists," he said.

"The late David Ervine told me, and was adamant back in the mid-1990s, that Campbell was an agent provocateur who stirred up sectarian strife to divide loyalism and to work to some unknown State agenda.

"There are still serious questions over Alan Campbell connections with State forces.

"By mainstream loyalists, he was deeply mistrusted."

A funeral service will be held for Campbell at 10.30am on Friday at Houston and Williamson Funeral Church on the Crumlin Road.

This will be followed by burial at Roselawn Cemetery.

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