AlterNet - September 1, 2009
Theocratic Arizona Pastor Gives 2nd "Death To Obama" Sermon
Pastor Also Calls For Execution of Children Who Curse Their Parents
by Bruce Wilson
Tempe, Arizona Independent Baptist preacher Steven Anderson has recently attracted national media attention after one of his parishioners showed up at an Arizona townhall meeting, that was attended by President Barack Obama, carrying a bullhorn and an AR15 semiautomatic assault rifle. One day before the event, Anderson gave a sermon entitled "Why I hate Barack Obama," in which the pastor declared he was praying for Obama's death and called on God to "melt" the president like a "[salted] snail."
Steven Anderson's August 16, 2009 sermon "Why I hate Barack Obama" was closely patterned after an even more virulently hateful sermon he gave on January 18, 2009, two days before Barack Obama's inauguration, in which the pastor declared that "somebody should abort Obama." Pastor Anderson has also called for the imposition of Biblical Law and Biblical government and stated that if he "were king" he would decree the execution of homosexuals and children who curse their parents. [see partial transcript of the January 18 sermon here]
Following mainstream media pickup of his second, August "death to Obama" sermon, pastor Anderson has subsequently told ABC News that the president should die of brain cancer as did late US Senator Ted Kennedy. Anderson's AR15-wielding parishoner Chris Broughton, asked if he was "advocating violence against the president" told ABC, "I'm not going to answer that question directly. I don't care how God does it. I just pray that he does."
In his January sermon, Anderson declared that,
"somebody needs to abort Barack Obama... I'm saying there should be a government in this country that, you know, under God's authority, that takes Barack Obama and aborts him. On television. For everybody to see in the whole world... I'd like to see Barack Obama melt like a snail. I'd like to see the teeth knocked right out of his head. I'd like to see him perish just like an abortion. That's what David [in the Bible's Book of Psalms] preached. That's what he prayed to God."
Pastor Steven Anderson's death-prayers against president Obama have gained minor media attention, mainly due to the efforts of bloggers such as Justin Elliott of TPM Muckraker, Crooks and Liars's Dave Neiwert, gay rights advocate Pam Spaulding, People For The American Way's Right Wing Watch, and coverage by the Phoenix New Times
As journalist Frederick Clarkson, writing for Religion Dispatches observes, "[a] look at" Pastor Steven Anderson's sermons "reveals similarities to a far right theology associated with militias, radical prolifers, and proponents of theocracy."
Indeed, Anderson's platform appears almost indistinguishable from the classic Christian Reconstrutionist plank, up to the point of sharing the belief, along with many reconstructionists, that children who curse their parents should be executed. As one blogger has discovered, amidst Anderson's YouTube archive of over four hundred video segment is one in which Anderson states,
"If I were king -- and I'll tell you this right now -- if Steven Anderson were king in the United States, every single law of the Old Testament would be the law of the land. I mean, everything that God says is a sin would a sin and it would be punished exactly the way that God says its punished.
There would be a death penalty on murder. There would be the death penalty on cursing or smiting your parents. There would be the death penalty on rape. There would be a death penalty on adultery. There would be a death penalty on being a pervert. There would be a death penalty on kidnapping.
Why ? Because the law of the Lord is PERFECT - converting the soul. Do you think I'd come up with my own law, separate from what God says should be the law ? I'm not that presumptuous, my friend. This is the perfect law."
Pastor Anderson's view do not always fit neatly into a classic left/right political dichotomy:
He has condemned and vilified George W. Bush (not so strongly as Obama), especially for Mr. Bush's Mideast wars. And, Anderson does not appear to be classically racist, or white supremacist, in the manner of many on the extreme Christian right. At his small Tempe church Steven Anderson holds regular English classes for Spanish-speakers, and he professes no racism towards African Americans. Indeed, Anderson's parishioner Chris Broughton, who attended the August 17, 2009 Obama-attended Townhall meeting slinging his AR15, is black.
Mr. Anderson's views fit into a new emerging profile on the American Christian right, in which the movement sloughs off and tamps down many of its classic racial and ethnic bigotries, to opt for a more inclusive form of Christian supremacy.
As ever though, Jews seem to be in the crosshairs. During his January 18, 2009 sermon Pastor Anderson vilifies Jews for allegedly killing Jesus Christ, and he goes on to declare that they are collectively cursed, apparently to this day. As another notable position evinced in the sermon, Anderson states that women do not speak in his church.
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