Follow Me On
The Woman in White Marble

{Click Marble or visit Books in the main menu}

Dis-Ease: Living with Prostate Cancer

{Click or visit Books in the main menu}

« It’s Not My Fault ~ It Was Drake | Main | I Can’t Breathe »

Execution Preaching

The day before World AIDS Day, Rev. Steven Anderson, minister of the Faithful Word Baptist Church in Tempe, Arizona, preached a sermon entitled AIDS: The Judgment of God. There’s a good chance you know what he said. He received pretty good coverage in the media, the video of the sermon being made widely available. Turning to the biblical text Leviticus 20:13 he told his congregation he knew how to free the world of HIV and AIDS by Christmas. Well, I tell a lie. He said that his solution would render a world “90 something percent” free of AIDS– by Christmas, mind you. It’s best I let Anderson speak for himself:

"It was right there in the Bible all long — and they're out spending billions of dollars in research and testing. It's curable — right there. Because if you executed the homos like God recommends, you wouldn't have all this AIDS running rampant."

Rev. Steven AndersonHere we go again. Another god-fearing soul wanting to murder human beings in the name of a god. A lot of words have been written about the relationship between violence and the monotheistic faiths of Christianity, Islam and Judaism. And sure as the day is long there are a lot of “good” Christians, Muslims and Jews out there either advocating violence or actually involved in violence.

The good Rev. Anderson not only preaches violence and hatred, he preaches stupid. First, the violence and hatred. There are a lot of men and women looking for solutions for their varies hatreds, and every once in a while some of them get the power to actually put their “solution”, which usually means killing a particular group of people, into action. Don’t kid yourself, people like Anderson are potentially dangerous or are actually dangerous, perhaps even more so when they wrap their hatred up in the sacredness of the nation, or God, or both. Here we have a Christian minister actually suggesting a particular group of people should be executed. Nothing like listening to a preacher call for genocide. 

Lest you think I exaggerate, don't forget Pastor Scott Lively, head of Abiding Truths Ministry and of Defend the Family International, in Springfield Massachusetts, whose anti-gay bigotry made it all the way to Uganda. No one is in any doubt that Lively’s interventions in Uganda significantly helped in the creation and passing of the Anti-Homosexuality Act in that country. It is also known as the Kill the Gays Bill. Not surprisingly, since it’s passage attacks on gay people in Uganda have increased. The Lively bill originally called for the execution of anyone “engaging in homosexuality.” After an international outcry, and threats to reduce aid funding by some nations, the Ugandan government changed the penalty for being gay from execution to life in prison. (Interestingly, a lawsuit against Likely was filed in federal court in Massachusetts for crimes against humanity by the Center for Constitutional Rights on behalf of Sexual Minorities of Uganda. Thus far the First Circuit of Appeals has denied Lively's request to have the lawsuit tossed. See Adicting Info)

Second, Anderson's stupidity. I wanted to say that his hatred and violence simply clouded his judgement, but I don’t think so. What he said is stupid, for even hate-filled people surely know that the vast majority of people around the world with HIV and AIDS are straight. Straight! Straight!! Or using Anderson’s language, are heteros. Even if every gay person on the planet suddenly disappeared, we’d still have a world of AIDS.

As a response to the likes of Anderson, moderate and progressive Christians often proclaim that the good reverend is not really a Christian at all (as is true of moderate and progress Muslims and Jews responding to their violent and hateful members), thus shielding Christianity while at the same time condemning Anderson. I don’t buy it. It’s too easy. What people are really saying is that Anderson is not a Christian like they are. Or, he is not the kind of Christian they like. Saying he is not a Christian is an act of self-deception (both individual and corporate) which denies the relationship between violence/hatred and religion.

Anderson is an ordained minister in a leading and large Christian denomination. He no doubt claims he was called by God/Jesus to his ministry and the community of faith affirmed that calling through his training and ordination. He has been called to a local church. There is a good chance his congregation not only like and respect him, but agree with his biblical hermeneutics and his theology. I’m sure he reads his Bible and prays faithfully and at least tries to live a life in harmony with his perceived relationship with the Christian God he loves. His faith is personal, but is also affirmed by the community. He has done and is doing most everything a moderate or progress minister did and is doing, but with different interpretations, conclusions and actions. So, on what grounds do people declare he is not a Christian? By what authority do they make the declaration? I suspect Anderson would say the same about them: that they are not real Christians.

My point: Anderson is a Christian, but of a sort many of my friends and acquaintances don’t like. He represents and is affirmed by hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of other people who say they are Christians. He is not some unique aberration. If he were, he would easily be dismissed. However, he is not. Many can make sound philosophically and theologically arguments to undermine his faith of hatred, but they cannot simply declare he is not really a member of the club. Everyone needs to own up to the fact that running through Christianity is a vein of violence/hatred that needs to be confronted and not denied. If you don’t like what Anderson says, then you have to do the hard work. A poster on Facebook saying he is not a Christian just won’t do it.

The Andersons of the world need to be exposed, and then argued into defeat. He will not go away because moderates and progressives don’t recognise, or don’t want to recognise, the darkness in their own house. Some light needs to be directed in his direction and that job belongs to all those good and faithful moderates and progressives.

Copyright © 2014 Dale Rominger

References (3)

References allow you to track sources for this article, as well as articles that were written in response to this article.

Reader Comments

There are no comments for this journal entry. To create a new comment, use the form below.

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>