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Praying for the Death of the President

Is it me, or are religious fanatics getting worse here in the US? We know things are bad in some parts of the world with religious extremists, but since when do religious “leaders” here in the states preach hate?

The Reverend Steven Anderson of the Faithful Word Baptist Church in AZ told his flock that he prays that Obama “dies and goes to hell.” WHAT! In an August 16th sermon Anderson said, “If you want to know how I’d like to see Obama die, I’d like him to die of natural causes. I don’t want him to be a martyr, we don’t need another holiday. I’d like to see him die, like Ted Kennedy, of brain cancer.”

Here’s a short sample of Anderson’s sermon:

I was honestly shocked listening to this guy. This is the type of rhetoric you might expect at a KKK meeting, not in a church. This guy is supposed to be a “christian” leader. Would a christian be teaching hate? I’m all for free speech, but this kind of talk should be considered a hate crime. A “hate crime” involves someone who targets a victim based on the victims social group, such as racial group, religion, sexual orientation, disability, ethnicity, nationality, age, gender, gender identity, or political affiliation. Does he think all liberal democrats should die and go to hell?

You might say this is just talk. And it is true that sticks and stones can break Obama’s bones, but words could never hurt him. I would also say thankfully that praying is about as effective as wishing on a star and even if there is a God, he sure would not be listening to this hateful person. But the problem is that Anderson’s “flock” does listen to him. Ignorant people can be easily manipulated toward hate and violence.

The day after this sermon took place and Obama arrived in Arizona, a member of his congregation showed up outside an Obama event carrying an AR-15 semi-automatic assault rifle. Yes, this guy you’ve seen on the news belongs to Anderson’s church!

This is scary stuff.

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3 thoughts on “Praying for the Death of the President

  1. Nicholas says:

    This is horrific, absolutely horrific, and there’s no excuse for it. But it’s important to note that this is not mainstream Christianity here — this guy represents the lunatic fringe you’d find in any party or ideological group. In fact, his breakaway status from mainstream religion (as well as his complete and total lack of any formal education — ha) is something he boasts about on his own website:

    “Pastor Anderson holds no college degree but has well over 100 chapters of the Bible committed to memory, including almost half of the New Testament.

    Today, most Baptist churches are started by Bible Colleges. However, the Bible makes it clear that the church is the pillar and ground of the truth, not a school. Faithful Word Baptist Church is a totally independent Baptist church, and Pastor Anderson was sent out by a totally independent Baptist church to start it the old-fashioned way by knocking doors and winning souls to Christ. This is the scriptural method.”

    Any fool can start his own Church and claim to be representing Christ, and the problem with evangelical Christianity is that when people do that, they inexplicably manage to attract tons of attention.

    Just another reason I’m proud to be Catholic!

    http://www.monstersandcritics.com/news/europe/news/article_1454676.php/Pope_Benedict_offers_prayers_for_Obama_s_success

    http://www.usccb.org/comm/archives/2008/08-163.shtml

    I’ll say one final thing…I’ve participated in many discussions, internet forums, etc. about politics with religious and non-religious people alike. If there’s one thing that isn’t shocking about this pastor’s hateful screed, it’s that it sounds an awful lot like what I’ve heard blue-blooded Democrats — good old secular humanists — saying about Bush. Why is “I hate Obama” more shocking than “I hate Bush”? And people actually did hate Bush. The only difference was that they didn’t believe in Hell, so they couldn’t say they wished he’d end up there — but their screeds, their anger, were always tinted with a general sentiment that would go something like this if it could be put into words: “If there’s a Hell, I hope Bush will end up there.”

    In contrast, I’ve spoken to the most rabidly anti-Obama Catholics you could ever meet, who go on and on about how he’s a socialist and a baby-killer and let’s be a real patriot and vote for Sarah Palin etc etc etc. Things you know I don’t agree with. But what is striking is that these people almost always ended their screeds with, “let’s pray for his conversion.” Now, for many of them, that may be just a sanctimonious platitude; still, I’m far more comfortable with a religious discourse that believes in people’s redemption, and is capable of distinguishing between sin and sinner, than I am with a political discourse which, at bottom, doesn’t. Have you ever heard any of Bush’s critics, after complaining about the war or about Guantanamo or whatever you like, say something even as moderate and as secular as, “let’s hope he changes his mind”? The only time I’ve ever heard anything like that in relation to Bush, it’s been from a *Catholic* Democrat! 🙂

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  2. Cindy says:

    I agree with you Nick (yes really;-). There are fringe lunatics on all sides. But I was honestly shocked listening to this guy who is a “leader” of a church. I guess I never imagined this kind of hateful rhetoric in ANY church. I thought at the very least a Christan church would follow the golden rule. Silly me…

    Personally, I don’t hate George Bush, in fact he seems like a nice guy and it probably would be fun to have a beer with George, but I totally disagree with him on all the important issues.

    I think from an atheist perspective what is really frustrating is that religion will inflame any disagreement and usually make it worse. And the religious arguments are based on no facts what-so-ever and therefor should have no place in government. That is and has always been my beef with religion and why I strongly support the separation of church and state.

    The fact that this guy Anderson has no college degree is not surprising, and memorizing the bible? What a colossal waste of time and brain cells!

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  3. Bim says:

    Hokey crap, this guy’s loonier than a Canadian dollar.

    Reply

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