Pastor Steven L. Anderson has been getting a pretty bad rap for his notoriously awful remarks made during sermons — in fact, some have been so terrible that they have prompted both Child Protective Services and the Secret Service to visit him.
Anderson first garnered media attention when he publicly prayed for President Barack Obama’s death. In 2009, Anderson told his congregation:
Now, turn back to Psalm 58 and let me ask you this question. Why should Barack Obama melt like a snail? Why should Barack Obama die like the untimely birth of a woman? Why should his children be fatherless and his wife a widow, as we read in this passage?
Well, I will tell you why. Because, since Barack Obama thinks it is OK to use a salty solution, right, to abort the unborn, because that’s how abortions are done, my friend, using salt — and I would like to see Barack Obama melt like a snail tonight.
As a fundamentalist Christian, Anderson clings desperately to a worldview that places women just below the coffee table in order of importance. Last year, he preached to his faithful that women should not speak in church — not even to say “Amen.”
“First of all, it’s not for a woman to be doing the preaching. And second of all, it’s not for women to be speaking,” Anderson explained. “Even if they were to have a question, they’re not to ask that question in the church, number one. And number two, even if they wanted to ask questions of their husband, they should wait until they get home.”
According to Anderson, women only want birth control so they can be idle, tattling, green-blooded, whorish gossips who love Satan and hate Jesus. Or something.
On top of this misogynist’s blind hatred of the President and downright insane views regarding women, he is a teensy bit of an anti-semite. Anderson’s YouTube channel features a more than 50-part series of what can only be described as horrifically anti-semitic rants, and felt that the topic of The Jews and Their Lies was so important that it deserved a two-part sermon.
“So why in the world do we as Christians think it is wrong to rebuke Judaism?” he complained in one installment of Israel Moments. “Oh, man, we’d better be careful what we say about the Jews. We’d better be careful what we say about that religion. You know they are God’s chosen people.”
Anderson wondered by Christians would invite a Rabbi to speak at their churches. “We need to get back to the teaching of Titus 1,” he told his YouTube audience, “and understand that there are a lot of deceivers, a lot of false prophets out there — especially of the circumcision.”
I was in Phoenix recently and, naturally, I was curious about Pastor Anderson and his hate group masquerading as a church. On Sunday, with Addicting Info’s Nathaniel Downes by my side, I made the journey to Faithful Word Baptist Church in Tempe, Arizona.
Both of us appeared dressed in our Sunday best — I, actually wearing something that was not a t-shirt for once, and Downes in his finest kilt.
The parking lot was a mix of “shocking” and “exactly what one would expect.”
Upon pulling up to the church, Mr. Downes and I noticed a lovely truck advertising Alex Jones’ conspiratorial garbage dump InfoWars parked in the lot.
On the other side of the Bible verse and conspiracy theorist garbage-laden truck was a smaller van, which was, shall we say, a bit more benign in its design.
The church itself looks like a liquor store from the outside, but we learned that when Anderson says that he draws around 100 people to each service, he is telling the truth. And when he says that numerous children attend his services, he is also being genuine.
Surprisingly, Anderson was very welcoming and greeted us warmly at the door before inviting us inside. We took a seat in the back, as we had arrived a moment after the service had begun.
The service itself was rather tame, dealing with the topic of temptation.[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qC93Y8bJ1QE?rel=0&showinfo=0&w=640&h=360]
While Anderson twisted the words of the Bible in his typical fashion, it seemed as though he has been trying to tone things down a bit since the media firestorm following his December remarks regarding AIDS…and gay people…and mass extermination:
And that, my friend, is the cure for AIDS. It was right there in the Bible all along — 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.
In fact, only one horrific remark was made the entire time we were present. A bald gentleman with tattoos and wearing multi-fiber blends (both prohibited in Leviticus) whispered (loudly) to his tattooed wife that my companion, who has been happily married (to a woman) for more than ten years and has multiple children, is a “faggot.” Apparently, he had never seen a kilt before.
After the service, I spoke to a couple of Anderson’s congregants. They were somewhat nice to me, but broke off contact after realizing that I was one of those who writes unfavorable things about their anti-gay messiah.
Anderson and I spoke briefly, and I was surprised by a couple things: First, aside from the horrific bigotry, he was very likable. I found Anderson to be a genuinely nice person who has possessed antiquated and horrible viewpoints for far too long. No matter who he hates, it is clear that he genuinely loves his congregation, in any case. No matter how “nice” he is, however, there is no excuse for his proliferation of hatred.
Secondly, I had pictured him as a Tea Party sort. Shockingly, the Tea Party is too extreme even for this particular homophobic, misogynist, anti-semite. Anderson told me that while he initially supported the Tea Party, he decided he was done when he heard Sarah Palin was involved.
All-in-all, I was impressed by Anderson’s ability to be not only civil — but to warmly welcome me into his church despite my open condemnation of everything for which he stands.