Death to Obama; Death to “Homos”; What’s Next?
When the Obama administration was young, threats against the president were common, and sometimes quite public. One notorious such incident was that of Rev. Steven L. Anderson of Tempe, Arizona, who in 2009 not only repeatedly asked his parishioners to pray that God take out the president, but also encouraged a member of his congregation to openly carry an automatic weapon outside the arena where the president was speaking in Phoenix.Unsurprisingly, Anderson is back in the news — this time calling AIDS a judgement from God and that the cure is to execute gay people as he said God called for in the Book of Leviticus.
In his anti-Obama speech in 2009, Anderson highlighted his belief that the Bible calls for the death penalty for homosexuality, and for abortion.
… you’re going to tell me that I’m supposed to pray for the socialist devil, murderer, infanticide, who wants to see young children and he wants to see babies killed through abortion and partial-birth abortion and all these different things–you’re gonna tell me I’m supposed to pray for God to give him a good lunch tomorrow while he’s in Phoenix, Arizona? Nope. I’m not gonna pray for his good. I’m going to pray that he dies and goes to hell.
Anderson also claimed, among other things, that all gay people are “predators” who are “infecting our society”; that they are on a “rampage”; that the disease is “exploding in growth.” He claimed that homosexuals “recruit” via, among other things, child rape and molestation and that God commanded that homosexuals “should be taken out and killed.”
“[E]very good king of Israel,” he claimed, either “got rid of” or “exterminated… the sodomites…”
He rhetorically asked “how do we stop it?” remarking only that “they have no natural predators,” leaving it to the imagination of the listener as to what might be done. He was then, and remains, an artful demagogue who seems to be well aware of the line between people to be murdered, and directly calling on anyone to act. “The cure for AIDS,” Anderson declared in his sermon that has once again made him an internet tabloid star, “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.”
This was first reported by the web site If You Only News, which outlines Anderson’s history of anti-Jewish, and-woman, anti-gay and anti-Obama demagoguery, and has been further reported by among others, Raw Story.
At the time Anderson issued imprecatory prayers against President Obama in 2009, he was active in the far right Constitution Party, many of whose members tend to share his vigilante theocratic views. The 2004 presidential candidate of the Constitution Party was, of course, Michael Peroutka, who later left the party, and is now a newly elected Republican member of the Anne Arundel County, Maryland, county council. Peroutka’s pastor, David Whitney who holds similar views, also ran for council this year, unsuccessfully, as a Democrat.
It would be tempting to dismiss all this, and say that there are always such people out there and that it isn’t really much to worry about. While it is true, that there are and there probably always will be such people, groups, and violent ideologies — it is also true that things do not stay the same, and there are dynamic moments in history, where violence erupts. Very often the people involved have been planning and waiting for their moment for a long time.
In fact, there have been many rumblings of potential theocratic violence in recent years. In recent months we have seen some notable paramilitary organizing efforts, from the secret unit of the Neo-Confederate, League of the South, to the openly armed vigilante group Oathkeepers who recently showed-up in Ferguson; and which helped to organize the armed showdown at the Bundy Ranch in Nevada, last summer.
While it is possible society will be able to neutralize these and other such violence prone groups and the ideologies that drive them. It is also possible that we won’t