Communicating Hate Sucks

September 4, 2009 by

Steven Anderson, pastor of Faithful Word Baptist Church in Tempe, Ariz., recently preached a sermon titled, “Why I Hate Barack Obama.”

Whether you’re for or against President Barack Obama isn’t the point, but this next part is where it gets weird.

“I’m gonna pray that he dies and goes to hell when I go to bed tonight,” Anderson said in the sermon. “That’s what I’m gonna pray.” Anderson has elaborated that he doesn’t condone killing but hopes Obama dies of natural causes so he doesn’t become a martyr. “I’d like to see him die, like Ted Kennedy, of brain cancer.”

This seems like a real live case of Lord, save us from your followers.

When Paul encouraged Timothy to pray for government leaders, I don’t think he had death and eternal damnation in mind. You don’t have to like the president, but this is a long way from the forgiveness and repentance at the heart of Christianity.

If you hate what Obama stands for, pray that God would change his heart, change his mind and change the nation for good. You don’t pray for his death.

All this communicates is hate. Where is the love for your enemies? Where is the compassion? Where is the grace? In a political landscape that’s as heated and polarized as ours is, shouldn’t the church of all places be able to preach love in spite of our differences? Not too long ago the church did preach love in the face of hate and it changed the world.

And apparently this story isn’t weird enough: In an ironic stumper, Anderson and his congregation are now receiving death threats for preaching, um, death.

Post By:

Kevin D. Hendricks

When Kevin isn't busy as the editor of Church Marketing Sucks, he runs his own writing and editing company, Monkey Outta Nowhere. Kevin has been blogging since 1998, runs the hyperlocal site West St. Paul Reader, and has published several books, including 137 Books in One Year: How to Fall in Love With Reading, The Stephanies and all of our church communication books.
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19 Responses to “Communicating Hate Sucks”

  • Tim Archer
    September 4, 2009

    I have high hopes that this man may come to know Christ some day.
    Grace and peace,
    Tim Archer

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  • Kimberly
    September 4, 2009

    Given that this site also spent a fair amount of time lavishing uncritical publicity on the “Bring Your AK-47 to Church” stunt out of KY, I’m glad to see you put this horrifying behavior into context.
    My Rector recently participated in a round table discussion titled “Ballots, Not Bullets” at our local YWCA. When you look at the rhetoric of militia and gun groups constantly espousing the connection between handguns, assault weapons and freedom (i.e., deposing all those “tyrants” that were democratically-elected), there’s a frightening message that the guys with the guns make the rules. That violence, as opposed to debate and elections, is the way to deal with one’s “enemies”.
    Whether praying for someone’s death outright or intimidating political opponents with the threat of violence, you’re not proclaiming Christ.

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  • Mike McVey
    September 4, 2009

    These kinds of things make me ashamed to be a Christian. :(

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  • Jon Allen
    September 4, 2009

    Good stuff.
    That kind of sermon makes me wonder why our culture thinks Christians are hypocrites.

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  • MauraMii
    September 4, 2009

    Jesus Himself NEVER preached this way… He wants ALL of us to know Him and enter His kinghdom. The proof of who we are as Christians is how well we endure those things with which we disagree. Our God is bigger than… bigger than any way we can fathom to finish that statement!

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  • Ann
    September 4, 2009

    A true Christian’s heart will break at the thought of the lost – not to wish for them to be lost.

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  • Shawn
    September 4, 2009

    sad, so sad. why is it always these stories that get all the publicity?

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  • Jim
    September 5, 2009

    wow…here’s one of their book reviews for Craig Gross…

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  • Adam Rushlow
    September 5, 2009

    simply unbelievable.

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  • Rick Wilson
    September 6, 2009

    Glad to see that someone is bringing this behavior out in the open. Great post.
    I was so disappointed during the campaign to see my e-mail box filled with, “prophecies” and other disingenuous information that accused President Obama of being a terrorist, a socialist and a Muslim who is “determined to destroy the America we know.” I ignored most of it but finally confronted an individual sender with several questions.
    Has God given you the spirit of fear? If the Holy Spirit lives inside of you, Who is identified as “the Spirit of truth, how could He direct you to send lies and half truths to others? Is the biggest problem you have with President Obama have to do with his race? Do you see him as ‘other’ or (as Pat Buchanan said) “not one of us?”
    Sadly – some in America who name Jesus as their savior have put Christianity in a Eurocentric box, an unholy alchemy of faith, family, country and blood. It’s a coat that doesn’t fit Him and doesn’t represent who He is. Racism in the body of Christ – which is essentially what is driving all this activity – can’t be tolerated.

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  • John
    September 7, 2009

    I can’t say that this kind of behavior makes me ashamed to be a Christian because this ISN’T Christian behavior. It is evil. And it is pathetic. “Why do you call me Lord and do not do the things that I say?”

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  • Geoff in CT
    September 7, 2009

    I guess I better understand why so many people seem apologetic about going to church.
    Maybe people doing things like this are really just a test of our own faith.

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  • Mike Hosey
    September 8, 2009

    To Kimberly –
    These people don’t make me ashamed to be a Christian. They do, however, make me ashamed to be a human.
    To Rick Wilson:
    “Racism in the body of Christ – which is essentially what is driving all this activity – can’t be tolerated.”
    Rick when you make a statement like that you are essentially calling 50% of the country racist. People can oppose Obama on philosophical grounds. Almost everyone I know who opposes him does so on those grounds. I know of some people who are black who do as well. None of them are racist.
    In terms of Christianity, there are some very legitimate reasons to see him as a sinister figure. (Though I don’t agree with the antichrist stuff.) But individual Christians must make their own political analysis regarding it and vote as to what they think is best, then turn it over to God and let him sort it out.

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  • Kimberly
    September 9, 2009

    Thanks for your post. I think you misdirected your first comment, though, and confused my post and the one below it by Mike McVey.

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  • Brian Wahl
    September 9, 2009

    Good post. All the negativity, criticism, and even hate communicated from the Christian community against our president and his administration can get depressing at times.
    Above all, as Christians, we should communicate one thing – love.
    I wrote about this a bit in a post called “Why I Love Barack Obama”.

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  • Jerry Godsey
    September 9, 2009

    That pastor should immediately be removed from the pulpit. To take a Sunday message, which should be reserved for biblical things, you know, like winning the lost and training and equipping believers,and squander it on out and out hate speech is reprehensible.
    The verbiage and intent behind his message shows he is unfit to lead a church. Sorry if this is harsh, but I cannot stand speech like that in our churches.

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  • Brent
    September 10, 2009

    I’m listening to this sermon right now… I am at a loss for words. He totally missed the whole “love your enemies” part of the gospel. This sort of message only comes out of some jacked up theology.

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  • Shawn
    September 11, 2009

    This is a great post.
    I did not vote for President Obama.
    I do not agree with many of his views.
    I do not share many of his beliefs.
    I have no dislike of him personally.
    I believe he has the right to believe differently than me.
    I would never want to occupy his position and carry the responsibilities that he has.
    I believe we’d all best get the planks out of our own eyes before we worry about the speck of dust in the president’s eyes (or anyone else’s for that matter).
    I believe that God is SOVEREIGN and he has allowed Senator Obama to become President Obama.
    He is the president and as a Christian I am commanded to pray FOR him (not against him).
    I am not ashamed of the name of Christ. Not at all ashamed of the term “Christian” (Christ’s one). I am however often embarrased by those who claim that title as well.
    I believe this other “pastor” needs our prayers. Something is amiss in his heart and this root of bitterness is growing up to defile many.
    May God grant that He would increase and we would decrease.

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  • Christina Wilson
    September 14, 2009

    Great thoughts!
    You said the right thing that hate sin not the sinner.

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