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.