A fundamentalist Baptist preacher in Arizona is making some headlines for wishing, from his pulpit, that President Obama would contract brain cancer and die, “…like Ted Kennedy.” He also notes that his evening prayer is for the president to die and go to hell. You may think I am making this up, but I am not:
It may be easy to discount someone like Anderson as an extremist that no one really pays much attention to, but he does matter. He matters because his hateful rhetoric may push someone who is on the edge, over the edge. For example, one of Anderson’s church members brought a gun to an event where President Obama was speaking recently.
As someone interested in politics and religion, I find Mr. Anderson’s comments outrageous. In him you have a Christian minister calling for the death of the President by way of terminal brain cancer – and that the afterlife be hot, rather than joyful for the president. One of the tenants of fundamentalism is literalism, where the words of the bible are taken literally. I am not sure how Mr. Anderson reconciles his hateful speech with the words from Matthew 15, in which Jesus speaks to Peter about a parable he had just told:
“Are you still so dull?” Jesus asked them. “Don’t you see that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and then out of the body? But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these make a man ‘unclean.’ For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. These are what make a man ‘unclean’; but eating with unwashed hands does not make him ‘unclean.’ ”
I never thought I’d be quoting from sacred texts here at Care2 (due to my areas of interest), but in this case it seems appropriate. Mr. Anderson, please stop the hate. Jesus said it isn’t good for such hateful, evil things to come out of a person.
Our freedom of speech is protected under the Constitution, but with that right, one must also exercise responsibility. Mr. Obama is a political figure that you may disagree with, but none of us have the right to wish death on another person. Especially not under some authority given by God.
Screenshot from youtube video