I’m overdue for a rant.
One of my favorite movie quotes in from Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner. Talking about how they’d taught their daughter about racism, the character played by Katherine Hepburn says; “People who think that way are wrong to think that way. Sometimes hateful, usually stupid, but always, ALWAYS wrong.” I’ve been thinking about that today.
A Tempe, AZ Christian clergyman, Pastor Steven Anderson, says AIDS can be cured by Christmas by killing all the “homos”, just as God “recommends”. It’s hard not to take that personally. His church is about 20 miles from my house.
Perhaps his sermon was timed to coincide with World AIDS Day. Maybe genocide is just how his congregation kicks off Advent every year and he decided 2014 should be the year of the homo. It’s hard to say. I have never attended his church and he makes it clear that I am not welcome there.
According to the CDC, there are 1.2 million Americans living with HIV. Not all are homos. At the same time, best estimates place the number of homos in the U.S. at about 20 million. The methodology used to estimate the number of sodomites is fascinating but that’s a topic for another post. So, looking at the U.S. alone, the good reverend wants to kill 20 million people to “cure” a portion of the 1.2 million infected. He wants to kill 16 people for every one he “cures” The inefficiency is almost as offensive as the contempt for life.
The numbers get even more real when one includes the rest of the planet. I recall being told as a child that; “He has the whole world in his hands” so I can’t imagine the Almighty sees this as a purely American priority. The most recent stats (12/2013) from the World Health Organization advise there are more than 35 million people living with HIV, 3.2 million of them under the age of 15. Are they all homos? That seems unlikely. If the ratio of homos to people infected with HIV is consistent, a leap of faith to be sure, then he advises killing 580 million people (+/-) world wide to cure AIDS, including 50 million children. It’s kind of a Swiftian extrapolation but I am in that kind of mood.
Perhaps all the non-homo infections can be traced back having contact with homos. I’m not sure how killing the village sodomite will cause the non-homo infected to be cured but I guess God can do whatever he wants, being, you know, God and all. At least that seems to be the Word from TLGA’s (the Lord God Almighty) spokesperson in metro Phoenix.
All those non-homos with HIV/AIDS seem to undercut the theory that the disease was a curse from God upon ‘men-who-lie-with-men-as-with-women’ though. The reverend’s flock lives here in Arizona where we believe in the 2nd Amendment (also parts of the 1st, 5th and 10th; the others, not so much.). Whether it’s plagues or assault weapons, I can’t believe the faithful conceive of a God with bad aim.
The reverend may not have too clear an understanding of how infectious diseases work, or of basic arithmetic, but, as a clergyman, he has a clear vision of Christian love and the true spirit of Christmas. That’s what counts, right? I’m confident the children being raised in his church are getting solid moral guidance in their faith.
From this point forward the course of events becomes predictable. Here’s what I envision.
He’s gotten the 15 min of fame he failed to get with his earlier anti-Semitic rhetoric and his prayers for the death of the President. He’ll be condemned on the internet but Fox News and all the Tea Party spokespersons will rally to his defense, wringing their hands and gnashing their teeth about how the ‘gay mafia’ is trying to deny this poor servant of the Lord his freedoms of speech and religious expression.
Ted Cruz will fly over and shake hands with him in front of a flag. Fox will cover it live but position their cameras strategically so viewers won’t notice that everyone in attendance is wearing their “Put the white back in the White House” t-shirts.
Sarah Palin will swoop in for a photo-op outside his church. She’ll paste their picture into the next fund-raising mailer to her “prayer partners” who’ll pony up massive sums to stop another attack upon American values by the godless sodomites. No one will ask when, exactly, genocide became an American value.
The reverend will appear as an honored guest on a nationally-syndicated televangelist’s chat program. They’ll solicit donations to tackle the extraordinary logistics of rounding up and visiting God’s wrath upon 20 millions people in the next three weeks. Hitler was an underachiever compared to God’s missionary to Tempe. But then Der Führer didn’t have access to 21st-century fundraising and technology.
The media will be in a frenzy to follow the reverend’s “Anti-Rainbow” bus tour across the Bible Belt. He’s invite the Duck Dynasty guy, and that baker who was told by Jesus not to bake wedding cakes for lesbians, along for the ride. Anderson will be the ‘must get’ interview for every talking head on Fox.
He’ll cap off his year in the spotlight by being the Keynote speaker at next year’s Family Values Conference where he’ll get a standing ovation. Maybe he’ll get an autographed photo of Rand Paul & Paul Ryan locked in a chaste, ‘thumbs-up’, bromance-style, embrace. If his numbers trend well enough he may get the chance to kiss the rings of both Koch Brothers. Then it’s back to Arizona to start his own televangelism network and his own reality show…not on Bravo.
I shouldn’t paint this minister of the Gospel as a total extremist. Anderson is proposing to kill all the homos, not all the people with HIV/AIDS. Even he can’t make the case that God wants us to kill the sick. He’s not a total crack-pot after all….the minister, I mean.
There are two additional troubling elements of his sermon. When I was a young Southern Baptist lad, I don’t recall God “recommending” anything. Did Moses come down from the mountain with the Ten Recommendations? There were things we were commanded to do and things we were commanded not to do. “Recommended” sounds more ‘warm & fuzzy’. I guess Anderson is trying for a kinder, gentler, fundamentalism…but that still incorporates genocide. That’s a fine line to walk.
Most troubling of all, however, is not what Anderson says (see “…hateful…& …studid…” above). It is the laughter from his congregation. This pastor stood at the podium in a Christian community of faith and espoused killing millions of people, during the Christmas season no less, and the faithful laughed. Is that what people mean by Christian fellowship”? I find it heartbreaking.