An Arizona pastor has drawn the attention of the Secret Service after saying that he prays for the death of President Barack Obama, a Phoenix television station is reporting. Steven Anderson, pastor of the Faithful Word Baptist Church in Tempe, shared that bit of information last month in a sermon entitled “Why I hate Barack Obama.”
“If you want to know how I’d like to see Obama die, I’d like him to die of natural causes,” Anderson explained to KNXV ABC 15. “I don’t want him to be a martyr, we don’t need another holiday. I’d like to see him die, like Ted Kennedy, of brain cancer.”
One congregant said he moved to the area because he agreed with the message of the church. Christopher Broughton said he listened to Anderson’s sermon the day before bringing an AR-15 semi-automatic assault rifle outside an Obama event last month in Phoenix.
“I think we’d be better off if God would send [Obama] where he’s going now instead of later,” Broughton told KNXV. “[Obama] is destroying our country.”
When asked if he was advocating violence against Obama, KNXV reports, Broughton wouldn’t answer the question directly.
“I don’t care how God does it, I’m not going into further detail than that,” said Broughton. “It would be better now than later.”
Anderson’s comments have drawn protests from a group that calls itself People Against Clergy Who Preach Hate. They have also drawn notice from the Secret Service.
“We are aware of Pastor Anderson’s comments and an appropriate follow up will be conducted,” a Secret Service spokesman told KNXV.
Parishioners leaving the Faithful Word Baptist Church Sunday carried not just their Bibles, but guns as well. Anderson said he and his congregation have received death threats after a controversial sermon earlier this month.
“Guns are a great deterrent,” said Anderson. “We haven’t had any violence because people know if they come down here swinging a baseball bat, we’re ready to protect ourselves.”
The anti-Obama sermon so incensed Bill Demski he traveled from his home in Glendale to picket Anderson’s 10:30 a.m. Sunday morning service in Tempe.
“A man of the cloth wants to kill the president, how sick can you get?” asked Demski.
But Anderson said he has no plans to change his message.
“I’m not going to back down, I wouldn’t be worth my salt as a preacher if I let popularity determine what I preach,” said Anderson.
To listen to Anderson’s sermon “Why I Hate Barack Obama,” click here.