PHOENIX — The Arizona pastor who has gained national attention for declaring that putting all gay people to death would lead to an “AIDS-free world by Christmas,” is defending his recent anti-gay sermon, in which he also claims “all homos are pedophiles.”
In an interview with Mark Curtis of Phoenix station KPNX-TV, Steven Anderson, pastor of the Faithful Word Baptist Church in Tempe, Ariz., says that “according to the Bible, homosexuality is a capital crime,” and that he’s simply preaching God’s word.
“Have you always hated gay people,” asks Curtis as he opens the interview. “When I heard your sermon, it sounded like the rantings of someone who was either a hate monger or a religious zealot, and I’m wondering, which are you?”
“I’m a religious zealot,” replies Anderson, as he cites a Biblical verse in Leviticus saying those who engage in homosexuality should be put to death.
Anderson also rejects the idea that one of his seven children could be gay, saying that’s “not going to happen.” But would he want a gay child of his dead?
“That’s just a fallacy that it just turns out that some people are gay,” says Anderson, claiming that people become gay when they reject God.
He does, however, acknowledge that if he did have a gay son or daughter, he would have nothing to do with them.
On Sunday, about 100 people led a peaceful demonstration outside Anderson’s church, carrying signs with messages including “Teach love not hate,” “Jesus loves everybody” and “AIDS is not a gay disease.”
Article continues below“He is not the voice of Arizona,” said Samantha Pstross, chair of the D-26 Democrats, a political organization that helped organize the demonstration. “We’re here to stand up and say this is wrong. Love wins. Love is greater than hate.”
Standing in the shade outside the front door of his church, Anderson ate yogurt and watched the demonstrators with members of his congregation.
Anderson’s church, established in 2005 and which operates from a storefront in a Tempe strip mall, is listed as an anti-gay hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.