In a shocking, hateful rant, an extremist Tempe pastor attacked the victims of the Paris attack, blaming them for their own senseless murders because they were "devil worshipers."
Pastor Steven Anderson of Faithful Word Baptist Church in Tempe also denounced France as a “sinful nation” in a Sunday sermon and online video.
“When you go to a concert of death metal, somebody might get killed,” Anderson preached. “You know, you’re worshiping death, and then, all of a sudden, people start dying!”
Anderson was referencing the bloodiest of the Paris terrorists attack at the Le Bataclan Theatre, where the American band Eagles of Death Metal was performing. During the concert, 89 people were killed, including the band’s merchandise manager. In total, the coordinated ISIS attacks Friday evening left 129 dead and 350 injured.
“Well, you love death so much, you bought the ticket, you love worshiping Satan! Well, let’s have some of Satan’s religion come in and shoot you!” Anderson continued yelling, while congregants can be heard murmuring their approval in the background. “I mean, that’s what these people should think about before they go into such a wicked concert!”
During the sermon, Anderson seemed unaware that the Eagles of Death Metal isn’t even a death-metal band. The name is satirical, and their sound is described as country rock (you know, like the more famous Eagles).
Later in the sermon, Anderson also described the band as “total sodomite-looking freaks” and condemned frontman Jesse Hughes.
“And look, I’m not condoning what these Islamic murderers did — they’re wicked. They’re murders. But you know what? Nobody should be at a concert worshiping Satan with this drug-pushing hillbilly faggot. And that’s what he is," Anderson said gleefully. “You know, but nobody thinks about that. It’s just, ‘Oh no, let’s side, let’s stand with France.’”
Anderson went on to explain why he felt France was a “sinful, wicked nation” because it condones adultery and abortion.
“All of us over here in Tempe, Arizona… we’re supposed to be mourning today about these 120-some people who died in France, but we’re not supposed to give a rip about the 500 babies that France aborted today? That doesn’t matter?” Anderson said, citing inaccurate statistics.
The sermon was just the latest in a hateful history for the pastor who has previously prayed for President Obama to be murdered, called for the execution of all homosexuals by the government, and described all Holocaust survivors "paid liars."
On Tuesday, a meme was posted to his church’s Facebook page with a picture of concertgoers captioned: “Glorifies death and Satan, whines about it when death and Satan show up.”
Anderson did not respond to a request for comment from New Times.
National and local organizations assisting France during the crisis expressed disgust at the pastor.
“Pastor Anderson’s sermon demonstrates a weak grasp of morality, twisted by hate,” Jake Bennett, regional director of the Arizona Anti-Defamation League tells New Times. “Murder and terrorism are never acceptable. Period. Even if you think the targets were immoral. Even if you sympathize with the perpetrator’s political goals.”
The ADL is dedicated to promoting religious freedom and civil rights.
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“[The] ADL deplores and condemns unequivocally the crimes committed by the terrorists in Paris and the religious intolerance and extremism that they stand for,” Bennett says. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to the citizens of Paris and victims of terrorism everywhere.”
Meanwhile, Eagles of Death Metal made its first comments about the attacks Wednesday in a statement posted on its Facebook and Twitter accounts.
“Although bonded in grief with the victims, the fans, the families, the citizens of Paris and all those affected by terrorism,” Eagles of Death Metal wrote, “We are proud to stand together, with our new family, now united by a common goal of love and compassion.”