I'm concerned about hate-filled attacks on all minority populations, regardless of what group is on the receiving end.
Yet I'm puzzled at the disparate reactions to two targets of wacko Tempe Pastor Steven Anderson's hate-filled sermons: Jews and gays.
Recently, the Anti-Defamation League of Arizona alerted folks that Anderson had added Jews to the long list of people he hates on.A clip of Anderson's latest tirade against the LGBT community
Anderson achieved a real coup for an anti-Semite: He snookered four local rabbis into appearing in an upcoming anti-Semitic documentary, Marching to Zion.
One of the rabbis is an 83-year-old Holocaust survivor.
When I called in to a recent episode of Anderson's live YouTube show, I asked him how he got the four rabbis to participate.
Pretty despicable, eh?
The guy wants attention, and he gets it by making extreme statements.
When he recently put up yet another video about killing gay folks, talking about how AIDS was the judgment of God and if all gays were killed, there would be no more AIDS, he joked on the Facebook page for his Faithful Word Baptist Church, "Make this viral! (no pun intended - haha)."
The liberal news site The Raw Story posted Anderson's video, and the story did indeed go viral.
Other outlets, taking their cues from the well-read D.C.-based website, have done their own versions of the gay-bashing story.
In response to his latest forays into the public realm, some Phoenix-area residents are organizing a protest of the pastor's comments.
One is being organized by Leonard Clark, who protested the pastor back in 2009, when Anderson was preaching hate against President Obama.
Anderson deserves the condemnation, though I have no doubt that he also will be rewarded for his rants with financial support from fellow haters, not to mention pageviews.
But Anderson's comments about gays, while disgusting, are old hat for him.
Interestingly, his anti-Semitic tirades have earned him somewhat less condemnation, so far.
True, I haven't caught him calling for the killing of Jews.
Still, I have to wonder, is anti-Semitism more accepted, generally, than attacks on the LGBT community? Or should we chalk it up to the whims of the Internet?
I don't know, but the number of people who agree with Anderson on how to treat both gays and Jews is unsettling.
As is the fact, which I've noted before, that Anderson's small congregation almost always has young children present.
I'm sure some will be tempted to dismiss Anderson as a clown, and say we should not direct any more eyeballs his way.
But I would argue that we do need to mark his words and his actions.
He has a First Amendment right to say outrageous, repulsive things, to preach hate against minorities.
Still, one man can do a lot of damage with the Internet as a megaphone, particularly someone who is as erratic and committed to bigotry as Anderson.
There is always the danger that the person given to acting out for attention, as Anderson once did at a Border Patrol checkpoint, may do so in unexpected ways.
Arizona has had a number of tragedies in the last few years, which have been the handiwork of extremists who've spewed hate and been regarded as fools for their antics.
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Fools just like Pastor Steven Anderson.
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