All he wants for Christmas is a hippo…no wait, dead “homos”

All he wants for Christmas is a hippo…no wait, dead “homos” December 5, 2014

There is a rabid flurry of posts, tweets and shares about a man who happens to have charge of a small congregation in Arizona who said in a video-taped tirade in front of a small room of people, “Because if you executed the homos like God recommends, you wouldn’t have all this AIDS running rampant.”

I have felt all the feels about his words and the incessant posts about Steven Anderson’s hate speech. To even write his name is incredibly grave for me because to do so I fear I am contributing to his infamy right along with the click-bait profiteers in the media. But after seeing his video (I forced myself to watch) and reading his subsequent rant defending his loathsome behavior, I find I cannot remain silent any longer.

First let me reiterated that I will not contribute to the attention his dark and festering heart desires by including links to the video, his congregation’s website or any other article posted about him. If you would like to learn more, Google is your friend.

Second, for every single post that calls him a pastor – I’m looking at you Raw Story, New Civli Rights, Huffington Post and others, he is NOT a pastor, he is just shy of a terrorist. Stop using the title pastor for him. If you absolutely must use a churchy sounding title to ensure you get clicks (and perpetuate the stereotype that all Christians are homophobic, hateful, crazy asshats) use the word preacher. That is an accurate word for what he does. But be clear, there is nothing pastoral about a man calls for the mass murder of anyone and he sure is hell ain’t a friend of Jesus. STOP. IT. 

Third, if you have posted, clicked, read or listened to his hate speech please step up and accept your moral responsibility to report him to every applicable authority. Report him to YouTube, get his shit shut down. Report him to the FBI, his words are violence-inciting rhetoric, terroristic threats laser beam focused on millions. I have a seen lots of folks say sweet things like “I sure hope someone reports him” or “I hope someone sends his videos to the authorities” or “Someone should should shut him down.” 

Friends, we are ALL that someone. I can share a million powerful quotes, ok I will share one, but either WE decide to take action or we are just popcorn-gorging spectators of the freak show that is this dangerous man. If we are witnesses to a crime and have the capacity to stop it and yet do nothing, we are in collusion with the criminal, we are accessories.

Let not any one pacify his conscience by the delusion that he can do no harm if he takes no part, and forms no opinion. Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends, than that good men should look on and do nothing. – John Stewart Mill, 1867

Lastly, and this is the hardest one of all for me. Underneath my disgust and rage for the egregiousness his words, I feel a tiny spark of light trying to outshine my own dark and human hunger for revenge. This light is compassion.  I feel an aching compassion for the hearts and minds who are ensnared by his ignorance-pandering, fear-mongering, manipulative speeches. I feel a palpable compassion for those who are deeply wounded, yet again by the media profiting off sharing bigoted, dangerous words far wider than they would  have otherwise reached.

But, I also feel a melancholy compassion for Steven Anderson. Simply put, for someone to be so filled with hatred for other humans surely they are sick and wounded themselves. My head tells me he is nothing more than a megalomaniac or worse a sociopath but my heart invites me to consider that he was once a little boy, someone’s son, who somewhere along the way has been formed into the monster who now stands before us. What warped and painful journey has his feet trod? Perhaps he is drowning in his own self-loathing and the only response he knows is to project that onto those who he fears the most, those who represent that which he loathes about himself. 

We may never truly know what has turned him into this hateful, vile man but we can hold a place in our hearts for his brokenness. We can walk with compassion and still expect him to be held accountable for violence-inciting hate speech.

We all can.

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