A few weeks ago, a story surfaced in the media about Pastor Steve Anderson of Faithful Word Baptist Church in Arizona. In a sermon entitled, “Why I Hate Barack Obama”, Pastor Steve Anderson of Arizona, stated, “… you’re going to tell me that I’m supposed to pray for the socialist devil, murderer, infanticide, who wants to see young children and he wants to see babies killed through abortion and partial-birth abortion and all these different things—you’re gonna tell me I’m supposed to pray for God to give him a good lunch tomorrow while he’s in Phoenix, Arizona? “Nope. I’m not gonna pray for his good. I’m going to pray that he dies and goes to hell.”
Clips and excerpts from this sermon can be found here and there online, but this story was for the most part short-lived in the media. The pastor went on for over an hour, ranting anti-gay themes and proclaiming justified hatred of “faggots”. Two major issues have been raised in response to this sermon, the freedom of speech and whether or not Pastor Steve Anderson can be reasonably viewed as inciting violence. Supporters of his views are using religion to soften the blow, but the same was not done for Reverand Jeremiah Wright, former pastor of President Barack Obama. Clips of a sermon by Reverend Wright, pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, caused great controversy during President Barack Obama’s presidential campaign, when Reverend Wright reportedly said, “God damn America.”
In no way am I saying one preacher is right and the other is wrong. I am simply questioning the motives of the media in unequal coverage of the two stories. There is still news coverage of last year’s incident with Reverend Wright, but when searching for information about Pastor Anderson the leads are fewer and more far between.
This is not an issue of race or religion, but a matter of what is considered newsworthy. Reverend Wright was speaking against the country, while Pastor Anderson spoke against not only the views of a person and a party, but against the President of the United States of America. He blatantly stated, “He should die and go to hell.” Both scripturally and politically one could make arguments favoring or opposing either of the statements from these preachers’ sermons, but it is difficult to form an opinion about something you haven’t been informed of.
With declining approval ratings due to the health care debate among other issues, this could potentially be a popular opinion, but when does one go too far in expressing their opinion? A man of the cloth should be praying for the leader of the free world, not praying for his death and condemning him to hell. This not only made question the role of religion in politics, but also the role media plays in politics. The secrecy and broadcast of some issues over others is unfair and damaging to the political climate of our society. We can not always be certain that the media is giving us all of the information, but we can do our own research and create our own opinions more responsibly and effectively.