Arizona State University explains role of homophobic and sexist pastor guest speaker

by Michael Nugent on January 7, 2013

Arizona State University has replied to my query about why they gave Pastor Steven Anderson (the man who asked his parishioners to pray that God would kill President Obama with brain cancer) a platform to preach homophobic and sexist hate speech to its students.

Here’s a video that Anderson published on YouTube last year, in which he tells ASU students that homosexuals are already doomed to hell, and that it is a myth that God loves everybody. As an aside, there is an amusing tell at about 4:30 when he starts talking about animals being homosexual, and his legs start involuntarily swinging from side to side under the table.

Anderson used video titles on YouTube such as “ASU: Born That Way?” and “ASU: A Woman’s Place is in the Home.”

The University was aware that this class had been videotaped, but was unaware that it had been posted on YouTube with these titles.

The University has now asked Anderson to change the titles to accurately reflect that he was guest speaking at the University. Anderson has done this with the written video titles, but the original titles still remain within the videos themselves.

The University has also clarified the context in which he was guest speaking. Unsurprisingly, Anderson himself does not highlight this context.

Anderson was actually a guest speaker in a class titled “Religious Extremism: Science, Sex and Violence.”

The course explored religious extremism, with the object “to gain a deeper understanding of the epistemic, metaphysical, and moral assumptions and arguments underlying the ideas and actions that strike those outside of extremist communities as ‘crazy’ and ‘irrational’”.

I would like to thank Arizona State University for clarifying this matter. It is a constructive response that reflects well on the University and its policies, and it counters the misleading spin that Pastor Anderson put on his guest speaking about his religious extremism.

Below is my letter to the University, the University’s reply, and some quotes (unrelated to this incident) by Pastor Steven Anderson to illustrate the extent of his homophobia and sexism, and his general detachment from reality.

My letter to Arizona State University

Dear President,

I am writing to ask why ASU has provided a respectable platform for a Christian Pastor to preach homophobic and sexist hate speech in one of your classrooms, to publish that hate speech online, to boast online that he called one of your students a pedophile and upset him so much that he ran out of the classroom, and to say that he was supported in doing this by one of your teachers.

I am asking ASU to examine this issue as a violation of your nondiscrimination policy as described in your academic affairs manual at ACD 401, to also examine its impact on the reputation of your university nationally and internationally, and to also prevent this person or others from behaving like this on your campus in the future.

Your website creates a very positive impression of ASU as an inclusive university.

Your mission statement commits “to establish ASU as the model for a New American University, measured not by who we exclude, but rather by who we include.” Your President Michael M Crowe says that “ASU’s commitment to inclusivity is central to its mission… and is evident throughout its diverse and talented community.”

You have an Office of Institutional Inclusion, committed to creating an inclusive environment for the campus community. You have a Women and Gender Studies Faculty, with a goal to create an interactive learning environment that values diversity and multiple perspectives. You have an LGBTQA Services unit and you offer a Certificate in LGBT Studies.

You have published an excellent document titled “12 Keys to Creating an Inclusive Classroom Community for LGBTQ Students.” These include using inclusive language, never tolerating abusive language, keeping an eye out for bullying and acting to stop it, and respecting the needs of LGBTQ students.

Despite this, Pastor Steven Anderson of the Faithful World Baptist Church has published the following two videos on YouTube this year, describing them as talks that he gave at ASU, under the titles “ASU: Born That Way?” and “ASU: A Woman’s Place is in the Home.”

Video 1: ASU: Born This Way?

The homophobic hate speech starts at about 5:00. Anderson has been describing homosexuals as people who have been rejected by God and who go after animalistic strange flesh, and a student asks “So, after that point, God no longer loves them as a person?”

Anderson replies: “The Bible… I could give you nineteen scriptures right now that talks abut God hating people. And I could give you a whole list of verses where he says I don’t love these people any more, and in fact I hate them. So this myth that God loves everybody is just that, it’s a myth.”

At about 7:00 Anderson says that “Anybody who remotely calls themselves a Bible-believing Christian agrees that that once people die, and go to Hell, it’s too late for them. Well, I’m just saying that the Bible says in many places that it can become too late for a person before that point, sometimes, if they reject Christ enough. And I would say homosexuals fall into that category.”

A student asks if we are supposed to also hate those people, or should we love them as ourselves as Jesus said, and Anderson replies: “But see, that verse doesn’t say love every single person on this planet as yourself. It says love thy neighbor as thyself,” and he then elaborates: “Is Jeffrey Dahlmer my neighbor? Is Adolf Hitler my neighbor? Then I don’t have to love them, do I? So there you go.”

The comments section under the video provides an even more worrying concern.

In the comments, one person asked: “Was the professor sitting there through this?” and Anderson responded “Yes. In one of his other classes, one of the students confronted me with the fact that they were a homo, and I told him that what he does is disgusting, and that everyone else in the class knows it; they just don’t have the guts to say it. I also told him he was a pedophile, and he ran out of the room upset. The teacher said it was the student’s fault because he already knew where I stood on that subject. What did he expect to happen?!”

Video 2: ASU: A Woman’s Place is in the Home

In this shorter video, Pastor Anderson begins by agreeing (with a students summary of his position) that a woman’s role is to be at home raising their children, and that women should not see male gynecologists or male doctors when giving birth.

He goes on to say that an ObGyn is less knowledgable than a midwife who has not studied professionally, and that “There is nothing that you can learn in a classroom that you can’t learn at home reading a book. Period.”

Pastor Anderson is less overtly hateful towards women in this video than he is towards LGBTQ students in the first video, but the title of the video and his overtly sexist attitude toward women conflict with the stated values of your university.

Conclusion

While you have no control over what happens outside your campus, you should know that Pastor Anderson in 2009 asked his parishioners to pray that God would kill President Obama, by giving him brain cancer so that he would die like Senator Ted Kennedy. And he followed that up with a radio interview in which he called for gay people to be executed, and insisted that the host of the show, Michelangelo Signorile, must be molesting children because he is gay.

Providing this man with a respectable platform to preach his hate speech is inconsistent with your excellently articulated commitments to inclusion on your campus. Its publication on the Internet damages the reputation of ASU throughout the world.

Can you please let me know why you are providing this man with this platform, and what you intend to do to resolve the issue?

Reply from Arizona State University

Mr Nugent,

I am the Dean of Barrett, the Honors College at Arizona State University, and I am writing to answer your email to President Crow asking about Pastor Steven Anderson of the Faithful World Baptist Church and his videos on YouTube that contain “ASU” in their titles.

Thank you for bringing them to our attention, since we had not realized that they were posted at all, and had not realized they were posted with those titles.

The videos were made as Pastor Anderson gave a guest presentation in a course taught last spring 2012, at the ASU Polytechnic campus in an honors class there entitled “Religious Extremism: Science, Sex and Violence.”

The course explored religious extremism, with the object “to gain a deeper understanding of the epistemic, metaphysical, and moral assumptions and arguments underlying the ideas and actions that strike those outside of extremist communities as ‘crazy’ and ‘irrational’”.

The teacher did approve of the videotaping of that one class. All students were asked if they minded the session being taped and they all signed waivers saying they agreed.

The video was made by a private outside company, and the teacher of the class did not know what had become of the video or to what use it was put.

When the teacher heard – because of your email – that it had been posted with the title you mentioned on YouTube, he contacted the pastor and asked that it be made clear that he was guest speaking at ASU, and this has already been changed.

The teacher of the ASU honors class was teaching several classes at a local community college that same spring of 2012, and the incident that you refer to in your email to President Crow, in which the pastor is confronted by a student who later leaves the room, happened at that community college in a different class than the ASU class being videotaped.

Thank you again for making us aware of your concerns.

Sincerely,
Mark Jacobs,
Vice Provost and Dean, Barrett,
Arizona State University

Quotes by Pastor Steven Anderson

Finally, here are ten sample quotes (unrelated to this incident) by Pastor Steven Anderson to illustrate the extent of his homophobia and sexism, and his general detachment from reality.

Pastor Anderson on perverted male gynecologists

“Because of years and years of looking at and touching scores of women inappropriately, the male gynecologist no doubt has a seared conscience and a perverted mind… Any doctor that looks upon and touches a woman’s private parts in his office “hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.”  Sir, if you let your wife go to a male gynecologist, you need to get right with God.”

Pastor Anderson on the Beatles as God-hating communist devils

“If music without drums, syncopation, or a rock beat is acceptable music, then “Yesterday” by the Beatles would be suitable for a Christian. This song has no drums, syncopation, or rock n roll beat – so what’s wrong with it? It doesn’t talk about drugs, illicit behavior, or violence – so what’s wrong with it? What’s wrong with it is the source. It was written by God-hating communist devils. Rock n roll music was pioneered by ungodly sinners like Little Richard, a sodomite filthy animal, and Ray Charles, a heroin addict. The source of rock n roll music is ungodly.”

Pastor Anderson contrasting Letterman and Leno with Jesus

“God, please just help it to be real to us. Help us to realize that David Letterman and Jay Leno just aren’t that funny.  The sitcoms and the TV shows and the movies just aren’t that cool.  The rock music just isn’t that great anymore when we realize that there is a far greater purpose for our lives; to win souls to Jesus Christ.”

Pastor Anderson on sinful sports heroes

“Other Christians only use the television to watch sports, but are the typical athletic superstars of our day the role models we want for our children? Aside from the numerous beer commercials, not to mention the scantily clad cheerleaders at half-time, they are also being taught to idolize whoremongers like Coby Bryant and Michael Jordan, freaks like Dennis Rodman and Magic Johnson, and drug-users like Jose Canseco and Mark McGuire.”

Pastor Anderson on married sodomite perverts who molest children

“Every Sodomite in the Bible is a rapist or molester… A common misconception is that homosexuals are only attracted to and only prey on men. It is clearly seen in the Bible that homosexuals are perverted in other ways and are always bisexual… Just because a man is married and has children does not rule out the fact that he is a sodomite pervert. This is one reason why small children should not be left alone with a man that is outside their immediate family.”

Pastor Anderson on the evils of The Odd Couple

“Consider the show “The Odd Couple” from the 1960’s. Aside from sinful content, we are being exposed to an alternative lifestyle of two men living together as roommates. Genesis 2:24 tells us God’s normal plan, “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” Although neither man in the show is a homosexual, this show was obviously a forerunner of the sitcoms of today which feature homosexual characters.”

Pastor Anderson on Ellen Degeneres and other perverts

“I am not a fool. Don’t tell me that Sodom is not on the TV because it is. I mean, don’t tell me that there is a prime time show that doesn’t have these filthy sodomite queer characters, because it does.  I remember when I was in high school.  I was 17 years old. The show came out Ellen. Ellen, the first… was going to be the first lesbian sitcom. It was ripped off the air. That was in 1999.  That was 1998 or whatever it was.  They ripped it off the air.  And they said, “No.  People couldn’t handle it.” Twelve months later it was back on the air.  And twelve months after that, every prime time show had sodomite characters.  That’s how fast it happened.”

Pastor Anderson on the bunch of queers on the cooking channel

“You say, “Well, I don’t watch that stuff.  I just watch the weather. I just watch the cooking channel.” Those guys cooking on the cooking channel are a bunch of queers.  You know they are. “Oh, you know, I just throw in a little bit of this.” Good night.  Be a man.”

Pastor Anderson on his desire to beat Christopher Lowell

“You say, “Oh, I just like…I just watch the home decorating show.” Oh, good night.  What’s that guys name? This guy was on when I was a teenager.  Christopher Lowell.  And who has ever heard of that guy?  Is that what his name is?  I got the name right?  Christopher Lowell. That gay little piece of trash.  I would like to beat the fire out of him. Somebody needs to beat him with the ugly stick.”

Pastor Anderson comparing hell to being locked in a closet

“And this is what thought entered mind. I thought to myself… I looked over at the closet and I thought to myself, “What if I were locked in that closet for 100 years, nothing to do, nothing to see, the closet is dark.” … And then I thought, “What if you never get out of that closet.” That would be awful, wouldn’t it, just locked in a closet forever and you knew you were never going to get out.”

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

1 Ophelia Benson January 7, 2013 at 7:47 pm

Good job.

As for the pastor – whooooo – “opinions” like that make it tempting to have no opinions at all, to minimize the risk of having vicious ones.

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