The Arizona Republic reports…
“About 100 people led a peaceful demonstration outside Faithful Word Baptist Church in Tempe on Sunday morning to protest Pastor Steven Anderson, who achieved Internet fame last week when he said killing gays is God’s way to rid the world of AIDS.
Protesters gathered on the sidewalk beside the church in a strip mall near 48th Street and Southern Avenue before Anderson’s Sunday morning sermon. With them, they carried signs with messages including “Teach love not hate,” “Jesus loves everybody” and “AIDS is not a gay disease.”
“He is not the voice of Arizona,” said Samantha Pstross, chair of the D-26 Democrats, a political organization that helped organize the demonstration. “We’re here to stand up and say this is wrong. Love wins. Love is greater than hate.”
Standing in the shade outside the front door of his church, Anderson ate yogurt and watched the demonstrators with members of his congregation.
“A lot of businesses pay to have sign-wavers. I’m just glad people know we’re here,” Anderson said. “I’m not ashamed of what I believe, I’ll preach it from the house tops. And anybody who wants to read it can go to the Dollar Tree and pick up a Bible.”
Anderson said his message is clearly stated in the Bible, Leviticus 20:13, which states that a man who has sexual relations with another man is to be put to death.
The demonstration began to swell near 10 a.m., as local pastor Rev. Jeffrey Dirrim gave communion to protesters and Rabbi Dean Shapiro, of Temple Emanuel of Tempe, read a prepared statement to the crowd.
“We deplore this pastor’s hate speech and calls for violence, especially when these statements come from a man who purports to be a faith leader in our community and especially during this season when we long for peace, justice and reconciliation,” Shapiro said.
Anderson said that he does not advocate violence.
“I’m not saying people should take the law into their own hands,” he said. “I do think it should be against the law (to be gay).”
More than a hundred people gathered inside Faithful Word Baptist Church to listen to Anderson’s Sunday morning sermon, the subject of which was the cost of serving Jesus.
“We as Christians need to be willing to make some sacrifices and face some persecution,” Anderson said.
“Ninety percent of preachers believe what I’m saying but don’t have the guts to say it.”
Before the sermon began, [congregants] inside the Faithful Word Baptist Church sang “Sound the Battle Cry,”
“Rouse, then, soldiers, rally round the banner,
Ready, steady, pass the word along;
Onward, forward, shout aloud, “Hosanna!”
Christ is Captain of the mighty throng.”
While outside, demonstrators sang Buffalo Springfield’s “For What it’s Worth,”
“What a field day for the heat.
A thousand people in the street
Singin’ songs and a-carryin’ signs
Mostly sayin’ hooray for our side.
It’s time we stop.
Hey, what’s that sound?
Everybody look what’s goin’ down.”