A Tempe pastor known for anti-Semitic and homophobic views is the first person to be banned from Ireland by exclusion powers.
Pastor Steven L. Anderson, 37, is the founder and pastor of Faithful Word Baptist Church, which first opened its doors in 2005. Notorious for frequent anti-Semitic sermons, Anderson planned to preach on May 26.
In 2014, Anderson posted several anti-Semitic videos with titles such as “The Jews and their Lies,” “Jews are Anti-Christs,” “The Holocaust Hoax” and “The Jews Killed Jesus.” Those videos were taken down. That same year, he produced a documentary titled “Marching to Zion.” The documentary features four Phoenix-area rabbis who say they were a part of the film under false pretenses. Anderson had told them that the movie would be about the history and culture of Judaism.
In a promotional video Anderson said that the documentary has two purposes: “To prove that the Jews are no longer God’s chosen people in the New Testament but that we as believers, we as Christians, are God’s chosen people. And secondly, to prove that the modern-day nation of Israel, over in the Middle East, is a complete fraud.”
Anderson also has a history of homophobic behavior. He referred to the 49 victims of the Orlando Pulse shooting as “a bunch of pedophiles,” said that killing gays was God’s way of getting rid of the AIDS virus and has frequently attacked the LGBTQ community in his sermons.
The Southern Poverty Law Center lists the Faithful Word Baptist Church as an anti-Gay hate group. The church claims to have more than 300 regular attendees and holds upwards of three meetings a week.
In 2009, Anderson famously called for the death of former President Barack Obama in a sermon. He also referred to Obama as “one of the rulers of darkness in this world.”
Ireland is not the first country that has banned Anderson. The pastor has been barred from stepping foot in the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, South Africa and Canada, among others. His announcement about coming to Ireland was met with immediate backlash; an online petition to have him banned from the country was posted shortly after his intentions to come to Ireland went public. The petition received over 14,000 signatures before Anderson was banned.
Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan signed the exclusion order on Sunday, May 12, with immediate effect under the Immigration Act 1999. Section 4 of the Act allows the Minister to sign an exclusion order if he “considers it necessary in the interest of national security or public policy.”
“I have signed the exclusion order under my executive powers in the interests of public policy,” Flanagan said. JN