About 35 million people worldwide (one in every 200 humans) are infected with AIDS, according to the United Nations. The UN has committed to ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo wants to end it in his state by 2020.
At least one fundamentalist pastor says we can end it “by Christmas”.
Steven Anderson, pastor of Faithful Word Baptist Church in Tempe, Arizona, is already known for saying controversial things from the pulpit. In 2009, he said he hated Barack Obama and wished he would die, telling his congregation to check Psalm 58, which asks God — referring to “the wicked” — to “break the teeth in their mouths… May they be like a slug that melts away as it moves along, like a stillborn child that never sees the sun… The righteous will be glad when they are avenged, when they dip their feet in the blood of the wicked.” He got a visit from the Secret Service over that one. Earlier this year, he made a big deal about a couple of Bible verses that say women should be “silent”, adding “they should wait until they get home” to speak to their husbands, ignoring a larger volume of scripture that refers to women preaching and prophesying (Luke 2:36-38, Acts 21:8-9, Acts 2:17, Joel 2:28, Exodus 15:20-21, and more).
So it’s really no surprise that he should come out in favor of executing “the homos”.
What does surprise me is Anderson’s use of the word “recommends” when referring to Leviticus. God didn’t make any recommendations in that book of the Bible (or any other, that I’m aware of). He issued edicts, commands. Like the one in Lev. 20:9: “Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death. Because they have cursed their father or mother, their blood will be on their own head.” Or the next verse: “If a man commits adultery with another man’s wife — with the wife of his neighbor — both the adulterer and the adulteress are to be put to death.” Or 20:18: “‘If a man has sexual relations with a woman during her monthly period, he has exposed the source of her flow, and she has also uncovered it. Both of them are to be cut off from their people.” Or the last verse in the chapter: “A man or woman who is a medium or spiritist among you must be put to death. You are to stone them; their blood will be on their own heads.”
I have not listened to every Anderson sermon, so I don’t know whether he also pushes for the execution of cursing children, adulterers, or mediums, or the deportation of people who have sex during the woman’s period. I will guess that he hasn’t suggested those verses are for today — if I’m incorrect, and you have evidence that he has called for the execution of children who curse their parents, please send me a link. So what he’s done, and what many preachers and fundamentalist Christians have done when attacking the idea of homosexuality, is choose one verse out of a chapter filled with death-penalty-deserving sins and say that this one particular command of God from the Old Testament should be followed to the letter.
I don’t know whether Anderson or others of his ilk advocate burning to death a prostitute whose father is a priest (Lev. 21:9). Or whether they regularly burn one-year-old defectless lambs the day after the Sabbath (Lev. 23:11-12), excommunicate and deport anyone who works on the Day of Atonement (Lev. 23:29), put to death anyone who blasphemes the name of the Lord (Lev. 24:15-16), or meticulously makes sure someone who caused injury has the same injury caused to them (Lev. 24:19-20).
Because if you don’t, if you don’t practice and preach these other “recommendations” of God from Leviticus, and the hundreds I skipped, then you have to shut your hateful mouth about Leviticus 20:13. Because your hypocrisy makes it clear that you’re not out to obey God’s commands from Leviticus (if you were, you would), but that you’re out to disparage a person who’s different from you, an entire group of people who are different from you, and that you’re doing it out of a sick, unexplainable hatred that you really should quit telling people about.