Anti-gay Tempe pastor Steven Anderson went to Orlando last week on the anniversary of the Pulse nightclub shooting, one of the deadliest mass shootings in U.S. history, for a “Make America Straight Again” conference. Videos filmed by Truth Wins Out, a nonprofit that fights anti-gay religious extremism, capture Anderson telling people who came to protest the conference, “Get AIDS and die.”
“I wish that every homo would die,” Anderson said. “I want my children to live in a country where they don’t have to look at these freaks every day and have their eyes corrupted. They’re defiling everybody by showing us this filth and corrupting everybody. They make these stupid distinctions — LGBT — it’s all one category: sodomites.”
The bigoted pastor, who previously praised the Pulse nightclub shooter for leaving “50 less pedophiles in this world,” made headlines last month for becoming the first person to be banned from Ireland. He has already been banned from dozens of other countries, but here in Arizona, his strip-mall-based Faithful Word Baptist Church, 2741 West Southern Avenue in Tempe, holds three meetings a week and claims to have 300 members.
“If I had a button right here on this pulpit, I could just push this button and every fag would just fall over dead. I would push it until it breaks,” Anderson said in one of his livestreams. His hateful remark was met with chuckles from his congregation.
The “Make America Straight Again” conference was organized by another strip-mall priest, Patrick Boyle, from Clermont, about 20 miles west of Orlando. In a video promoting the event, Boyle said, “We’ve chosen this place and time because this is their gay pride week in Orlando and they’re going to be out proud of who they are.”
Video captured by the Orlando Sentinel shows Anderson telling protesters, “If you’re hanging around with a bunch of fags and weirdos you’re going to be gay with them … This isn’t love, it’s perversion.”
“San Francisco was built by straight people, now people are taking a crap in the street! You walk a few hundred feet and you step in human excrement!” Anderson shouts later in the video.
The Lake County Sheriff’s Office said they refused a request for protection from Boyle’s church.
“It appears as though the organization disparages homosexuals and will be targeting them during the group’s conference this week,” said a spokesperson for the department. “The fact that the timing of this conference coincides with the three-year anniversary of the Pulse nightclub shooting in nearby Orlando did not go unnoticed by our staff. We felt as though the timing of the conference is in poor taste and we chose not to allow the group to hire our deputies.”
In one of his speeches during the conference, Anderson reportedly said, “This should be obvious to every rational person: Iit doesn’t matter what angle we look at this from, homos are pedophiles.”
Anderson has previously called the Holocaust a “hoax,” prayed for the death of President Obama, called on the government to execute gay people, prayed for Caitlyn Jenner’s heart to explode, and said victims of the Paris attacks deserved their fate for attending the Eagles of Death Metal concert.