An Arizona pastor attending a “Make America Straight Again” event at a Lake County church told a crowd of protesters Saturday that homosexuality was a “perversion” and gay people ruined the city of San Francisco.
Pastor Steven Anderson, who founded Faithful Word Baptist Church in Tempe, spoke to the crowd that gathered near the parking lot outside the Revival Baptist Church of Orlando, which planned the three-day event focusing on homosexuality. The Southern Poverty Law Center has labeled Faithful Word an anti-LGBT hate group.
Pastor Patrick Boyle of the Lake County church has called for the arrest and execution of gays and lesbians and said he is “adamantly opposed” to homosexuality, which he believes should be illegal.
But about 100 people gathered on the edge of the church property along US-27 and across the street in front of a McDonald’s.
A suitcase in tow, Anderson stepped out of the church and confronted the crowd for about a minute, telling them that “if you’re going to be hanging around with a bunch of [expletive] and weirdos, you’re going to be condemned with them.”
He said the city of San Francisco was “built by straight people. Now people [are] taking a crap in the street.”
Protesters repeated the line “love is love” while face-to-face with Anderson and held signs that said “God is love” and “love always wins.”
Anderson started Faithful Word in 2005, according to its website. Its doctrinal statement says its members “believe that homosexuality is a sin and an abomination which God punishes with the death penalty.”
After the 2016 shooting at Pulse Nightclub, Anderson posted a video on Youtube in which he praised the massacre, saying “[t]he good news is that there’s 50 less pedophiles in this world,” the New York Times reported.
A Facebook event organizing the protest of the Make America Straight Again event said it would be a “firm (yet loving) opposition to blatant discrimination and intolerance” and included tips to avoid violence, such as urging attendees not to trespass, provoke people and to remain calm.
Lake County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Lt. John Herrell said Thursday the event “looks like a hate group,” and that the agency refused to hire deputies for off-duty security at the church, rejecting a request from Boyle.
*story by the Orlando Sentinel