December 27, 2014

A Record of Christian Hate

Hemant Mehta (Friendly Atheist) brings us news of Pastor Steven Anderson's (Faithful Word Baptist Church, Tempe, AZ) hate-filled film, AIDS: The Judgment of God. Pastor Anderson is a Christian extremist, but that does not mean that the views he espouses are not shared by plenty of other evangelical fundamentalist Christians. Like other Christian extremists, he has his fans, supporters, and people who share his bigotry even if they've never heard of him.

This video and others like it may be worth archiving to provide a record of hate for use in another decade or so when Christians are denying that they were ever anything but supportive of LGBT equality, same-sex marriage, and the like. Come to think of it, this is one of the many worthwhile things most atheist bloggers are contributing to the historical record. The sort of denial many of us are predicting will be a bit more difficult to pull off when we have so thoroughly documented what contemporary Christian extremists have been preaching.

Some will undoubtedly object that we are making a mistake by publicizing this video. They will insist that it should be buried because the ideas it promotes are despicable and wrong. While I agree with the characterization of the content as despicable and wrong, I think that bad ideas need to be exposed to the light of day. They are there whether we want to acknowledge them or not. Ignoring them has never made them disappear. By revealing their presence, we are making it more likely that they will receive critical attention. And in the historical context, we are providing a record of the views of a surprisingly influential segment of the population at one point in time. That seems like a reasonable trade-off to balance against the fact that many will be offended by the contents.