A minister caused a firestorm last month by calling on followers to pray to God to kill the president. Frederick Clarkson says now Neal Horsley, a man he's covered for the past decade, wants to take the minister's prayer campaign national.
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Here's today's update:
Anti-Abortion Provocateur Takes Aim at ObamaBy Frederick Clarkson
Editor's Note: The following is a commentary. The opinions expressed are those of the author and not necessarily the views of Women's Enews.
(WOMENSENEWS)--Rev. Steven L. Anderson is the pastor of the man who made national news for carrying an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle at an August protest outside a hall where President Barack Obama was speaking to the Veterans of Foreign Wars convention in Phoenix.
Anderson made news himself when it turned out during what is termed an "imprecatory prayer," he had, the night before, repeatedly called on God to kill the president because, he believes that among other things, Obama is leading the nation away from God's laws; has "wrought lewdness in America" and especially, because by virtue of being prochoice, Obama is a "murderer."
Nationally known anti-abortion militant Neal Horsley, of Carrollton, Georgia, thinks Anderson has the right idea -- except that he thinks Christians shouldn't wait for God to do the job.
On a new Web site called ImprecatoryPrayer.com, apparently launched last week, he links to the audio of the inflammatory sermon on Anderson's Web site, encourages readers to click on it. "Listen here, to Pastor Steven Anderson," Horsley writes, "as he tells people what God wants His people to do about Barack O'Bama (sic)."
"Don't Listen To This," Horsley warns, "Unless You Want To Do the Will of God."
Anderson doesn't actually exhort people to assassinate the president, although he may come close. But no matter.
Horsley is busy updating the tactics of threat and intimidation he has used for more than a decade against abortion providers, pro-choice activists, presidents and judges.
This time he's featuring Obama, and possibly, in his sense of timing, exploiting the political hailstorm over health care reform.
Horsley is nothing if not a showman and he knows an opportunity when he sees one. Thanks in part (but not only) to Anderson, imprecatory prayer, calling on God to smite his enemies, as King David did in the Bible, has become fashionable on the far religious right--and the national media is suddenly paying attention.
Horsley is requesting people to send him video or audio imprecations against the president, or other of God's enemies that he will place on his new Web site. "All you need to do," he writes, "is speak the prayers into a microphone, or better yet, into a videocam recorder, and then send them to me…
"Be as specific as possible" he urges, "in defining who you believe God must destroy and as specific as possible in the means God should use in implementing that destruction."
'Destroying God's Enemies'He calls this a way of bringing "the power of God to bear on this present abomination of desolation, restoring God's law by utterly destroying God's enemies in our midst."
Horsley has a long history of issuing threats that straddle the line of the law, in collaboration with the most militant elements of anti-abortionism, and generating enormous media attention, using the Internet as his soap box.
In the 1990s, Horsley launched his Web site "The Nuremberg Files," in which he listed the names of abortion providers and others he deemed culpable in what he called the abortion holocaust. The names of those killed were crossed out; those wounded were grayed out.
Doctors who had been the subject of "UnWanted" posters in their areas, and who had been targeted by Horsley, sued to stop the threats and won a judgment of $107 million.
Horsley was ultimately required to take down the threatening material
Horsley next launched what he called the Live Web Cam Project, which received considerable national news coverage. This site featured thousands of photographs and some videos of patients, clinic workers and clinic defenders.
Apology for a MurderIn August, Horsley published an essay on his Web site that he describes as an "apology," for Scott Roeder, the man accused of assassinating abortion provider George Tiller on May 31.
Horsley argues that "the pro-life movement incites people to kill abortionists because the pro-life leaders and the pro-life movement--all together--have been so utterly ineffectual as to leave no alternative to any person aroused by the specter of legalized abortion like Scott Roeder was aroused." He calls the failure to stop abortion "the most powerful, driving force in the urge to assassinate abortionists today." Horsley's essay was promoted on Covenant News, which caters to militant antiabortion activism.
Horsley has long been involved in the antiabortion Army of God, and was featured in the 2001 HBO documentary "Soldiers in the Army of God." In the film, Horsley recalled his reaction to the assassination of abortion provider Dr. Barnett Slepian in Amherst, N.Y. Pointing to Slepian's crossed-out name on his computer screen, he said, "When I drew a line through his name, I said 'See, I told ya. There's another one. How many more is it gonna take?'"
"The evidence is at hand," Horsley declared. "There are people out there who [will] go out and blow their brains out."
Horsley's new site seems to be in an early stage of development. If past is prologue, there is likely to be much more.
Frederick Clarkson has written about politics and religion for 25 years. He is the author of "Eternal Hostility: The Struggle Between Theocracy and Democracy;" and most recently, editor of "Dispatches from the Religious Left: the Future of Faith and Politics in America."Women's eNews welcomes your comments. E-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.