Over the last several weeks Arizona has made its way to the national spotlight. No, not because the Cardinals are kicking off their 2009 NFL Football season after an unforeseen run at the Super Bowl last year but for reasons not to be proud of.
Last month, the President of the United States of America, Barack Obama visited our great State to address Veterans of War at their annual conference. At that time Pastor Steven L. Anderson, leader of the Faithful Word Baptist Church in Tempe, AZ preached a sermon titled “Why I Hate Barack Obama.” In this sermon he prayed for the death of President Obama. Not to be out done, Mr. Tom Horne, State Superintendant of Public Instruction makes the suggestion there is a “worshipful tone of the school children listening to Obama’s speech.”
Horne then goes further to support the idea of having our children avoid listening to the President of the United States of America. Let’s talk first about the “pseudo pastor” Steven L. Anderson. As a newspaper publisher I will fight for the right to free speech, however publicly praying for the death of the President of the United States of America, deserves more than a just a brief discussion. In this day and age of easing racial tension in our country, we cannot dismiss this pastor as just a “crazy hillbilly.”
Last year, comedian Wanda Sykes joked that she wished Rush Limbaugh had kidney failure and dies. I have not seen so many FOX TV analysts and right wing conservatives come out of the hills in my life to comment on her remarks. Immediately they demanded an apology from Ms. Sykes for saying such a “cruel” thing. Can anything be more cruel than praying for death of another human being, let alone the President of the United States of America by a pastor no less! Where are those right wingers and FOX analyst now? We must investigate this pastor and his cult of followers. Any threat to the President is a threat to us all.
Moving on to Superintendant Horne and his ridiculous suggestion that our students not listen to the address of President Obama, there was no public outcry when President George H. Bush addressed the students of our country. Many citizens did not agree with his programs and policies, but never was there a protest of this nature.
There seems to be not only a lack of respect for the Offi ce of the President, but also a hint of racism in Mr. Horne’s attitude as well. Horne is well documented for not supporting programs in our state schools that allow all students to learn about different cultures. His fi ght to end ethnic studies programs is highly publicized.
Clearly Pastor Anderson and Mr. Horne are only two citizens of our great state. I applaud and support all of our citizens that respect the offi ce of the President and what it stands for. As a native Arizonan and proud member of the Arizona State House of Representatives, I am constantly promoting the great attributes of our state! The citizens of Arizona are great proud people. We must not allow these two individuals make headlines that will tarnish our reputation! Our country has made great strides toward healing the wounds of Jim Crow laws and racial inequities.
Unfortunately, these two examples underscore the importance of more dialogue. We have come this far by faith, strength, unity and the grace of God. Let us continue on the path to a place where we can all live together in peace and free from hate. President Obama inherited a lot of the problems we now face in our country. Now is the time to embrace our President and support his efforts to get the country back on the path to economic security. Stand Strong President Obama, Arizona does support you!