Barack Obama becomes a target for hateful elements of religious right
When the Westboro Baptist Church recently held a protest outside of Sasha and Malia Obama's school, anyone who has paid even a minimum of attention to the Church knew that a rather spectular display of malice would be on display.
Fred Phelps and the WBC have long become a symbol for Christians who have chosen to disregard the message of Jesus Christ and worship their own hatred in its stead.
"Quakers?! Are you frigging kidding me?" Phelps wrote on his website. "You pretend to be all non-violent, and you allow the most bloody, deceitful, evil, murderous bastard and his shemale sidekick to place their satanic spawn within your four walls?”
Among the signs held by protesters outside the Obama daughters' school was one reading "God is Your Enemy" -- a message certainly at odds with the beliefs of many Evangelical Christians who voted for Obama.
But Phelps isn't the only preacher on the hateful fringes of the religious right to use their religious beliefs as an excuse to encourage hatred of Obama and his family.
In August of this year, Pastor Steven Anderson addressed his congregation with a sermon entitled "why I hate Barack Obama".
"I hope that God strikes Barack Obama with brain cancer so he can die like Ted Kennedy and I hope it happens today," Anderson said. "I'm gonna pray that he dies and goes to hell when I go to bed tonight. That's what I'm gonna pray."
Anderson said his sermon was part of a campaign of "spiritual warfare" against Obama.
That individuals like Phelps and Anderson would call themselves Christians while showing such contempt for the compassionate Jesus Christ -- who was, among other things a healer -- really only demonstrates precisely how far out of touch these individuals are with their fellow Christians.
Fortunately, groups like the Westboro Baptist Church and individuals like Fred Phelps and Steven Anderson remain marginal within religious circles, even if the amount of press hateful demagogues like this can generate threaten to conflate their significance.