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Christian hate-preacher Steven Anderson has an even more hateful son
Isaac Anderson's Twitter posts tell a very troubling story
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Christian hate-preacher Steven Anderson has a long history of saying vile things. He has celebrated the deaths of murdered LGBTQ people and called on the government to execute gay people with a firing squad. Anderson’s sermons have been so outrageously awful that 34 countries won’t allow him to step foot within their borders. In 2020, the Tempe, Arizona-based preacher began spreading misinformation about COVID, even urging his congregation (and YouTube viewers) to avoid any eventual vaccines.
Oh. And one of his kids is a full-blown Nazi.
If he were just some MAGA cultist or online troll attempting to trigger liberals, that’s one thing. Getting a tattoo like this ratchets it to another level. Isaac is the second oldest of the Andersons’ 12 children and, like his siblings, he was home-schooled by his mother, as she documented for years on her website. It’s not clear how or when he decided to go this far down the rabbit hole.
Even though he took down that particular post, several other tweets (that still remain up) clarify his allegiance:
Taking a page from his father’s book, Isaac has also justified mass murder by pointing to the Bible, saying the book “not only condones but it commands genocide against certain groups.”
It doesn’t end there. You may recall how, a couple of weeks ago, Anthony Rota, the speaker of Canada's House of Commons, invited a 98-year-old World War II soldier to attend a speech from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. That person was introduced as a war hero who fought for the First Ukrainian Division and given a standing ovation. It was soon discovered, though, that the soldier in question fought for the Nazis. Rota resigned shortly thereafter, having brought utter shame to the Canadian Parliament.
Isaac Anderson, however, celebrated the standing ovation.
He also wants everyone to know he’s racist as hell.
I was genuinely curious what Steven Anderson made of all this. He says a lot of vile stuff, but as far as I can tell, he’s never openly celebrated Nazis. That said, he’s certainly crossed the line in that direction. In 2015, he released a video called Marching to Zion that echoed many of Isaac’s current views. Here’s how the Anti-Defamation League described that movie and his preaching at the time:
In addition to arguing that it would be impossible for the Nazis to have cremated a million Jews at Auschwitz, Anderson claims that the slave laborers there got compensated for their work and could buy items at a commissary. He further asserts that Jews were able to play on a soccer team and act in musicals and plays at Auschwitz.
The film, released in March 2015, refers to Judaism as the “synagogue of Satan” and claims that Jews are followers of the Antichrist. [Anderson] also asserts that Jews who deny that Jesus is the Messiah would lie about the Holocaust. He argues, “Why would it surprise you that the people who deny the Christ, who deny that Jesus is the messiah, would lie to you about something else?”
Anderson warns that the “real Holocaust” for the Jews will occur if they don’t accept Jesus as the Messiah. He says, “The real burnt offering is going to be when all of these Jews that don’t believe in Jesus Christ go to hell for eternity. That’s the oven that they ought to be worried about.”
Anderson denied the realities of the Holocaust. He doesn’t believe the horrors that occurred in concentration camps, or the numbers of deaths that were reported. He rejects all the evidence affirming those facts. So should we really be surprised that Anderson’s son now praises Hitler?
Matthew H. Brittingham is a researcher who recently earned his Ph.D. from Emory University. In 2020, he wrote a fascinating paper describing the “spiritual dimensions of Holocaust denial” in which he argued that it wasn’t just that Anderson was denying the Holocaust (which was bad enough) but that Anderson was basing that lie on his interpretation of the Bible. Brittingham feared that kind of reasoning could open the door to more Holocaust deniers from religious circles because Anderson was giving Christians a faith-based pathway to deny history.
For example, Brittingham wrote, Anderson insisted his rejection of the Holocaust wasn’t rooted in racism (“I don’t have a racist bone in my body“) or politics (“I am not pro-Hitler or pro-Nazi or pro-National Socialist”). That made him different from typical deniers—and possibly more dangerous.
The bigger threat, however, is that with Holocaust denial cut loose from the figureheads and institutions of a prior generation of Holocaust deniers, Anderson and fellow antisemitic theocentric Christian conspiracists might open an avenue for spiritual arguments to become more widely accepted in Holocaust denier circles and among internet conspiracists.
He was more correct than he may have imagined. Anderson’s conspiracy theories have now been fully embraced and expanded upon… by his son.
How did Anderson feel about all that? Did he disavow his son’s tweets? What about the tattoo? (He’s given sermons condemning tattoos!)
So I asked him.
I felt those questions were fair game given what he has preached over the years.
Anderson didn’t directly respond to any of my questions. Instead, he said that “attacking” his son was “unethical” and left it at that. I disagree. I have no desire to condemn his other family members, even if they share his views, because they’re not the ones preaching hate. But when Anderson’s adult son broadcasts an affinity for Hitler, it’s absolutely fair to connect the two dots between them.
My fear when it comes to New Independent Fundamentalist Baptist preaching has always been that members of the churches (or their online followers) will take the law into their own hands and go after marginalized groups that are routinely demonized in New IFB sermons—including LGBTQ people, Jewish people, and atheists. The pastors usually include a caveat in their sermons telling people not to do that—it’s the government’s responsibility in their ideal world, they say—but members don’t always listen.
It’s deeply troubling that Anderson, arguably the most notorious New IFB preacher, won’t even condemn the actions of his own son. Anderson says he’s not racist and and not “pro-Hitler,” but his son openly embraces both vile ideologies. It should be simple to say that’s wrong. He won’t do it.
That says a lot about where New IFB preaching can lead.
If there’s any possible silver lining here, it’s that there are stories of people who have gone down similar rabbit holes only to come out clean on the other side. Isaac is a young man. He’s adrift in a world of hate that’s not too far removed from his father’s church. But it’s possible someone close to him, if they cared, could help him understand his mistakes before it’s too late.
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