By Christy Strawser
DEARBORN (CBS Detroit) Because it has the “greatest Arab population in the United States,” a pastor with a soft drawl, earnest delivery and alleged anti-Semitic rhetoric plans to march on Dearborn.
The suburban Detroit city is the target of Steve Anderson, pastor of Faithful World Baptist Church in Tempe, Ariz., for a march planned for Friday, June 26.
Anderson says he’s going to bring as many followers as he can plus 1,000 copies of his movie “Marching to Zion” — which has been criticized as anti-Semitic — to distribute to what he perceives as a receptive Muslim audience. He urges followers to order “Free Palestine” T-shirts from Amazon.com for their demonstration.
“If you wear this shirt, it’s going to protect you in Dearborn,” he says.
The plan is to “get these DVDs into the hands of these Arabs,” he adds in the promotional You Tube video. To that end, part of the movie has been translated into Arabic, he says.
There’s obviously an audience for his message. Anderson’s “After the Tribulation,” released in December 2012 on You Tube, has more than 1.6 million views.
His latest “Marching to Zion” movie is billed as something that “traces the history of the Jewish people from the destruction of the temple in A.D. 70 to the founding of the modern-day nation of Israel in 1948.”
It “examines Biblical evidence, cutting-edge DNA science, mathematics, and testimony from pastors and rabbis” in a quest to “settle once and for all one of the most controversial questions of all time: Who are God’s chosen people?”
When it was released last year, the Anti-Defamation League released a statement revealing the group was “deeply troubled” by what it thought would be a denigration of the Jews.
“Pastor Steve Anderson’s warped views of Jews and Judaism are a perversion of our faith and people,” said Rabbi David Sandmel, ADL Director of Interfaith Affairs. “It is deeply troubling when a pastor uses his pulpit to misinform fellow Christians about the nature of Judaism and to promote hateful anti-Semitic myths.
On this trip, Anderson’s goal is to recruit Muslims, who he says need the Gospel. He never directly addresses Jews.
“You see, most of these Arabs in Dearborn are Muslims of course and we all know that the Muslims are going to hell in a hand basket,” Anderson says in his recruiting video.
He has reportedly preached sermons in the past with titles including “The Jews and their Lies,” and “Jews are Anti-Christs.”
Anderson plans for parishioners and whoever else gets on board to meet at an Allen Park Panera restaurant early June 26 for breakfast before marching the streets of Dearborn to spend the rest of the day “soul winning.” It’s unknown how many people plan to join, but the church’s Facebook page has more than 5,000 fans.
“We want to have as many people come as possible,” Anderson adds, telling people to come from anywhere “nearby”, including Chicago.
Dearborn Police were not aware of any public gathering permit requests issued on behalf of Anderson or his church.