TEMPE, AZ - Tucked in a Tempe strip mall sits the Faithful Word Baptist Church .
The church is not new and the controversy surrounding the beliefs of its leader are not new. However, a report released Wednesday by the Southern Poverty Law Center gives the church a new label.
"Do I hate? Absolutely," said Faithful Word Baptist Church Pastor Steven Anderson.
Anderson wasn't aware of the new article and label by the SPLC and wasn't surprised. When asked if he hates homosexuals, Anderson quickly said, "absolutley."
Anderson's church made headlines several months ago when one of its members carried a rifle outside a downtown Phoenix building during a visit by President Barack Obama.
On Wednesday night, prior to service, Anderson declined to read the article posted by the SPLC.
"Am I all about hate? No I'm sure I'm more about love than I am hate," Anderson said. "I do hate homosexuals and if hating homosexuals makes our church a hate group then that's what we are."
The church leader, with a Bible in his hand during the interview, said he preaches his hatred for homosexuals and wishes death upon them.
"Should I be a Baptist Pastor if I don't believe what the Bible says, if parts of this book offend the Southern Poverty Law Center then it should label it a hate book."
Anderson said his church members are now going door to door across Valley neighborhoods in an effort to recruit more followers.
When asked if he is promoting violence against homosexuals, Anderson responded, "I've never promoted violence, I've never hurt anybody, it's just my opinions that are somehow deemed so dangerous."
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