Fred Clarkson has a good round-up on Religion Dispatches today of the tale of Chris Broughton, the assault-rifle-toting protester at Pres. Obama’s Phoenix speech last week, and his “praying-for-Obama’s-death” pastor, Steven L. Anderson of Tempe’s storefront Faithful Word Baptist Church. The only thing odd about Clarkson’s piece is his claim that the MSM missed the Anderson connection. In fact, as CBN’s David Brody witnesses in his apologia pro religione sua account, CNN’s Rick Sanchez was all over the story. All told, the Anderson connection has hardly been a secret–what with coverage on some of the most widely followed politics websites in the country (e.g. TPM).
Under the circumstances, it’s worth pondering how much attention to give, and how much significant to attach, to marginal characters like Broughton and Anderson. Clarkson’s own view is that such people need to be taken seriously because “it doesn’t take large numbers of people, acting singly or in cell groups, to commit horrific acts of violence in God’s name.” Brody’s concern is that outsiders assume that all evangelicals share their views. Rick Sanchez contextualizes his piece by way of reporting that, according to the Secret Service, death threats against the president have risen 400 percent since Obama’s inauguration. This time, I’d say, the MSM got the story right.