Feds Scrutinize Pastor's Sermons

The New American, March 7, 2005 | Go to article overview
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Feds Scrutinize Pastor's Sermons


Rev. Randy Steele, senior pastor at Southwest Christian Church in Mount Vernon, Illinois, thought that "somebody in my church might have done something" when he received a phone call from the FBI last November. It wasn't until part way through an interview with two FBI agents later that day that the 32-year-old pastor realized that he was the subject of the inquiry.

The agents quizzed the pastor about a sermon he had preached on Memorial Day that compared the aggregate casualty count of America's wars to the number of children murdered through abortion since 1973. "It was a sermon about abortion and what the Bible says about the sanctity of life," Rev. Steele told the February 9 issue of The Southern Illinoisan. "But it also dealt with how as Christians we need to love and reach out to people and teach them the message of truth about these types of issues."

An anonymous informant was prompted to "drop a dime" on Rev. Steele by the pastor's description of the struggle against abortion as a "different type of war," which was likely misconstrued as a call for violence against abortionists or assaults on abortion mills. The Southern also noted: "The informant also told authorities that during a sermon on homosexuality, Steele said he was willing to go to jail for his beliefs, prompting another line of questioning by the FBI.

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