Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The hate speech of Bryan Fischer

Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association has told listeners to his radio program that President Obama is preparing the U.S. military to kill Christians. 

Speaking last Friday, he said, “The military is being conditioned to use weapons on the American Family Association. The soldiers are being conditioned in their brains to think of evangelicals, Tea Partyers, the American Family Association and the Family Research Council as domestic enemies that may have to be neutralized by lethal force. The people you got to watch out for, you may have to turn your tanks on, are American Family Association.”

Fischer warns that the military may "surround the hotel" at next year's Values Voter Summit and ... well, use your imagination.

Fischer was upset that the American Family Association was included on a list of hate groups at a recent army training session. 

So: Is the AFA a hate group? 

It has been listed as such by the Southern Poverty Law Center, which provides an excellent summary of the group's hate-filled past. The reason for its designation as a hate group was not because of the group's religious beliefs, which are similar to most religious groups on the subject of homosexuality, but because of its constant demonization of members of the LGBT community.

Fischer claims the designation is unfair. 

Is it?

Consider the following states made by Fischer:
  • Has repeatedly called for an Underground Railroad to "deliver innocent children from same-sex households."
  • Has said gay people must be criminalized and treated "like drug addicts."
  • Said "We should discriminate against unnatural and aberrant sexual behavior, whether pedophilia, bestiality, or homosexuality."
  • Said Boy Scouts would be better off "drowned in the sea" than to allow gay scouts.
  • Said "In the wake of what we've seen at Penn State, that alone out to be enough to say that, look: we are not going to put children in same-sex households—we are not going to adopt them into same-sex households. We are not going to give custody, if somebody goes into the homosexual lifestyle after siring children—bringing children into the world with an opposite-sex partner—they are not going to get custody of these children. If they have visits with those kids, they are going to be supervised visits. We cannot trust the sexual integrity and innocence and purity of those kids with those who have same-sex preferences. The risk is far, far too high.
  • Claims "The homosexual agenda represents the single greatest modern threat to freedom of religion and conscience.”
  • Says "The real haters are homosexuals. The real venom is coming from those that support the homosexual agenda, either homosexual activists, homosexuals, or those that support the homosexual agenda. They are the real haters. There is a heterophobic hatred, there is a Christophobic hatred that is just seething, there's a dark, venomous, demonic hatred that is in the homosexual community."
  • Said "The homosexual agenda represents a clear and present danger to virtually every fundamental right given to us by our Creator and enshrined for us in our Constitution."
  • Said “[Gays] are Nazis ... Do not be under any illusions about what homosexual activists will do with your freedoms and your religion if they have the opportunity. They’ll do the same thing to you that the Nazis did to their opponents in Nazi Germany.”
  • Said "So Hitler himself was an active homosexual. And some people wonder, didn't the Germans, didn't the Nazis, persecute homosexuals? And it is true they did; they persecuted effeminate homosexuals. But Hitler recruited around him homosexuals to make up his Stormtroopers, they were his enforcers, they were his thugs. And Hitler discovered that he could not get straight soldiers to be savage and brutal and vicious enough to carry out his orders, but that homosexual solders basically had no limits and the savagery and brutality they were willing to inflict on whomever Hitler sent them after. So he surrounded himself, virtually all of the Stormtroopers, the Brownshirts, were male homosexuals."
  • Said "If We Want to See Fewer Students Commit Suicide, We Want Fewer Homosexual Students"
  • Claimed homosexuality is a form of "domestic terrorism."
  • Famously said "Homosexuality gave us Adolf Hitler, and homosexuals in the military gave us the Brown Shirts, the Nazi war machine and six million dead Jews."
  • Said allowing gay adoption is a form of sexual abuse.
  • Constantly refers to gay marriage as "sodomy-based marriage."
  • Said Hillary Clinton could be "our first lesbian president."
  • Claimed "3/4ths of all lesbians are obese."
  • Said "Parents and churches should abandon Boy Scouts like they were running out of a building house."
  • Has openly admired Putin's anti-gay stance and said "It's time for us to be more like Russia."
See this article from GLAAD for more.

More choice quotes from Fischer, taken from my Stuff the American Family Association Says page on Facebook:

So ... is the American Family Association a hate group? When activists such as myself push back against this constant tide of myth and misinformation, are we persecuting the AFA and infringing on their right to religious liberty and freedom of belief? 

Or does the Southern Poverty Law Center have it right?

Fischer is welcome to his religious beliefs. But where, pray tell, are they? Comparing gay people to Nazis is not a religious belief. Slandering them as dangerous to society, as diseased, unhealthy, as the same as drug addicts and pedophiles ... where is the scriptural authority to back up such statements? What do such statements have to do with religion or religious belief? 

To find out what Fischer is up to, let's recast the same statements, but direct them against Jewish people instead of gay people:
  • "The Jewish agenda represents a clear and present danger to virtually every fundamental right given to us by our Creator and enshrined for us in our Constitution."
  • Said “[Jews] are Nazis ... Do not be under any illusions about what Jewish activists will do with your freedoms and your religion if they have the opportunity. They’ll do the same thing to you that the Nazis did to their opponents in Nazi Germany.”
  • Has repeatedly called for an Underground Railroad to "deliver innocent children from Jewish households."
  • Has said Jewish people must be criminalized and treated "like drug addicts."
  • Said "We should discriminate against unnatural and aberrant sexual behavior, whether pedophilia, bestiality, or Judaism."
  • Said Boy Scouts would be better off "drowned in the sea" than to allow Jewish scouts.
It's not about religion.

It's about hate. 

It's about demonizing an entire group of people over a biological fact of life that cannot be changed. 

There is nothing specifically Christian about any of Fischer's statements. There is, in fact, nothing specifically religious about them. Unless he told you he was a Christian, you would have no way of knowing. 

The American Family Association calls its a Christian ministry. It also calls American Family Radio, its radio programming that goes out on public airwaves all over the South, a "ministry" of the American Family Association. 

A ministry ... in what sense? 

Since when did telling outright lies about a certain group in society become a "ministry" protected by freedom of religion? Since when did "ministry" become something that involves persecution and hatred of people one doesn't like?

If the AFA is allowed to carry out this "ministry" against gay people, will other groups of "sinners" be targeted? Will we see ministries against drunks and murderers, against fathers who incest their daughters, against business people who exploit the poor and refuse to help the widow and the orphan? Will there be a ministry against masturbators? Will boys who masturbate be publicly shamed and excluded from the Boy Scouts? Will fornicators find themselves described as a clear and present danger to American society and the Constitution itself?


I live in Tupelo, Mississippi. which is also the headquarters of the American Family Association, and  I have yet to meet a single person in Mississippi who supports the AFA. Most of the people I have talked to over the last two years that I've lived here view the AFA as an embarrassment. They do not leap to defend it. They do not talk about the the many good works done by the AFA, the needy people helped, the hungry stomachs fed, the spiritual needs met. They sigh and shrug their shoulders the same way they do when the subject is slavery, or civil rights, or any of the other bits and pieces of Mississippi's unfortunate past. I have not met a single person who is proud of the AFA. 

If it engenders any feelings at all, they are feelings of fear. When I attended a sparsely-populated protest against the AFA several months ago, carried out in front of the AFA headquarters itself, I learned that many people would not come because they were afraid of retaliation, of losing their jobs or their standing in the community. 

When I started my Facebook page (Stuff the American Family Association Says) highlighting the outrageous and just plain wrong statements made by Fischer and others about the gay community, I was warned by several people to be careful. That I might be sued. That they might retaliate. That I might lose my job. 

My response to that was, and still is, that silence in the face of evil is not an option. The only reason the AFA gets away with their constant demonization of gay people is the fear and silence they engender among good people who know better but are afraid to speak up and speak out. And since when does a supposedly Christian group need to rely on fear and intimidation to get its message out? 


Anyone who has ever been in an abusive relationship will recognize the signs: 
  • Abusers are selfish and self-involved, thinking only of themselves, their status, their standing, what they want. They do not care who gets hurt because of their actions.
  • Abusers almost always view themselves as the victims while demonizing the people they hurt as somehow or other deserving of what they got. 
  • Abusers never take responsibility for their actions. When we protested the AFA, the general manager came out to speak to us. When confronted about Bryan Fischer, he was quick to note the AFA is "not responsible" for the content of its own programming, that Fischer's view "don't necessarily reflect" those of the AFA itself. They even run such disclaimers on-air.
  • Abusers are always right. They will not tolerate the idea that they might be wrong. They go to great lengths to rationalize and justify their behavior, willfully and willingly blind to its consequences in the lives of others.  
  • Abusers create a climate of fear and intimidation to keep victims quiet. 
  • Telling the truth is a crime among abusers. Anyone who tells the truth about them will be punished, and often very severely. 
Have a look at these signs of an abusive relationship over at HelpGuide.Org.

Do I, as a gay man:
  • feel afraid of the AFA?
  • avoid certain topics out of fear?
  • feel that I can't do anything right?
  • feel that I deserve to be mistreated?
  • feel emotionally numb or helpless?
  • wonder if I'm crazy?
Yes. To all of them. That's the way the AFA makes me feel.

Does the AFA:
  • humiliate or yell at me?
  • criticize me or put me down?
  • treat me badly so that I'm embarrassed for my family and friends to see it?
  • ignore my opinions and accomplishments?
  • see me as a sex object rather than as a person?
Yes. Yes to all of it. Yes, exactly.

Do I feel threatened by the AFA?


Does the AFA threaten to take my children away?


Does the AFA want to control me and what I do?



What, exactly, is going on here? 

If the American Family Association is a Christian ministry, why do I feel abused? Why does its programming leave me feeling dirty and embarrassed? Where is the "good news" in the AFA gospel? Why must I constantly defend myself against a torrent of untrue accusations and slander?

If the AFA is a Christian ministry, to whom is it ministering? What is its message? What is it trying to say?

If the AFA is a Christian ministry, how does its behavior compare to its founder, Jesus Christ? Is its behavior Christ-like? 

What, exactly, is the AFA?

Who, exactly, is Bryan Fischer? 

The answers are increasingly obvious.