The Center for Security Policy’s Frank Gaffney stopped by the American Family Radio at the National Religious Broadcasters convention in Nashville this week to discuss Rudy Giuliani’s recent comment that President Obama doesn’t “love America.”
Gaffney naturally agreed with Giuliani, contending that while Obama might not have a “deep hatred” for America, it is literally impossible for him to love the country.
“How could this president love America?” Gaffney asked AFA president Tim Wildmon. “How could he, given that he grew up in his formative years in an Indonesian madrassa, an Islamist school, he came to this country and sat at the knee of an avowed communist by the name of Frank Marshall Davis, he spent formative years in Chicago hanging with revolutionaries like Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn, he went on to church with Jeremiah Wright?”
“And what all of those people have in common is a deep hatred for our country. So maybe he doesn’t have a deep hatred for it, but it’s hard to see how we could have possibly having incubated in that, marinated in it, come out loving this country. Which brings us to your question. If he doesn’t, we’re in jeopardy, because you need someone in a dangerous world like this who loves this country, who believes it’s exceptional and is willing to stand up for it.”
American Family Association governmental affairs director Sandy Rios ended her radio show today by promoting the group’s new “bigotry map,” which she claims reveals “over 200 groups and organizations” that promote anti-Christian bigotry.
While the map has been received with generalmockery since it neither includes 200 groups nor explains how the groups on the map are anti-Christian, Rios said that the “bigotry map” shows the need for people to “stand up” against the supposedly growing anti-Christian sentiment.
She told guest Todd Starnes, who joined Rios to discuss the case of a Washington florist who is facing fines for denying service to a gay customer, that Illinois pastor Erwin Lutzer said Christians in America must now “prepare for martyrdom.”
“That would be my message this morning,” Rios said, “we are moving in a very dangerous course and direction in the country.”
While net neutrality is centered around treating all content equally and making sure that internet service providers do not favor certain kinds of content, the right-wing activists alleged that net neutrality will undermine content and even lead to government-led attacks on conservatives.
Rios claimed that net neutrality will give government bureaucrats the power to determine who can start a website, even though that claim is completely false. “I want to set up a website and then bureaucratic regulators will have to give me permission and I will have to pay and they will also see if my content is o.k. to be put out there on the internet,” Rios said.
“There is no doubt in the long term when the government takes control over not just the capacity to deliver internet services but also gets into the content monitoring game, which every indication is that they are doing that, at that juncture we have a real opportunity for free speech violations,” Manning said. “This net neutrality is just one area that President Obama has been engaged in a wholesale assault on First Amendment rights.”
The debate went even further off the rails when Rios and Manning claimed that Comcast is a strong supporter of the FCC’s decision to preserve net neutrality, with Manning telling Rios that “if I were Comcast, I’d be lobbying like crazy for this thing.”
“Comcast, owned by NBC, is all about net neutrality, they have been pushing and pushing and pushing it,” Rios said.
“Everybody’s got no-go zones in Europe, Bobby Jindal is telling the truth about that,” Fischer said last month, leaving out the fact that Jindal was unable to name a single such “no-go zone.”
On Monday, American Family Radio hosts Jim Stanley and Ed Vitagliano interviewed British evangelist and House of Lords member Lord Robert Edmiston about immigration in Britain, so naturally Stanley asked Edmiston about the no-go zones.
“In the U.K., there are no-go zones as I understand it?” Stanley asked.
Edmiston, however, told Stanley that “there is no such thing as a no-go area.”
Edmiston said that while there are neighborhoods where immigrants are heavily concentrated, “there really isn’t a no-go area as such.”
Earlier today, we noted that the American Family Association had released its own anti-Christian "bigotry map" in response to having been designated as an anti-gay hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center several years ago.
The usefulness of the AFA's map is debatable, since is seems to just blindly designate every gay, secular, atheist, or humanist group as a bigoted anti-Christian organization without providing any actual evidence to support such a designation.
Nonetheless, the AFA's Bryan Fischer thinks the new map is a game-changer, crowing in a typically clueless fashion on his radio program today that the key difference between the SPLC designating the AFA as a hate group and the AFA labeling everyone else as anti-Christian bigots is that the allegation that the AFA is a hate group is false while the AFA's designation is true.
"They falsely accuse of us hate," he cogently explained, "but we accurately and truly accuse these groups of anti-Christian bigotry."
To make things even more absurd, Fischer then proceeded to accuse us at Right Wing Watch of being "apoplectic" and "almost frothing at the mouth" over the AFA's useless new map:
Sandy Rios, the American Family Association’s governmental affairs director, is very concerned that if the Federal Communications Commission approves rules intended to preserve net neutrality, then the Obama administration will move in to monitor online content.
“They want to manage the content, they want to control what goes into the internet,” Rios said. “Thank God for the internet, thank God for our ability to communicate to you through our Facebook pages and through AFA and our alerts and everything. And this all is being threatened.”
What Rios lacked in an understanding of net neutrality she made up in a strong, personal feeling that the Obama administration will crack down on free speech: “Certainly we know that the president and the administration is willing to do whatever they can to stop the flow of information to the American people, we know that that’s true.”
Ever since the Southern Poverty Law Center designated the American Family Association as an anti-gay "hate group" back in 2010, the AFA has vehemently objected to being designated as such. In addition to regularly attackingthe SPLC, the AFA has also taken a few half-hearted steps to try and distance itself from Bryan Fischer, who was almost single-handedly responsible for getting the AFA placed on the SPLC's hate list in the first place, in an effort to salvage its reputation.
Now, it seems, the AFA has decided to take a page out of the SPLC's playbook by releasing its own "Bigotry Map" which seeks to highlight organizations that it claims "openly display bigotry toward the Christian faith":
These groups are deeply intolerant towards the Christian religion. Their objectives are to silence Christians and to remove all public displays of Christian heritage and faith in America.
A common practice of these groups is threatening our nation’s schools, cities and states. By threat of lawsuit, they demand prayer removed from schools and city council meetings, Ten Commandments monuments stricken from courthouses and memorial crosses purged from cemeteries and parks.
Because of anti-Christian bigotry, private business owners have been sued and forced to close their business. Families and businesses that express a Christian worldview on social issues often face vicious retaliation from bigoted anti-Christian zealots.
Some members or supporters of these groups have committed violent crimes against Christians and faith-based groups. Physical and profane verbal assaults against Christians are methods frequently exercised in their angry methods of intimidation.
At first glance, the map appears to be pretty heavily populated, but a quick search of the actual groups listed reveals that the AFA basically just listed every atheist, humanist, or freethinker organization it could find, as well as the state chapters of national organizations such as Americans United for Separation of Church and State, the Freedom From Religion Foundation, SPLC, the Human Rights Campaign, and GLSEN:
We're honored to see that we here at PFAW also made the map as one of the groups that supposedly "actively engages in the complete eradication of the Christian faith from society, government and private commerce. These groups file lawsuits and use intimidation to silence any reference to Christianity from the public square":
“I don’t think that Barack Obama is a Muslim. I think he has strong Muslim sympathies because he’s been raised in that culture,” she said on her radio program today, adding that Obama is a Marxist who “doesn’t really believe in God but loves the Muslim culture.”
She insisted that the president has “actually written about in his book that if there was ever some kind of conflict, he will always come down on the side of Islam.”
On his radio program today, Bryan Fischer coined a new phrase — "Harfed up a hairball" — inspired by State Department Deputy Spokesperson Marie Harf, who has spent the last two days trying to tamp down a right-wing freakout over her assertion that the world cannot simply "kill our way out of this war" with ISIS.
As Fischer explained it, this phrase was now going to become his stock description for when "you say something that is patently absurd."
"Liberals are absolutely anti-science when it comes climatology and global warming," Fischer said. "This is trait that they share in common with Islam. Our leaders on the left are almost as unscientific, almost as anti-science as the leaders of the movement of Islam":
American Family Association governmental affairs director Sandy Rios is upset that media commentators like George Will are mocking Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker for refusing to say this week whether he believes in evolution. After all, Rios explained on her radio show today, “science has done nothing but disprove the theory of evolution.”
“There is no scientific evidence” to substantiate evolution, she said, at least according to “the real experts.” So why has this stunning revelation that the foundational theory behind modern biology has been refuted not percolated through the scientific community? Well, Rios explained, that’s because evolution has become a sacred, religious tenet.
“Evolution has become the religion of the elite,” Rios said. “It’s a religion to the [level of] fanaticism of what they would say was the people at the Scopes monkey trial, the Christians waving their Bibles who were not really thinking through the facts, they were just outraged because it was against God’s law. The truth of the matter is that the evolutionists like George Will, waving their evolutionary theory, have become as rabid and unreasoned as what they accuse the Scopes monkey religionists of doing to Darwin during that time. It has become a religion. Science has disproven so much of evolution…. These guys are wrong, Scott Walker is right.”
A few months ago, Bryan Fischer justified the forcible removal of Native Americans from their land by citing the biblical story of the Amorites, who he said “lapsed into superstition and paganism and idolatry and sexual immorality and savagery” and were therefore justly removed by God.
On his American Family Radio program yesterday, Fischer cited the same story to warn that the United States is similarly in danger of “forfeiting our moral authority to maintain governance of this piece of land” because of legal abortion, a “turning away from Christianity” and, of course, “sexual immorality.”
“Again, the same principle of people can become morally disqualified to exercise sovereign authority over land by their savagery (think about the blood we’ve shed in abortion); by their superstition (think about our turning away from Christianity and from the God of the scriptures); and sexual immorality, I mean that’s an obvious problem in our culture,” he said.
“If that principle is true that God will displace a nation that lapses into unrepentant savagery, sexual immorality and superstition, then we are in danger, I believe, of forfeiting our moral authority to maintain governance of this piece of land, maintain sovereignty,” he warned. “Something that ought to be a concern to all of us, something that ought to take us to our knees in prayer and repentance for our land.”
Fischer didn’t specify who he believed God would empower to drive Americans from their land, although last year he cited some of the same scriptural passages to claim that God is using radical Islamic groups like ISIS to inflict his judgment on America for gay rights.
Bryan Fischer feels like he hasn’t seen Hillary Clinton in a while, and has an “educated guess” as to why.
“You know, people are looking for some explanation,” he said on his American Family Radio program today. “Where is she? Why haven’t we literally seen her face in weeks? And I would suggest that there is a possibility, anyway, that her face hasn’t been seen in weeks because she’s getting it prepared for the campaign, if you catch my drift.”
“I have an idea that when the new and improved Hillary emerges, she may look a whole lot different,” he said.
Bryan Fischer is outraged that a federal judge may order the dozens of Alabama probate who are refusing to grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples to back down. On his American Family Radio Program today, Fischer said that such an order would be tantamount to “tyranny” and “slavery” enforced by the “gay gestapo.”
“There’s a court hearing today before the federal judge, and she may order these probate judges to violate their own conscience and their own religious scruples,” he said. “She may order them to violate their conscience. You know what that is, ladies and gentlemen? You are ordered by an agent of the government to violate your conscience? That is tyranny.”
“When you are ordered by an agent of the government to violate your own conscience in something that you do, that is slavery. If you are forced to violate your conscience to do work, that is tyranny, that’s Tammy Bruce, that’s the gay gestapo. Tammy Bruce is the one that coined the term ‘gay gestapo.’ That’s the gay gestapo at work. You either do what we tell you or you’re going to get punished.”
Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson has issued a coupleof statements over the past two weeks explaining that if Congress were to target his department’s funding in an effort to stop the enforcement of President Obama’s executive actions on immigration, a whole host of programs would be hurt, including “non-disaster assistance grants” to local law enforcement. This raised the ire of a Colorado county sheriff, who wrote a Facebook post calling Johnson’s remarks a “veiled threat” to sheriffs, which has since been picked up by many in the right-wing media.
Among those who are outraged by Johnson’s matter-of-fact statement on department funding is the American Family Association’s Sandy Rios, who claimed on her radio program today that the Homeland Security secretary is “threatening sheriffs." She also complained about a new DHS hotline that allows people to ask about the new immigration actions and report mistreatment by immigration enforcement, and about the fact that some undocumented immigrants who are now able to file federal tax returns will get refunds.
“Ladies and gentlemen, this is thug life,” she declared.
“It is thuggery. It is thuggery at the federal level.”
On his radio program today, Bryan Fischer hailed Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore as a modern-day Martin Luther King, Jr. for his order to state probate judges not to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples after a federal judge struck down the state's gay marriage ban.
Fischer laughably asserted that it is the federal judge, not Moore, "who is standing in the courthouse doorway ... in defiance of both the law and the Constitution," before praising Moore and the probate judges who are refusing to grant marriage licenses to gay couples as the heirs of MLK.
"What Judge Moore and these probate judges are doing is in the finest tradition of Martin Luther King, Jr.," he said. "They are waging the civil rights battle of this decade, using nonviolent protest to do it":
People For the American Way released a new video today calling out the Republican National Committee for accepting an all-expenses-paid trip to Israel for several dozen of its members from the American Family Association, an organization with a long record of promoting bigotry against LGBT people and non-Christians.
Today, People For the American Way released a new ad challenging members of the Republican National Committee (RNC) for accepting an all-expense paid trip to Israel from the American Family Association (AFA). The ad calls on the RNC to stand against the AFA’s hateful rhetoric about Jewish Americans, LGBT individuals, and many other people in our country.
“The hate of the American Family Association is rampant, from calling ‘Jewish atheists’ some of the ‘worst enemies of the country’ to claiming that gay people caused the Holocaust,” said Michael Keegan, President of People For the American Way. “We deserve to know why Republicans continue to stand with this hate group after years of offensive statements by their leaders. By failing to speak up against the AFA, Republican leaders are showing their acceptance of hateful rhetoric in their party.”
Watch the ad here:
PFAW’s Right Wing Watch blog has long documented the bigoted statements of AFA leaders. Here are just some of the key examples:
Selected Statements of AFA Leaders
Bryan Fischer, Former Official Spokesperson for the AFA
“The Nazi Party, ladies and gentlemen, was formed in a gay bar. In other words, no homosexual thugs, no Nazi Party.” [6/9/11]
Gay sex is "Domestic Terrorism. I Don't Know What Else You'd Call It."[9/15/10]
Native Americans deserved to lose control of North America because "the superstition, savagery and sexual immorality" made them "morally disqualified from sovereign control of American soil." [2/8/11]
All new immigrants must “convert to Christianity” or “stay home.” [4/8/11]
Gay rights activists “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.” [5/18/11]
Christians should convert Jews to Christianity, Jews and Christians “do not worship the same God.” [8/26/11]
“The purpose of the First Amendment is to protect the free exercise of the Christian religion.” [9/29/11]
"Political leadership ought to be ... reserved for the hands of males" [10/15/12]
People who believe in evolution are “disqualified from holding political office in the United States of America.” [1/2/14]
“Being an active homosexual should disqualify you from public office…we're going to have to choose between the gay agenda and Christianity. We can't have both.” [1/8/15]
David Lane, Founder of the AFA’s American Renewal Project
The separation of church and state is a “lie” and a “fabricated whopper” used to stop “Christian America – the moral majority – from imposing moral government on pagan public schools, pagan higher learning and pagan media.” [6/6/13]
“We were established as a Christian nation, for the advancement of the Christian faith.” [1/30/15]
“Vote to restore the Bible and prayer in public schools or be sent home. Hanging political scalps on the wall is the only love language politicians can hear.” [7/17/13]
While “America was a Christian nation” since its founding, now it must choose between being “a Christian nation or a pagan nation.” [7/17/13]
“Homosexuals praying at the Inauguration” of President Obama in 2013 will provoke God’s wrath in the form of “car bombs in Los Angeles, Washington D.C. and Des Moines, Iowa.” [7/23/13]
Republicans who support marriage equality are like politicians who backed slavery in the run-up to the Civil War. [1/29/15]
Americans “grovel to the false god of Islam,” “America, a Christian nation in heritage and culture, is being dismantled brick by brick.” [1/29/15]
Lane and the AFA don’t only promote a Christian nationalist view of the U.S. government and push smears against those of other religions and fellow Christians who do not share their views, but the AFA has a troubling history of bigotry toward secular Jews in the U.S. and Israel.
Rosenberg is hardly a new friend of the Republican Party. Back in 2011, he led a delegation to Israel that included a number of GOP congressmen, including Rep. Louis Gohmert, who took the opportunity to give a copy of Rosenberg’s latest novel to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Throughout the week, we have been chronicling the fact that several dozen members of the Republican National Committee are currently in Israel on a trip organized by Christian nationalist David Lane and paid for by an anti-gay hate group, the American Family Association.
Until attention began to be focused on the trip, nobody over at the RNC seemed to have any problem with the AFA's long record of openly promoting bigotry. Then, in a pathetically transparent effort to alleviate the controversy surrounding this trip, the AFA stripped its most notorious bigot, Bryan Fischer, of his title as the organization's director of issues analysis and role as official spokesman last week, while keeping him on staff and allowing him to retain his daily radio program on the AFA's radio network.
It seems as if the AFA's feeble effort to wash its hands of Fischer's bigotry has failed, as Haaretz is reporting that RNC Chairman Reince Priebus backed out of the trip at the last moment, claiming that he had a funeral to attend in the U.S. but would be joining the group later. But now, according to the report, Priebus will not be joining the group at all.
The most interesting aspect of this report is the fact Dennis Prager, who is currently in Israel on this very trip, says that everyone who went on the AFA's dime is repulsed by Fischer and his views.
Earlier this week, the AFA distanced itself from its former spokesman who had made statements described by critics as anti-Semitic, homophobic and racist. The spokesman, Bryan Fischer, had said, among other remarks, that America is a Christian nation in which Jews and Muslims are not entitled to constitutional protection for their religious expression.
Prager said he completely supported the decision to cut ties with Fischer. “The second I heard what he said, I said that if he really said those thing they’re repugnant,” he said. “Everybody here thinks they’re repugnant. Frankly, I can’t believe that a human being in the 21st century would say such things. It’s mind-blowing.”
The Jewish talk show host said he had never heard of Fischer before, nor had he had any dealings with any other representatives of the AFA. “This is all brand new news to me,” he said.
Sandy Rios, the American Family Association’s governmental affairs director, is upset with media coverage blaming the current measles outbreak on parents who refuse to vaccinate their children and thinks that the media should instead be baselessly blaming immigrants.
On her radio program today, Rios claimed that it is a “fact” that unvaccinated immigrants are to blame for the outbreaks of measles and Enterovirus D68.
“We cannot lay this outbreak of measles at the feet of parents who have refused to vaccinate their kids,” she said. “It’s their kids who are getting sick, by the way, and that’s plenty punishment. But I would say, and I submit to you that the vast majority of the problem that we’re having is because we have opened our borders to great danger.”
Rios said yesterday that while she personally believes in vaccination, she thinks that parents who don’t are receiving too much criticism, noting Sen. Rand Paul’s recent statement that vaccines have been linked to “profound mental disorders.”
“The thing that I’m resisting is this groundswell of vitriol against parents who have for now a long time decided not to vaccinate their children because of their concerns,” she said, insisting that such vitriol should instead be directed against immigrants.
“The thing that bothers me even more that I have heard no one say, no one, no one, no one, at least not in this current discussion, talk about the effect of thousands of illegal immigrant children coming across the border last summer who certainly haven’t been vaccinated, who certainly have carried into our country diseases we have not seen in sometimes a century or two,” she said.