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.
Ever since Mitt Romney lost the 2012 election, Religious Rightactivists have been pushing a vote-rigging scheme in which states would change the way in which they allot electoral votes during a presidential election, switching from the current winner-take-all approach to one in which electoral votes are allocated based upon the candidates' performance in each state's congressional districts.
The result of such a switch would be a system in which candidates who lose the overall popular vote in a state could still end up receiving a number, and in some cases even a majority, of that state's electoral votes simply by virtue of winning the popular vote in several individual districts. The impact would be greatest in swing states like Ohio and Pennsylvania, both carried by Obama, where Republicans have gerrymandered congressional districts to the party’s advantage
Obviously, there is something fundamentally flawed about any system in which the candidate who receives fewer votes still wins the election ... but that is not stopping American Family Radio's Bryan Fischer from throwing his support behind this plan in a piece he wrote today in which he laughably declared that this change would be more "fair":
Can such changes be made in the electoral college? Certainly. And there is no time like the present. As a result of the 2014 tsunami, the GOP now has total control of 24 states, meaning they control the state legislature and hold the governor’s seat. Since these decisions are made at the state level, 24 states are in a position, starting tomorrow, to change the way votes are awarded in the electoral college.
Such a change should not be made to give an electoral advantage to one party or another. Who can foresee what the landscape will look like in two years or 20? No, the reason to make such a change is that it is fair, just, right and in accordance with the Founders’ principle of representative government. It is an idea whose time has come. Will the GOP seize the moment?
How exactly a system under which a candidate who receives fewer votes wins the election is thought to be more "fair, just, [and] right" than one under which the candidate who receives more votes wins the election is anybody's guess.
American Family Association President Tim Wildmon said on his radio program today that while he doesn’t “know” whether President Obama is secretly Muslim, the president “does sympathize with Muslims and the Islamic religion,” perhaps “because he grew up in it over there in Indonesia or somewhere.”
After interviewing Newt Gingrich about his recent claim that “the United States is losing the war with radical Islamists,” Wildmon pointed to a poll showing that 17 percent of voters, and 34 percent of conservative Republican voters, falsely believe that the President is a Muslim.
“I don’t know if he is or not, I don’t think he gets on his prayer rug five times a day but surely it’s obvious that he does sympathize with Muslims and the Islamic religion,” Wildmon said. “Maybe that’s because he grew up in it over there in Indonesia or somewhere”
If Wildmon wonders why some people wrongly think that Obama is a Muslim, he can look no further than his own talk radio network.
At this very moment, some 60 members of the Republican National Committee are in Israel, courtesy of the anti-gay hate group the American Family Association, on a trip organized by Religious Right activist and full-blown Christian nationalist David Lane.
Fischer has a long history of not only attacking gays and Muslims, but also of declaring that the First Amendment only applies to Christianity, meaning that no other religion is entitled to any sort of constitutional protection ... and that specifically includes Judaism, as he explained back in 2013 when he said that Jews only represented 0.2 percent of the population at the time of this nation's founding and were never intended to be covered by the First Amendment.
"By 'religion,' the Founders were thinking of Christianity," Fischer said, approximately 2:30 into this clip. "So the purpose was to protect the free exercise of the Christian faith. It wasn’t about protecting anything else. They weren’t providing any cover or shelter for the free exercise of Islam or even Judaism or even atheism."
On top of that, Fischer has repeatedly declared that anyone who wishes to immigrate to the United States ought to be required to "leave behind their religion and their god" and convert to Christianity.
Fischer's views were so disturbing that, according to Politico, the Anti-Defamation League privately contacted the RNC and asked them to cancel the scheduled trip to Israel, to no avail:
A week before Republican National Committee members were set to depart Saturday on a trip to Israel sponsored by a pair of evangelical groups active in right-wing politics, officials at the Anti-Defamation League privately reached out to the RNC with a warning.
While they appreciated the interest in the Jewish state, it would be “inappropriate” for committee members to travel there with the American Family Association and the American Renewal Project — groups known for “incendiary and bigoted” language attacking gays, Mormons and Muslims, said Stacy Burdett, the ADL’s government affairs director.
The trip — a nine-day expenses-paid excursion to explore Israeli history and issues of religious liberty, according to one participant — nevertheless proceeded as planned.
Amid all the controversy surrounding this trip, Fischer himself tried to do a bit of damage control, writing a column last week declaring that "The U.S. Should Support Israel Because God Does." Interestingly, the crux of Fischer's argument is that America must support Israel because Christianity and Judaism both worship the same God:
The Jewish people zealously protected, preserved, and passed on the very words of God as recorded by the ancient prophets and historians in Israel. Our faith as a Christian nation is rooted in Jewish soil. No Judaism, no Christianity ... Our Messiah, the one we regard as the Savior of the world, walked this earth as a Jew and practiced the Jewish faith. Simple regard for the person of Jesus commands respect for the faith he himself followed and the people to whom he belonged.
So it is odd that just a few days after saying that Christians and Jews worship the same God, Fischer then wrote a new piece arguing that Christians and Muslims do not worship the same God, which he attempted to prove by arguing that the god that Muslims worship does not have a son:
The God of the Bible has a Son. The god of Islam does not ... The plain declaration of Christianity, then, is that Jesus is the eternally begotten Son of the true and living God. There never was a time, not even in eternity past, when he was not the Son of God.
But Islam, on the other hand, flatly denies that Allah has a son at at all. “He begetteth not, nor is begotten.” In fact, believing that God has a begotten Son will get you stoned to death in many parts of the Muslim world.
On top of all this, and of particular offense to orthodox Muslims, is the fact that Christians worship Jesus himself as God as the second member of the Trinity. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:3). Muslims are horrified at the thought that Jesus could be worshiped as God and consider such a belief as blasphemy worthy of death.
So, do Christians and Muslims worship the same God? Absolutely and unequivocally not.
Obviously, the problem Fischer now encounters is how to explain how Christians and Jews can possibly worship the same God when Jews, like Muslims, do not believe that "the God of the Bible has a Son."
Given that Fischer's group has reportedly spent several hundred thousand dollars to send dozens of members of the RNC on this trip to "stand with Israel because God does," we'd be really interested to hear Fischer's explanation of how Christians and Jews can worship the same God when, by his own standard for Islam, that does not appear to be the case at all.
After all, if Muslims are not entitled to First Amendment protections, according to Fischer, because they do not worship the same God as Christians, than neither do Jews, according to Fischer's own logic.
The AFA has attempted to distance itself from Fischer's views, but that does not answer the question as to why the RNC would agree to send dozens of members on a trip to Israel paid for by an organization that employs someone who argues that Jews in America are not entitled to First Amendment protections?
In an interview with “The View From a Pew” program, an Iowa-based webcast, Scott said that in addition to Jindal and former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who hosted a “The Response” event in 2011, South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley “has agreed” to host a rally and organizers are trying to convince Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker to do the same.
On her own program, “Tamara Scott Live,” earlier in the week, Scott said that Gov. Rick Scott of Florida had sent a staff member to the Jindal event to investigate the possibility of holding a “The Response” rally himself and that Jindal had approached Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad to ask him to consider holding one as well. Scott also expressed her hope that Gov. Sam Brownback of Kansas would consider hosting a rally.
Scott told the “View from a Pew” hosts that such events are needed to save American from destruction, paraphrasing the biblical book of Jeremiah: “If I build up your nation and you fall away, I’ll destroy you…If I’m going to destroy you and you repent, I will heal your land and rebuild you.”
“If our federal government is not smart enough to stick to the foundational principles of those who set this country on the great start that it had by calling on the name of Jesus — George Washington to all the men on Mount Rushmore — if they were not smart enough to understand, then our states can do it individually,” she said on the earlier program.
The Jindal rally’s organizers have hinted that other governors may be planning similar events, writing in a recent email, “There is a sense that God may be orchestrating similar days of prayer and fasting called by Governors around the nation over this next year.” Although the event’s main organizer, David Lane, has allied with a number of top Republican figures, he has yet to name names of governors he hopes to convince to host “The Response” replicas.