The Unbearable Lightness of Bryan Fischer
"The most compassionate thing we can do for Muslims who have already immigrated here is to help repatriate them back to Muslim countries, where they can live in a culture which shares their values ...Why force them to chafe against the freedom, liberty and civil rights we cherish in the West?" --Bryan Fischer, director of issue analysis for government and public policy at the American Family Association, on the blog "Rightly Concerned."
Over the past few weeks, I've written two stories about the American Family Association's predilection for launching boycotts. I wrote about how the conservative Christian organization is currently boycotting Sears (http://blog.buzzflash.com/contributor/3567) - claiming that the venerable and vulnerable seller of almost everything is now peddling "smut" - and Home Depot (http://blog.buzzflash.com/contributor/3679) - for being just plain too gay-friendly.
While originally a mom and pop organization founded by the Rev. Donald Wildmon in 1977 as the National Federation for Decency, the AFA has grown considerably over the past three decades: It has a $20 million annual budget and employs more than 150 workers. It owns and manages 180 radio stations, publishes a monthly magazine with a circulation of 170,000, and it claims some 2.5 million supporters. It also sponsors OneNewsNow, a daily news service.
These days, Don Wildmon is in semi-retirement, and his son Tim is the organization's president. Clearly the AFA would not have lasted (and thrived) some thirty-plus-years if it weren't serving up some hot button stuff to its followers. However, it's not all about corporate boycotts, porn and gays over at the Tupelo, Mississippi headquarters of the AFA. There is also some seriously dangerous politicking going on as well.
In addition to focusing on "smut" and The Gay, two other major issues driving the American Family Association's agenda are Islam and immigration. The AFA's point man -- although the organization has denied that Fischer speaks for it on all issues -- is Bryan Fischer (http://action.afa.net/detail.aspx?id=2147486648). A Stanford graduate and former executive director of the Idaho Values Alliance (the state affiliate of the AFA), Fischer is now director of Issue Analysis for Government and Public Policy for the AFA. He is also the host of the daily "Focal Point" radio talk program on AFR Talk, a division of the AFA.
While he doesn't have the standing within the conservative community - or near the number of listeners -- that Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, or Michael Savage has, Fischer is rapidly ascending the ladder of hate-charged kookiness. As might be expected, the weirder Fischer gets, the more mainstream media coverage he garners. His name has recently surfaced in a number of mainstream newspapers - including the New York Times -- as well as an assortment of websites and blogs (Washington Post, The Atlantic).
Taking Islamophobia to Mt. Kilimanjaro heights
Fischer recently took Islamophobia to Mt. Kilimanjaro-like heights by advocating that no more new mosques should be allowed to be built in this country. Chiming in on the controversy over the building of a mosque/community center two blocks from Ground Zero, Fischer, clearly opposed to that project, raised the ante by saying that "Permits should not be granted to build even one more mosque in the United States of America, let alone the monstrosity planned for Ground Zero. This is for one simple reason: each Islamic mosque is dedicated to the overthrow of the American government."
To his credit, Fischer said that he was not advocating that existing mosques be torn down, only that no new mosques be built!
In an early August commentary published at the Renew America website and titled "If you don't build it, they won't come," Fischer wrote: "If this mosque is built, you can count on the fact that thousands of Muslims every week will go to this place to praise Allah for the glorious conquest of 9/11 and to thank him for the infidel blood shed by their heroes on that day. Cries of `Allahu Akhbar' will ring through this place every Friday during prayer."
Fischer went on to propose the mother of all boycotts:
"Let's make sure everybody in New York and America knows the name of every single architectural, electrical, plumbing, and construction firm that accepts blood money to have any part of this project. Put every framing contractor, every drywall contractor, every window installer, every painting contractor, every heating and air conditioning contractor on notice that, if they take this job, it will be the last job they ever get in New York.
Playing the Hitler-was-gay card
People for the American Way's RightWingWatch noted that Fischer "was hating Muslims long before it was the cool conservative thing to do and has been calling for their mass deportation from the US for some time now."
Apparently not wanting to be seen as a one-hit-wonder, Fischer has also aimed his bile at gays, undocumented workers, Elena Kagan (recently confirmed to the U.S. Supreme Court), and California's Judge Vaughn Walker (his recent decision overturned California's Proposition 8).
Fischer even went so far as to agree with Texas Republican Congressman Joe Barton who branded the Obama Administration's negotiation with BP to set up a $20 billion fund to pay for the damage it caused in the Gulf, a "shakedown."
In a late-May broadcast, Fischer turned his attention to The Gay. He claimed that Hitler and his henchmen were gay: "Hitler himself was an active homosexual," Fischer said. "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."
In a recent interview with Talking Points Memo (TPM), Fischer "compared Muslims to the Hutaree militia, a Christian militia group in Michigan whose members were charged with plotting to attack police," TPM reported. "The fact that they were a Christian militia did not stop them from being locked up," Fischer said. And since "the Koran's entire purpose is subversive," religious protections should not necessarily extend to Muslims.
According to TPM, Fischer "pointed to a 1991 memo from the Muslim Brotherhood that is a favorite rallying point for right-wing terrorism analysts. As we've [TPM] reported, the memo is purportedly written by a `North American operative' of the group, and refers to a `Civilization-Jihadist' plan aimed at `eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within.'
`We're talking about a movement that is dedicated to the overthrow' of American civilization, said Fischer. `Their work in America is a kind of grand jihad.'"
When asked by TPM if the AFA supported his position on stopping the building of mosques, Fischer said that the "American Family Association as an organization has taken no position on the building of mosques in America."
Next month, Fischer will be going big-time: He is listed as a "confirmed speaker" at the Family Research Council's Values Voter Summit (the AFA is an event sponsor), which is scheduled for September 17-19 at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, D.C. Other confirmed speakers include Mitt Romney, Michele Bachmann, Rep. Mike Pence, and Mike Huckabee. It will be interesting to see what kind of reception he gets from the crowd if he goes full-bore Islamophobic. My guess is somewhere between shock and awe.
The Unbearable Lightness of Bryan Fischer | 3 comments (3 topical, 0 hidden)
The Unbearable Lightness of Bryan Fischer | 3 comments (3 topical, 0 hidden)