It is important to remember our history. For decades the Ku Klux Klan was presented in the South as a respectable Christian organization standing up for biblical values. After all, bible verses were used to justify slavery, white superiority, Jim Crow, and to oppose inter-racial marriage. Klansmen even attended church on Sundays in their local community. The KKK was so respected among White Christian Southerners that for decades one could not get elected to public office in much of the South without being a member of the Klan. While the KKK has fallen out of favor in recent decades, there remain two other “Christian” organizations that still use Bible verses and fake science to justify legal discrimination against others, to include women, blacks, Native Americans, non-Christians, and gays. These two “Christian” groups have millions of followers across the US and their leaders hold significant sway with members of the Republican Party.
One is the Mississippi-based American Family Association, whose official spokesperson (until recently), still has a radio show on the AFA network that is almost a required stop for potential GOP presidential candidates and other leading republicans. This is despite the organization being classified as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). The SPLC became famous for fighting the Ku Klux Klan, Aryan Nations, and other hate groups. Today the SPLC is widely respected and law enforcement agencies and the federal government consider it the leading authority for information on hate groups. Although the American Family Association (AFA) often claims they were listed as a hate group merely for “upholding traditional Christian beliefs on marriage”, the truth is that thousands of Christian organizations oppose same-sex marriage but only a handful are listed as hate groups by the SPLC. The real reason the AFA was listed as a hate group is because its leaders regularly lie about and demonize entire groups of Americans. The AFA regularly uses widely discredited ‘research’ to attack and demonize fellow Americans. Here are a few quotes from the (recent) AFA spokesman Bryan Fischer:
“Homosexuality gave us Adolph Hitler, and homosexuals in the military gave us the Brown Shirts, the Nazi war machine and six million dead Jews.” – Bryan Fischer Web post, “Homosexuality, Hitler, and ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,'” 2010
“Black women…rut like rabbits”
“Ladies and gentlemen, they [gay people] are Nazi’s. 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.”
“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.”
Mr. Fischer regularly (and falsely) links being gay with pedophilia and bestiality. This despite the fact that scientific medical organizations all agree that there is no such link. Yet Mr. Fischer chooses to lie anyway, and this is one reason why the AFA is listed as a hate group. Such lies promote hostility and violence toward law-abiding gay Americans. In this sense, Christian hate groups like the AFA have contributed to suicides, beatings, and murders of gay citizens, and they have done so under the banner of the Church.
Mr. Fischer has argued that the government should abolish laws that require hospitals to treat anyone who shows up in a medical emergency, apparently so the poor can die in the streets instead. In one blog post (later deleted after an uproar) he claimed that treating Native Americans like the Israelites treated the Canaanites in the Old Testament (i.e., total genocide) would be justified on account of the tribes’ rejection of Christianity and then (in another since- deleted post) Fischer elaborated that “the superstition, savagery and sexual immorality” of Native American culture rendered them “morally disqualified from sovereign control of American soil.”
Mr. Fischer repeatedly claims that being gay is a threat to public health, even while he opposes the state encouraging committed gay relationships through marriage. Truth be told, being gay is no more of a health risk than being heterosexual is. Viruses – be they HIV, hepatitis C, herpes or any other STD’s, are not spread through monogamous sexual behavior whether gay or straight. Sexual promiscuity of any kind spreads health problems, and gay men have shown that they can be just as committed and monogamous as straight couples can be. Yet Mr. Fischer repeatedly, falsely links health concerns to being gay, including lying about the average age of death of gay men and the number of average sex partners of gays.
In 2014, Mr. Fischer wrote in his column that the CIA torture of suspected militants was justified and biblical. How the AFA passes as a moral Christian organization is beyond me. It is the antithesis of everything Jesus stood for.
In 2015 the AFA demoted Mr. Fischer from his post as a spokesman after Mr. Fischer’s statements were referenced in a news story about a trip to Israel paid for by the AFA for Republican leaders. The AFA then repudiated some of Mr. Fischer’s more extreme views. However, the AFA continues to air his radio program and provides a studio to broadcast his views from. It’s kind of like saying we disagree with the KKK but will continue to give them a radio show on our network. The AFA had no problem with Mr. Fischer’s statements for years – until they drew national scrutiny. Only then did they decide to act. They still air his radio program.
Even today GOP politicians, including presidential contenders, regularly go on Mr. Fischer’s radio show and Christian leaders remain silent about this ‘Christian’ leaders racism, bigotry, advocacy for laws that harm poor citizens, and outright lies about gay citizens. When this man falsely links gays with pedophilia he is purposely inflaming anti-gay bigotry and helping to incite violence. Yet he is a Christian leader?