A few days ago, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) issued a press release urging members of Congress not to attend the Family Research Council’s annual “Values Voter Summit,” which kicks off today.
The SPLC noted that the FRC and the American Family Association (AFA), which co-sponsors the Summit, “have long records of vilifying the LGBT community and spreading other forms of bigotry.”
In response, the AFA issued a press statement accusing the SPLC of being “an agent of hate by mindlessly and recklessly stirring up animosity against Americans who share the Christian values of the Founders.”
Furthermore, the AFA asserts, the SPLC is “a shameless fund-raising scam” that uses “innuendo, lies and manufactured charges” to rake in money. The SPLC’s crime, it seems, is that it has been raising funds to build an endowment – a fairly typical thing for non-profits to do.
Does the AFA spread bigotry? Is the group extreme? We can best answer those questions by examining some things that Bryan Fischer, the AFA’s director of issue analysis for government and public policy, has said within the past few years. Fischer has become a rock star in the world of the Religious Right by making outrageous statements. The AFA has made no effort to reel him in.
Here are just a few of Fischer’s greatest hits:
September 2013: Fischer says that liberals plan to “eliminate” conservative Christians from society and force them into special zones where they’ll be required to wear identifying badges – just like Nazi Germany.
June 2013: In the wake of the Supreme Court’s ruling striking down key provisions of the Defense of Marriage Act, Fischer tweets, “With the DOMA decision, we have ceased to be a constitutional republic. The words “We the people’ are now meaningless” and “The DOMA ruling has now made the normalization of polygamy, pedophilia, incest and bestiality inevitable. Matter of time.”
May 2013: Men, Fischer patiently explains, are “designed to be breadwinners for their families.” Women, on the other hand, are supposed to focus on “making a home for her children and for her husband.” If a woman works outside the home and earns more than her husband, Fischer said, “that’s gonna put some stress on his psyche, gonna put some stress on that marriage.”
March 2011: Fischer writes a blog post in which he opines that non-Christians have no legal rights in the United States. The First Amendment, he said, “was written by the Founders to protect the free exercise of Christianity.” Fischer went on to assert, “From a constitutional point of view, Muslims have no First Amendment right to build mosques in America. They have that privilege at the moment, but it is a privilege that can be revoked if, as is in fact the case, Islam is a totalitarian ideology dedicated to the destruction of the United States.”
February 2011: Native Americans, Fischer writes in a column, deserved to have their land taken from them due to their “superstition, savagery and sexual immorality.” Observed Fischer, “The native American tribes at the time of the European settlement and founding of the United States were, virtually without exception, steeped in the basest forms of superstition, had been guilty of savagery in warfare for hundreds of years, and practiced the most debased forms of sexuality.”
March 2010: Fischer opines that a killer whale at SeaWorld that killed its trainer must be stoned to death because that’s the biblical penalty for animals that cause the death of a human.
September 2009: Addressing the Values Voter Summit, Fischer tells the crowd that Adolf Hitler invented the separation of church and state. “Politics do not belong in the church, the church must be separate from the state – these two mottos, these two slogans…came directly from the mind of Adolf Hitler,” Fischer remarked. “Those two mottos, those two slogans, were official mottos, official slogans, of the Nazi Party.”
That’s just a sample of what the AFA’s star employee has been saying over the past few years. And what about the SPLC? What has it been up to?
Well, it has successfully sued a number of neo-Nazi groups (causing some of them to shut down), closely monitored white supremacist organizations and sounded the alarm about their activities, published data on hate groups and sponsored programs that educate young people about LGBT citizens and their rights – among other things.
I leave it to you to determine which group is extreme.