Bryan Fischer

Fischer: President Herman Cain Will End Racism In America

As we have noted before, Bryan Fischer may be a lot of things, but self-aware is not one of them.

On his radio program yesterday, Fischer came to Herman Cain's defense while discussing the contentious interview Cain had with MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell last week as Fischer lashed out at the "pathetic arrogance of a privileged white guy" telling someone they are not black enough before going on to declare that only a Herman Cain presidency can end racism in America:

I mean, the pathetic arrogance of a white guy, a privileged white guy, sitting there accusing someone else for not being black enough.

Now you talk about a guy who would be a post-racial president, Herman Cain is it. Now everybody said Barack Obama gonna be a post-racial president, gonna be a whole new dawn, the era of racism is over and racial tension is far worse under Barack Obama than it was before.

The only chance that it will get better is you have somebody like Herman Cain in the White House.

This would be the same "privileged white guy" who asserted earlier this year that Barack Obama was not "authentically black": 

Values Voter Summit 2011 & America in 2013

As RWW readers know, the Values Voter Summit, the year’s biggest political gathering for the Religious Right, took place in Washington, D.C. this past weekend.  Every Republican presidential candidate with the exception of Jon Huntsman addressed the summit, evidence of the continuing importance of Religious Right activists and political groups to the GOP. Polls suggest that the Religious Right is about twice as big as the Tea Party, with significant overlap between the two movements. Ron Paul’s campaign packed in enough voters to win the straw poll, but it would be wrong to say he was the favorite of the Values Voter crowd. It was up-and-coming candidate Herman Cain who won the loudest cheers (and took second place).

The two days of speeches from presidential candidates, congressional leaders, and Religious Right activists painted a clear picture of where they’ll try to take the country if they are successful in their 2012 electoral goals.  In their America, banks and corporations would be free from pesky consumer and worker protections; there would be no Environmental Protection Agency and no federal support for education; women would have no access to abortion; gays would be second-class citizens; and for at least some of them, religious minorities would have to know their place and be grateful that they are tolerated in this Christian nation. 
 
Here’s a recap of some major themes from the conference.
 
Religious Bigotry on Parade
 
In one of the most extreme expressions of the “Christian nation” approach to government, the American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer has stated repeatedly that the religious liberty of non-Christians is not protected by the First Amendment.  More specifically, he says Mormons are not protected by the First Amendment.  For whatever reason, VVS organizers scheduled Romney and Fischer back-to-back on Saturday morning. 
 
Before the conference, People For the American Way called on Romney to take on Fischer’s bigotry, which he did, albeit in a vague and tepid manner, criticizing “poisonous” rhetoric without naming Fischer or explaining why his views are poison.  Getting greater media attention were comments by Baptist pastor Robert Jeffress, who in his introduction of Texas Gov. Rick Perry insisted on the importance of electing a “genuine” follower of Christ. Reporters who accurately saw this as a swipe at Romney’s faith asked Jeffress about it, and he labeled Mormonism a cult.  (Mormons consider themselves Christians, but many Christians, including Southern Baptists, believe Mormon theology is anything but.)  Following Romney at the microphone, Fischer doubled down, insisting that the next president has to be a Christian “in the mold of” the founding fathers.  Fischer’s inaccurate sense of history is eclipsed only by his lack of respect for church-state separation and for the Constitution itself – even though he insisted that his religious test for the presidency was really a “political test.” Romney took only four percent in the VVS straw poll, even though he has been leading in recent polls of GOP voters.
 
Beating up on Obama
 
Religious Right leaders routinely denounce President Barack Obama, so it is no surprise that a major theme of the VVS was attacking the president and his policies.  Perhaps the nicest thing anyone said about the president was Mitt Romney’s snide remark that Obama is “the conservative movement’s top recruiter.”    Among the nastiest came from virtue-monger Bill Bennett, who said, “if you voted for him last time to prove you are not a racist, you must vote against him this time to prove you are not an idiot.” Rep. Anne Buerkle, one of the Tea Party freshmen, said flat out that the president is not concerned about what is best for the country. 
 
Health care and foreign policy were top policy targets.  Many speakers denounced “Obamacare,” and most of the presidential candidates promised to make dismantling health care reform a top priority. Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, a Religious Right favorite who is leading a legal challenge to the health care reform law, said that if the Supreme Court did not overturn it, Americans would go from being citizens to subjects.  Just about every speaker attacked President Obama for not being strong enough in support of Israel, and repeated a favorite right-wing talking point by pledging to “never apologize” for U.S. actions abroad.
 
Gays as Enemies of Liberty
 
It is clear that a Republican takeover of the Senate and White House would put advances toward equality for LGBT Americans in peril.  Speaker after speaker denounced the recent repeal of the ban on openly gay and lesbian servicemembers in the armed forces; many also attacked marriage equality for same-sex couples.  And many portrayed liberty as a zero-sum game, insisting that advances toward equality posed a dire threat to religious liberty. Rep. Mike Pompeo said “You cannot use our military to promote social ideals that do not reflect the values of our nation,” concluding his remarks with a call for the election of more Republicans, saying “ride to the sounds of the guns and send us more troops.”
Another member of the 2010 freshman class – Rep. Vicky Hartzler – attacked the Obama administration for “trying to use the military to advance their social agenda,” saying, “It’s wrong and it must be stopped.” Predictably, the AFA’s Fischer was the most vitriolic and insisted that the country needs a president “who will treat homosexual behavior not as a political cause at all but as a threat to public health.”
 
Loving Wall Street, Hating Wall Street Protesters
 
On the same day that moving pictures of Kol Nidre services at the site of Occupy Wall Street protests made the rounds on the Internet, Values Voter Summit speakers portrayed the protests as dangerous and violent.  Others simply mocked the protesters without taking seriously the objections being raised to growing inequality and economic hardship in America.  House Majority Leader Eric Cantor denounced the “growing mobs” associated with the protests and decried “the pitting of Americans against Americans.” (Too bad he didn’t stick around to hear the rest of the speakers).  Glenn Beck denounced “Jon Stewart Marxism” and warned that the protests were the sign of an approaching “storm of biblical proportions” in which “the violent left” would smash, tear down, kill, bankrupt, and destroy.  Pundit Laura Ingraham simply made fun of the protesters and held up her own “hug the rich” sign.  Rising star Herman Cain defended Wall Street, blaming the nation’s economic crisis on policymakers, not reckless and irresponsible financiers.  Nobody wanted to regulate the financiers; speakers called for a repeal of the Dodd-Frank law. 
 
A number of speakers promoted Christian Reconstructionist notions of “Biblical economics,” with Star Parker declaring that “this whole notion of redistribution of wealth is inconsistent with scripture” and calling for the selection of a candidate with commitment to the free market according to the Bible.  Ron Paul also insisted “debt is not a political principle.”  The AFA’s Bryan Fischer said that liberalism is based on violating two of the Ten Commandments, namely thou shall not steal, and thou shall not covet anything that belongs to your neighbor.  Liberalism, he said, is “driven by angry, bitter, acquisitive greed for the wealth of productive Americans.” 
 
No Love for Libertarians
 
A major theme at last year’s Values Voter Summit, as at other recent Religious Right political events, was an effort to make social-issue libertarians unwelcome in the conservative movement by insisting that you cannot legitimately claim to be a fiscal conservative if you are not also pushing “traditional family values.”  The same theme was sounded this year by the very first speaker, Tony Perkins.  Another, Joe Carter, took a shot at gay conservatives, saying it was not possible to be conservative and for gay marriage – it simply made you a “liberal who likes tax cuts.”  Carter said “social conservative” should be redundant. Ingraham echoed the theme, calling for an end to conservative modifiers (social, fiscal, national security) and, echoing popular Christian writer C.S. Lewis, called for a commitment to “mere conservatism.”  There were far fewer mentions of the Tea Party movement itself at this year’s VVS, perhaps owing to the movement’s unpopularity – or to the fact that the GOP itself has essentially become one big Tea Party party.
 
Crying Wolf on Religious Persecution
 
Religious Right leaders routinely energize movement activists with dire warnings about threats to religious liberty and the alleged religious persecution of Christians in America.  William Bennett said liberals are bigoted against “people who publicly love their God, who publicly love their country.”  Retired Gen. William Boykin said Christians are facing the greatest persecution ever in America.   The American Center for Law & Justice’s Jay Sekulow warned that the next president will probably select two Supreme Court justices, and that if it isn’t a conservative president, our Judeo-Christian values could be “eliminated.”  Crying wolf about persecution of Christians in America is offensive given the very real suffering of people in countries that do not enjoy religious freedom.  Several speakers addressed the case of a Christian pastor facing death in Iran.  That is persecution; having your political tactics challenged or losing a court case is not.
 
America is Exceptional; Europe Sucks
 
Republican strategists decided a couple of years ago that “American exceptionalism” would be a campaign theme in 2010 and 2012, and we heard plenty of talk about it at the Values Voter Summit.  Among the many who spoke about American exceptionalism was Rep. Steve King, who said “this country was ordained and built by His hand,” that the Declaration of Independence was written with divine guidance, and that God moved the founding fathers around the globe like chess pieces .  Liberals, said the Heritage Foundation’s Matthew Spalding, don’t share a belief in American exceptionalism or the American dream. Many speakers contrasted a freedom-loving, God-fearing America to socialist, post-Christian Europe.  Rick Perry said “those in the White House” don’t believe in American exceptionalism; they’d rather emulate the failed policies of Europe.  Gen. Boykin declared Europe “hopelessly lost.”
 
Smashing the Regulatory State
 
The anti-government, anti-regulatory fervor of billionaire right-wing funders like the Koch brothers was on vibrant display at the VVS.  Without the slightest nod to the fact that regulating the behavior of corporations’ treatment of workers, consumers, and the environment is in any way beneficial, a member of a Heritage Foundation panel said conservatives’ goal should be to “break the back” of the “regulatory state.”  Some presidential candidates vowed to halt every regulation issued during the Obama administration.  Michele Bachmann said her goal was to “dismantle” the bureaucracy.
 
Judging Judges
 
Many speakers criticized judges for upholding abortion rights, church-state separation, and gay rights. Newt Gingrich took these attacks to a whole new level, calling for right-wing politicians to provoke a  constitutional crisis in which the legislative and executive branch would ignore court rulings they didn’t like.  He called the notion of “judicial supremacy” an “affront to the American system of self-government.” Aside from Gingrich’s very dubious constitutional theory, the speech seemed out of place at a conference in which speakers had been calling for the Supreme Court to overturn the health care law passed by Congress and signed into law by President Obama.
 
Deconstructing the ‘Pursuit of Happiness’
 
VVS speakers love quoting the Declaration of Independence, but some are clearly a little troubled with the notion that the “pursuit of happiness” is an inalienable right, one that might apply, for example, to happy, loving gay couples.  Rick Santorum said that the founders’ understanding of “happiness” meant “the morally right thing” and doing what God wants.  Steve King said the  pursuit of happiness was not like a tailgate party, but the pursuit of excellence in moral and spiritual development.  Michele Bachman has equated the pursuit of happiness with private property.
 
Notably weird speeches
 
Mat Staver of the Liberty Counsel gave a meandering address that moved from U.S. policy on Israel to the war on Islamic radicalism to an attack on the United Nations to denunciations of sexologist Alfred Kinsey and humanist/educator John Dewey for undermining western civilization. He warned against conservatives using rhetoric that might push the growing Latino population into the maw of the “leftist machine,” making an aside about Latinos whose names end in “z” having a special connection to Israel.
 
Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, who ended up taking third place in the straw poll, seemed personally hurt that conservative evangelicals weren’t rallying around him given all that he had done for them and the price he had paid for it.  He whined, “Don’t you want a president who’s comfortable in his shoes talking about these issues?”
 
Rep. Steve King of Iowa said that people who support marriage equality or legal abortion don’t do so because they have a value system supporting those things, but because they want to spite the Religious Right – “because they know it’s precious to us.”
 
Former Fox TV personality Glenn Beck gave a trademark lurching speech contrasting visceral anger with his recitation of Abraham Lincoln’s “with malice toward none.” The speech was long on mockery of Wall Street protestors and on the messianic narcissism that was on display at his Lincoln Memorial rally last year.  “We need to give America the same choice” that Moses gave Israel, he said: good or evil, light or dark, life or death, freedom or slavery.  He said America is in a religious war, a race war, a class war, and other wars.  In one breath he insisted that the nation “must return to God” and talked about the “country’s salvation” – and in the next he denounced the notion of “collective salvation,” which he has elsewhere attributed to President Obama and denounced as evil and satanic.
 

Bryan Fischer Pleads Ignorance About His "Poisonous Language"

On AFA Today with Buster Wilson this morning, Bryan Fischer said he was stunned that Mitt Romney rebuked him, albeit not by name, for having crossed a line in civil debate and using “poisonous language.” As Kyle points out, Fischer has been playing the victim and defended himself during the same interview, saying, “Jesus used far more incendiary and inflammatory language than I have ever used.”

Fischer told Wilson that he was on Romney’s “hit list” since the 2008 campaign and “didn’t anticipate that he would go after me” at the Religious Right gathering. He also expressed bewilderment that Romney would characterize his language as “poisonous,” saying he has “no idea” what Romney was talking about. Fischer and Wilson went on to name People For the American Way’s Right Wing Watch for pressuring Romney to call out Fischer and his unremitting bigotry:

Fischer has a point, as RWW has documented and exposed Fischer’s ultraconservative, intolerant, and discriminatory bombast for years, or as Fischer puts it, waged a “jihad” and “holy war” against him. We have repeatedly asked Republican presidential candidates, congressmen and senators who appear on his radio show and the presidential candidates, Romney in particular, who were sharing a stage with him at the Values Voter Summit to denounce him.

Since Fischer seems to have “no idea” what in his rhetoric could have forced Romney to condemn him, we put together this video to remind Fischer that the word “poisonous” may actually be an understatement:

Fischer Plays The Victim, Decries Romney's Rude and Insulting Attack On Him

As you are probably aware, People For The American Way had been calling on Mitt Romney to denounce the unmitigated bigotry of the American Family Association's Bryan Fischer during last week's Values Voter Summit where Fischer was scheduled to take the stage directly following Romney.

And, much to our surprise, Romney actually did so, albeit in a vague and rather timid manner without actually mentioning Fischer by name.

Nonetheless, the incident is not sitting well with Fischer at all, who dedicated a good portion of his radio program yesterday to playing the victim and blasting Romney for his classless, tacky, impolite, rude, and insulting attack on him:

It was just an odd thing to me, it was just bizarre because I did not think that Mitt Romney would fall for the bait. I mean, the Left was trying to goad him into attacking me and I didn't think he would do it - I thought he had too much class for that. What he did was completely and utterly lacking in class. It was tacky, it was impolite, it was rude, he insulted his host in the presence of the guests; the host who had made it possible for him to speak to the pro-family community. I just thought he had more class than that.

When I came out into the main lobby outside of the room where we were meeting, I was just besieged by the media, just inundated, enveloped with media. I had never experienced anything like that before and the only reason was because Mitt Romney attacked me. So they wanted to know what I thought about that and I explained that I thought it was pretty tacky, I thought it was unpresidential of him to do that. And they said "when Governor Romney was referring to your 'poisonous language,' what was he talking about?' I said "I have absolutely no idea."

Jesus used poisonous language. He was the one who referred to the Pharisees as a brood of vipers. I've never said that about anyone. I mean, Jesus used far more incendiary and inflammatory language than I have ever used.

Bryan Fischer's Speech To The Values Voter Summit

During his address to the Values Voter Summit, Bryan Fischer made the same claims he always made: Islam is evil and Muslims are traitors, LGBT equality threatens freedom, and the Constitution protects only Christians (not Mormons). After posting clips from the speech of Fischer attacking gay rights and the theory of evolution, we decided to post his speech in full.

Remember that presidential candidates Herman CainMichele Bachmann and Newt Gingrich have all appeared on his show, along with past candidates Tim Pawlenty and Mike Huckabee. In addition, Fischer is the spokesman for the organization, the American Family Association, that co-hosted The Response prayer rally with Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

Part I:

Part II:

PFAW, Fischer React To Mitt Romney

People For the American Way repeatedly called on Mitt Romney this week to denounce Bryan Fischer, the radical American Family Association spokesman who immediately followed Romney at the Values Voter Summit and whose relentless bigotry has been thoroughly chronicled here at PFAW's Right Wing Watch. Romney did in fact use the opportunity to put at least a little distance between himself and Fischer:

People For the American Way president Michael Keegan said in a statement:

“Mitt Romney clearly realized that his presidential campaign couldn’t ignore the bigotry of Bryan Fischer and the American Family Association,” said Michael Keegan, President of People For the American Way . “I’m glad that he saw fit to put at least a small distance between himself and the hate speech regularly pushed by Fischer, even if he couldn’t bring himself to call Fischer out by name. Since he began running for President, Mitt Romney has bent over backwards in a desperate attempt to make himself palatable to the extreme right. At least we’ve seen that there are some things he’s willing to speak out against, no matter how tepid his condemnation may be. It’s disappointing that none of the other candidates have been willing to go even that far.”

Naturally, Fischer did not take kindly to Romney's subtle rebuke. Fischer called out People For the American Way, along with The New York Times and the Southern Poverty Law Center, and slammed Romney as "tasteless and tawdry." Watch Fischer's reaction in a video captured by Think Progress:

Romney Calls Out Bryan Fischer's Bigotry

Earlier this week, when we found out that Mitt Romney would be speaking directly before anti-gay, anti-Muslim, anti-Mormon extremist Bryan Fischer at the Values Voter Summit, we called on Romney to "prove us wrong" and call out Bryan Fischer. And today he did, even if not by name. The implication was clear when Mitt Romney said that the speaker following him, Fischer, crosses the line and uses "poisonous language."

Watch:

Our values ennoble the citizen, and they strengthen the nation. We should remember that decency and civility are values too. One of the speakers who will follow me today, has crossed that line I think. Poisonous language does not advance our cause. It has never softened a single heart nor changed a single mind. The blessings of faith carry the responsibility of civil and respectful debate. The task before us is to focus on the conservative beliefs and the values that unite us – let no agenda, narrow our vision or drive us apart.

Jeffress: Vote For Perry Because Romney Is Not A True Christian

Following his endorsement and introduction of Rick Perry at the Values Voter Summit, Robert Jeffress went on Focal Point with Bryan Fischer to chastise Romney's Mormon faith, arguing that he is not a "true, born again follower of Christ." He said that only Perry can defeat "the most pro-homosexual, most pro-abortion president in history."

"It is not Christianity, it is not a branch of Christianity," Jeffress said, "It is a cult." Jeffress went on to explain that many evangelical Christians will not vote for Romney because he is a Mormon and therefore not "indwelt by the Holy Spirit of God." He even claimed that Romney's Mormon faith "speaks to the integrity issue" as it explains why he has reversed his position on abortion rights, among other issues.

Incidentally, Bryan Fischer will be speaking immediately after Romney at the summit and has claimed that Mormons do not have rights under the First Amendment. As we have previously noted, this is not the first time Jeffress has attacked the Mormon faith and Mitt Romney for his religion, saying Mormons "worship a false god."

Watch:

UPDATE: Watch Jeffress' introduction of Perry, where he makes a subtle contrast at the end of Perry, a "born again follower of the Lord Jesus Christ," to Romney, who is simply a "good, moral person":

Fischer: All Will Be Lost If Gay Marriage Passes

On Focal Point today Bryan Fischer says that everything, even the country's economic future and national security, relies on whether Americans can defeat marriage equality. Fischer went on to say that George Washington would view LGBT rights activists and groups that support the separation of church and state are "anti-American":

Fischer: Our survival as a civilization, as a culture, depends on protecting the institution of marriage, everything is at risk here: our economic prosperity, our survival, our national security, all of it hinges on our willingness as a culture to protect monogamy and to protect the institution of marriage. You know, George Washington says 'In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism, who would labor to subvert these two great pillars,' you push these pillars over, you undermine the foundation of these pillars, you cause them to weaken, you cause them to crumble, you are not a patriot. So George Washington would have no hesitation of looking at groups like Americans United for Separation of Church and State, ACLU, Freedom From Religion Foundation, all of these gay rights groups, George Washington would have absolutely no hesitation saying these groups are unpatriotic, they are un-American, in fact they are anti-American because they are laboring to subvert the pillars which this civilization rests.

Fischer: Halal Foods Represent "Creeping" Sharia

It’s that time of year again when anti-Muslim activists discuss the growing threat of halal foods. WorldNetDaily has published yet another exposé into the “march of Sharia” through the “growth of halal foods,” quoting American Family Association spokesman Bryan Fischer as an authority on the matter. Fischer, who has called American Muslims a “toxic cancer” on society and wants the U.S. to deport all Muslims, implied that the availability of halal foods is an illustration of “creeping” Sharia law:

Specialty markets first supplied "halal" food to Muslims in America, then restaurants joined in the effort and now the very grocery stores from which you buy hamburger and chops are offering food that has been slaughtered according to Islamic ritual, according to responses from food outlets contacted by WND.

Islam requires Muslims to eat such "halal" food, which as part of the religion's rituals already has been dedicated to the Muslim god Allah.

And it's an alarming issue for Christians because the Bible warns against eating food previously dedicated to idols. Mark Biltz of El Shaddai Ministries in Bonney Lake, Wash., has explained in previous WND reports that eating food that's "halal" would be the same as disregarding the Bible's commands.

"From the Christian standpoint, Allah would be an idol," Biltz told WND earlier.



But Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association also has expressed alarm.

"To see where things are going with this whole halal business, look no further than the U.K., where grocers have gone whole-hog – pardon the expression – on offering halal meat but without telling anybody about it.

"Shariah law is no longer creeping up on us. It's bearing down on us at full gallop. It's time for Christian civilization to grab the reins of this runaway horse and stop it dead in its tracks. No Shariah law in America, period."

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Will this model be the Right’s latest “victim” of the “homosexual agenda”?
  • Pat Robertson is under fire for calling Mitt Romney an “excellent Christian.”
  • Speaking of Romney, is he ever going to distance himself from Bryan Fischer in light of Fischer’s anti-Mormon comments? Probably not, and here’s why.

Fischer: I Am Persecuted For Telling The Truth

Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association broadcast his radio show today from Washington, where he is attending this weekend’s Values Voter Summit. Fischer spoke with Family Research Council senior fellow Peter Sprigg about how gays and lesbians should simply suppress their sexual orientations, with Fischer saying that his anti-gay outlook represents a “more noble view of humanity” than the worldview of gay rights advocates. Sprigg went on to say that “in terms of their identity, we as Christians believe that every human being is born in the image of God, and to be born in the image of God is a far higher and better thing than for anyone to be born gay”:

Fischer also addressed People For the American Way’s letter to Mitt Romney and the New York Times story on the issue that asked why Romney is appearing directly before Fischer, despite his virulent anti-gay, anti-Muslim, anti-Native American and anti-Mormon rhetoric. Fischer said that he has “done nothing but tell the truth about homosexuality, about gay rights, about Muslims and Mormons,” and that when you “tell the truth, as far as the left concerns, [it is] unmitigated bigotry.”

Watch:

The New York Times piece goes on to say “The conference, from Friday to Sunday in Washington, is sponsored by the Family Research Council, the American Family Association” that would be us, “and other evangelical Christian groups. It aims to energize social conservatives and test the fidelity of the candidates.” All true. “The conference planners have obliged Mr. Romney, scheduling him to speak right before Bryan Fischer, who is chief spokesman for the family association and is known for his strident remarks on homosexuality, gay rights, Muslims and Mormons.” Now again, when you just tell the truth, that’s all I’ve done, I’ve done nothing but tell the truth about homosexuality, about gay rights, about Muslims and Mormons. That’s all I’ve done. I didn’t make anything up; I have just told the truth. You tell the truth as far as the left is concerned, that makes you strident. In fact my comments, my speech, is gonna be followed by a panel of same-sex marriage opponents. And then the New York Times guy talks about People For the American Way calling on especially Mr. Romney to publicly disassociate themselves from Mr. Fischer and his quote “unmitigated bigotry.” So once again, tell the truth, as far as the left concerns, “unmitigated bigotry.”

No First Amendment Protections For Mormons? Romney Camp Bravely Offers No Comment

Earlier this week, we here at People For the American Way called on the Republican presidential hopefuls who are scheduled to speak at the upcoming Values Voter Summit to denounce the unmitigated bigotry of the American Family Association's Bryan Fischer.  

We singled out Mitt Romney because he is scheduled to speak directly before Fischer on Saturday and Fischer has recently begun asserting that the First Amendment does not apply to any "non-Christian religions," including Mormonism.

Given that Romney is going to be directly preceding Fischer on stage at the Values Voter Summit, you'd think that he might have something to say regarding Fischer's extreme views - but today the New York Times' Erik Eckholm took note of our effort and reached out to the Romney campaign for a statement and, not surprisingly, the Romney camp has so far refused to comment:

The liberal advocacy group People for the American Way has called on the presidential candidates, and especially Mr. Romney because he will share a stage, to publicly disassociate themselves from Mr. Fischer and what it called, in a statement on Wednesday, his “unmitigated bigotry.” The Southern Poverty Law Center has made similar appeals to the candidates.

...

Mr. Fischer has stood out for his harsh statements on his daily radio show, likening gay rights advocates to domestic terrorists, arguing that gay men and lesbians should be barred from public office and repeating the far-fetched theory that homosexuals built the Nazi Party. He has said that American Muslims should be banned from the military and that Mormons, let alone Muslims, should not enjoy First Amendment protections because these are reserved for true Christians.

“If Mitt Romney wants to appeal to mainstream audiences, he should publicly disassociate himself from Fischer’s bigotry before handing him the podium,” said Michael Keegan, president of People for the American Way.

The Romney campaign did not immediately comment on the call to distance the candidate from Mr. Fischer.

The Values Behind The Values Voter Summit

Earlier today we posted a memo examining the views and statements of some of the key speakers and sponsors with whom several Republican presidential candidates will be associating with the upcoming Values Voter Summit.

To accompany that document, we decided to go through our video archives and put together a compilation of past statements made by leaders associated with three of the Values Voter Summit's main sponsors - Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, Matt Barber of Liberty Counsel, and Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association:

Who’s Who at the Values Voter Summit 2011

This weekend, nearly every major GOP presidential candidate, along with the top two Republicans in the House of Representatives, will speak at the Values Voter Summit, an annual gathering of the leaders of the movement to integrate fundamentalist Christianity and American politics.

The candidates – Mitt Romney, Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich – and the congressmen – House Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor – will join a who’s who of the far Right at the event. The organizers of the Values Voter Summit and many of its prominent attendees are on the frontlines of removing hard-won rights for gay and lesbian Americans, restricting women’s access to reproductive healthcare, undermining the free exercise rights of non-Christian religions and breaking down the wall of separation between church and state.

In perhaps the starkest illustration of how far even mainstream Republican candidates are willing to go to appease the Religious Right, Mitt Romney is scheduled to speak immediately before the American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer, a man whose record of hate speech should be shocking by any standard. Along with regularly denigrating gays and lesbians, Muslims, and other minority groups, Fischer has no love for Romney’s Mormon faith. In a radio program last week, Fischer insisted that Mormons have no right to religious freedom under the First Amendment and falsely claimed that the LDS Church still sanctions polygamy.

People For the American Way has called on GOP presidential candidates appearing at the conference to denounce Fischer’s bigotry. Last year, PFAW issued a similar call to attendees, which was met with silence.

The following is a guide to some of the individuals with whom the leaders of the GOP will be rubbing shoulders at the Values Voter Summit this year.

Bryan Fischer

Bryan Fischer is the Director of Issues Analysis at the American Family Association, which is a sponsor of the Values Voter Summit. Fischer acts as the chief spokesman for the group and also hosts its flagship radio program, Focal Point, on which he has interviewed a number of prominent figures including Bachmann, Gingrich, Santorum and Mike Huckabee.

On his radio program and in blog posts, Fischer frequently expresses unmitigated bigotry toward a number of minority groups, including gays and lesbians, Muslim Americans, Native Americans, low-income African Americans and Mormons.

Fischer has:

At a speech at last year’s Values Voter Summit, Fischer said that if Christians don’t get involved in politics, they “make a deliberate decision to turn over the running of the United States government to atheists and pagans.” Of the gay rights movement, he warned, “We are going to have to choose, as a nation, between the homosexual agenda and freedom, because the two cannot coexist.”

Tony Perkins

Tony Perkins is president of the Family Research Council, the main organizer of this weekend’s summit. Perkins leads the group’s efforts against gay rights, abortion rights and church/state separation.

The FRC famously expressed its hostility to religious pluralism in a 2000 statement blasting a Hindu priest who was invited to give an opening prayer in Congress: "[W]hile it is true that the United States of America was founded on the sacred principle of religious freedom for all, that liberty was never intended to exalt other religions to the level that Christianity holds in our country's heritage…. Our Founders … would have found utterly incredible the idea that all religions, including paganism, be treated with equal deference."

The FRC has one of the most anti-gay platforms of any major political organization, including expressions of support for the criminalization of homosexuality. Earlier this year, the group called on members to pray for the continuation of Malawi’s law prohibiting homosexuality , under which a gay couple was sentenced to fourteen years in jail. Senior fellow Peter Sprigg said he would “much prefer to export homosexuals from the United States than to import them into the United States because we believe homosexuality is destructive to society.”

Perkins himself frequently reflects the extreme views of his organization. He:

At last year’s Values Voter Summit, Perkins managed to simultaneously insult U.S. servicemembers and several important U.S. allies in Iraq and Afghanistan, saying that armies that allow gays and lesbians to serve openly “ participate in parades, they don’t fight wars to keep the world free .”

Mat Staver

Mat Staver is the head of the Liberty University School of Law and its legal affiliate, Liberty Counsel, both sponsors of the Values Voter Summit. Liberty Counsel vehemently opposes rights for gays and lesbians, and in July filed the lawsuit to overturn New York’s Marriage Equality Act . The group’s Director of Cultural Affairs Matt Barber has called marriage equality “ rebellion against God” and said LGBT youth are more likely to commit suicide because they know “ what they are doing is unnatural, is wrong, [and] is immoral .” Barber has also described liberalism as “hatred for God” and said the president and Democrats “are anti-God.” In fact, Liberty Counsel claimed that Obama is “ pushing America to move under the curse ” of God and “ jeopardizing our nation” for purportedly not supporting Israel.

Through his role at Liberty Counsel and on his radio program Faith & Freedom, Staver has:

Staver aggressively promotes “ex-gay” reparative therapy and warns that gays and lesbians are “ intent on trampling upon the fundamental freedoms ” of others. He is also closely linked to the saga of Lisa Miller, a woman represented by Liberty Counsel who kidnapped her daughter and fled to Central America after a court granted custody to her former partner, a lesbian woman. Although Liberty Counsel denies involvement in the kidnapping, earlier this year Miller was reportedly staying at the house of Staver’s administrative assistant’s father in Nicaragua . Staver has also taught the Miller case in his law classes as an example of an instance where “God’s law” preempts “man’s law.”

Jerry Boykin

Retired Army Lt. Gen. William “Jerry” Boykin sparked a controversy when, as a high-ranking official in the Bush Defense Department, he framed the War on Terror as a holy war against Islam. He has since built a career as a Religious Right speaker, specializing in anti-Muslim rhetoric and anti-Obama conspiracy theories. Boykin rejects religious freedom for American Muslims, claiming that Islam “is not just a religion, it is a totalitarian way of life.” In an interview with Bryan Fischer, he called for “no mosques in America.”

Boykin is a leading member of the dominionist group The Oak Initiative. In a speech at the group’s conference in April, he declared that George Soros and the Council on Foreign Relations conspired to collapse the U.S. economy in order to help President Obama get elected. Last year, he told the group that President Obama was using his health care reform legislation as a cover to establish a private army of Brownshirts loyal just to him .

Star Parker

Parker is a long-time Religious Right activist who is particularly active in anti-gay and anti-abortion rights work. As Washington, DC was poised to legalize marriage equality, Parker warned that it would lead to more HIV infections in the city, which would “ transform officially into Sodom.” In a recent radio interview with Tony Perkins, Parker mused that black family life was “ more healthy” under slavery than it is today and has accused liberals of treating Justice Clarence Thomas and Gov. Sarah Palin like runaway slaves. She has called legal abortion a “genocide” on par with slavery and the Holocaust.

Ed Vitagliano

As the AFA’s research director, Ed Vitagliano helped co-produce the 2000 anti-gay documentary “It’s Not Gay,” which is riddled with misleading statistics about gays and lesbians and promotes “ex-gay” reparative therapy. The “documentary” starred ex-gay leader Michael Johnston, a self-described “former homosexual,” who was later revealed to have been secretly having sex with other men. Vitagliano’s anti-gay work has continued apace — on the AFA’s radio program this year, Vitagliano argued that gay men are “ abusing the nature of the design of the human body” and said homosexuality is not a “ natural and normal and healthy activity.” Vitagliano also scolded congressman and civil rights hero John Lewis for supporting marriage equality , saying that Lewis “thumbed [his] nose” at God and “needs to go back and read his Bible.”

Bishop Harry Jackson

Jackson, who built his career as an avowed opponent of rights for gays and lesbians, is a regular speaker at Religious Right conferences. He has called for a “SWAT Team” of “Holy Ghost terrorists” to work against hate crimes legislation that protects gays and lesbians, and said that black organizations that support gay rights have “ sold out the black community” and have been “ co-opted by the radical gay movement .” Jackson claims that gay marriage is part of “ a Satanic plot to destroy our seed” and that the larger gay rights movement is “ an insidious intrusion of the Devil.”

Along with his fierce opposition to LGBT rights, Jackson has compared legal abortion to “lynching” and urged the Senate to defeat Elena Kagan’s nomination to the Supreme Court because she is not a Protestant (Kagan is Jewish). Jackson has even described his political efforts in apocalyptic terms, telling a Religious Right group before the 2010 elections, “God is saying to us ‘I want to pick a fight in which I can wipe out my enemies and cause them to be silenced once and for all.’ This is where America is; if we do not recognize and repent, we are going to see our way of life destroyed as we now know it.”

Lila Rose

Rose is the anti-choice activist responsible for carrying out a deceptive hit job against Planned Parenthood this year. Members of Rose’s group, Live Action, went to Planned Parenthood clinics around the country posing as clients seeking help with a child sex trafficking ring. Planned Parenthood alerted the FBI about the activity, and the one staffer who handled the supposed traffickers inappropriately was promptly fired. Nevertheless, Rose claimed that her hoax proved “beyond a shadow of a doubt that Planned Parenthood intentionally breaks state and federal laws and covers up the abuse of young girls it claims to serve.”

Rose is no newcomer to the Values Voter Summit: in a speech at 2009’s summit, she called for abortions to be performed “in the public square.”

Glenn Beck

Until Beck’s Fox News program was canceled earlier this year, he was one of the Right’s most visible fear-mongers and conspiracy theorists. When his violent rhetoric inspired some real threats against progressive leaders, he laughed off the critics who urged him to choose his words more responsibly. Beck’s elaborate conspiracy theories include the idea that socialists and Islamists were planning a global caliphate, with the help of American progressives; an obsession with the progressive funder George Soros, at whom he leveled a number of anti-Semitic smears including a personal attack that the Anti-Defamation league called “horrific”; and a distrust of President Obama, who he once said was “racist” with a “ deep-seated hatred for white people or the white culture .”

On air, Beck joked about killing prominent progressives (for instance, poisoning Nancy Pelosi’s wine), but frequently insisted that it is progressives who were urging violence, even predicting his own martyrdom. In one 2010 broadcast, he warned that "anarchists, Marxists, communists, revolutionaries, Maoists" have to "eliminate 10 percent of the U.S. population" in order to "gain control."

After a terrorist in Oslo killed dozens of young members of Norway’s Labor Party at an island summer camp, Beck attacked the victims , comparing the camp to “Hitler Youth” and calling it “disturbing.”

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Pat Robertson says he will no longer be making political endorsements because "the truth of the matter is politics is not going to change our world. It's really not going to make that much of a difference."
  • Suddenly, Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney are BFFs.
  • Bryan Fischer is very excited that Rush Limbaugh talked about his article on the radio, even though Limbaugh has no idea who Fischer is or where he saw the article.
  • Lots of legislators seem to love Wallbuilders "ProFamily Legislators Conference."
  • Finally, the Supreme Court has rejected Alan Keyes' birther lawsuit.

Maddow Admonishes GOP Field For Sharing The Stage With Bryan Fischer

On Friday, Rachel Maddow reproached Republican presidential candidates for planning to appear alongside American Family Association spokesman Bryan Fischer at the upcoming Values Voter Summit. Maddow pointed out that Fischer, along with being “outlandishly all caps bigoted against every other group in America that you can think of” with his anti-gay, anti-Muslim and anti-Native American rhetoric, believes that the First Amendment does not apply to Mormons, which makes it “particularly awkward” that Mitt Romney, a Mormon, is speaking immediately before Fischer at the conference.

Watch, with the clip beginning three minutes into the segment:

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Disappointingly, Mike Huckabee is not considering entering the Republican presidential race.
  • Glenn Beck is now targeting kids with a new children's show on his GBTV network.
  • Bryan Fischer's latest conspiracy theory is about how President Obama wants the Supreme Court to strike down health care reform so that he can use it to win re-election.
  • Shocklingly, FRC is not happy that military chaplains can now conduct same-sex marriage.
  • On a related note, Elaine Donnelly says it is ridiculous for the military to recruit at gay venues.
  • Finally, Liberty University is taking more government money.

Fischer: Gays and Islamists Are Driven By The Same "Dark Energy," Anti-Christ Spirit

Allow us to present part one million in our never-ending series chronicling how the AFA's Bryan Fischer can say whatever he wants about gays or Muslims, or both, and will never have to worry that anything he says will in any way threaten to undermine his standing with Republican leaders or within the Religious Right movement.

The most recent installment comes from his radio program yesterday where he declared that gay activists and radical Islamic fundamentalists are driven by the same "dark energy" and anti-Christ spirit:

I will not disabuse you - if you think there is a parallel between Islamic fundamentalism and the homosexual agenda, if they have the same tyrannical impulse - the same impulse of hatred, the same impulse of vitriol, the same impulse of the spirit of anti-Christ, anti-Christian spirit, a vitriolic hatred of all things that are connection to the name of Christ, I'm not going to disabuse you of that notion. I think it's the same dark energy. Islam wants to completely silence and neutralize Christians everywhere in the world. That's exactly what the homosexual agenda wants to do.

Do not mishear me on this because I am being very intentional on this: the same spirit of intolerance that's at work in Islam is at work in the homosexual agenda. The same spirit of hatred, the same spirit of enmity toward anything connected with Christ, the same enmity, the same vitriol is at work in Islam and in the homosexual agenda.

Fischer: First Amendment Does Not Apply To Mormons

As mentioned in our earlier post, we are once again asking Republican leaders who will be attending the upcoming Values Voter Summit to denounce Bryan Fischer's long history of unmitigated bigotry. This time we are focusing on Mitt Romney because, according to the conference schedule, he will be speaking immediately before Fischer on Saturday morning.

Our efforts in the past to get anyone within the GOP or Religious Right to condemn Fischer's relentless bigotry have not amounted to much, mainly because nobody within the movement seems to be particularly bothered by it, which is why GOP leaders continue to appear on his radio program and on stage with him at Religious Right events. 

But we wonder if Mitt Romney might finally raise some objections to sharing the stage with someone who openly declared just earlier this week that the First Amendment does not apply to Mormons and asserts that the LDS church still supports polygamy:

My argument all along has been that the purpose of the First Amendment is to protect the free exercise of the Christian religion.

One evidence that [the Founding Fathers] were not dealing ... they weren't even intending to deal with non-Christian religions is what they did with Mormonism in the latter part of the nineteenth century. Mormonism - they call themselves by the name of Christ, but it is not an orthodox Christian network of churches, it just is not. Mormonism is not an orthodox Christian faith. It just is not. They have a different Gospel, they have a completely different definition of who Christ is and so forth, I mean, the list could be multiplied endlessly.

And it was very clear that the Founding Fathers did not intend to preserve automatically religious liberty for non-Christian faiths, so when Mormonism came along, they practiced polygamy, they believed in polygamy, just like Muslims do today. It was a part of their revealed religion. God had commanded Joseph Smith to have multiple wives and commanded Joseph Smith to go tell your wife Emma, look you gotta room, I want my son Joseph to be able to have as many wives as he wants so you're just going to have to accept it. So God is telling Emma through Joseph Smith, look you're just going to have to live with this deal. So multiple wives in the Mormon Church until 1890 when the Mormon Church told their folks to obey the law.

The Mormon Church, by the way, has never denounced the practice of polygamy. It has not. What it did in 1890, if you go back to the Doctrines and Covenants, what the Mormon Church did is they advised - it wasn't even an order - they advised the members of the LDS Church to obey the law which said one man, one woman, period. So my guess is that if those that are trying to legalize polygamy, and they are working on it right now ... [Fischer cites court case pushing for recognition of polygamy and says it the same as using courts to push for gay marriage] ... If there is some activist court that says you have to recognize polygamous marriages in your state, you're going to start seeing the LDS church, I believe go back to the exercise of polygamy. If it's legal, because all they told their folks is obey the law, if the law says you can have multiple wives, I believe the LDS Church will be out in the front of the pack.

I mean, not everybody in the LDS Church is going to do it any more than all the members of the LDS Church ever did it. It was a minority even in Joseph Smith's day - I mean, Brigham Young set some kind of world record for number of wives, I mean he was up there in Muhammad territory frankly. But most Mormons didn't do it, it was just a small percentage that had the resources to be able to do it. But I think it will come back, it will come back pretty vigorously in the Mormon Church, again, because all the church fathers said in 1890, just obey the law. Well, if the law says you can have multiple wives, they'll be back.

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Bryan Fischer Posts Archive

Brian Tashman, Monday 04/29/2013, 4:05pm
American Family Association spokesman Bryan Fischer is joining other anti-gay activists in attacking Jason Collins, the NBA player who today came out as gay. Fischer said that NBA players and their wives would loudly resist being on a team with Collins out of fear that he will be “eyeballing” them in the shower. Watch: MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Friday 04/26/2013, 5:26pm
On his radio show today, Glenn Beck basically begged Sen. Rand Paul to take his "2123B" conspiracy theory seriously and start investigating it. Matt Barber and Mat Staver say that all abortion providers are "quacks" and "serial murderers." It seems pretty clear that if you call someone an "arrogant ni**er," you are probably very close to being prejudiced. Bryan Fischer says he only blocks people on Twitter for using profanity, which is a total lie since we have never used profanity but he has blocked us. James Robison... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Friday 04/26/2013, 4:44pm
On his radio program today, Bryan Fischer dedicated a segment to reiterating, for what seems like the hundredth time, his call for bans on Muslim immigration, Muslims serving in the military, and the building of mosques in America. Following that segment, Fischer admitted that his proposals are considered radical but predicted that eventually "all of America is going to agree with me" and the only question is how many more people will have to die before they see the light. "It may take ten years," Fischer said, "It make take a lot more jihadist attacks, a lot more... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Friday 04/26/2013, 3:25pm
The Religious Right went into a frenzy this week over charges that the military was deliberately blocking access to SBC.net, the official website of the Southern Baptist Convention’s, as part of an anti-Christian ploy. “What we are seeing here, I want to be very clear here, we are seeing under the Obama administration a Christian cleansing underway in the United States military,” Fox News' Starnes maintained. David Limbaugh accused the military of acting like a “thought police” who “selectively suppress[es] First Amendment freedoms” that “... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Wednesday 04/24/2013, 4:10pm
As part of Bryan Fischer’s attempts to “reclaim the ‘D’ word” — discrimination — the American Family Association spokesman is praising a Catholic school in Ohio which fired a teacher after she named her partner in her mother’s obituary. “The school discriminated against this teacher, yes they absolutely did and they should have,” Fischer said, “they were absolutely right to do it…. It is right to discriminate against people who engage in aberrant sexual behavior, we should discriminate against people like that.”... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Wednesday 04/24/2013, 9:52am
On his radio program yesterday, Bryan Fischer declared that liberals and Muslims are allies because they are united by "their distaste for America as founded and they share a contempt and a hatred for Christianity and for Christians." "Secular fundamentalists hate this country as founded,"  Fischer said, "They hate it. They're trying to dismantle it.  President Obama hates this country as founded. That's why he's trying to transform it and make it into some kind of socialist, Marxist utopia. Because he doesn't like America, as it was founded... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Tuesday 04/23/2013, 5:31pm
Glenn Beck continues his efforts to expose the "disinformation campaign" surrounding the Boston Marathon bombing cover-up. Who is running Mark Sanford's campaign and thought that this was a good way of handling his trespassing story? CNN is bringing back "Crossfire" and is apparently considering Newt Gingrich for one of the slots. Sounds like a hit. Trinity Broadcasting Network claims that it is responsible for 36 million conversions to Christ in the past 40 years. Bryan Fischer seems to have caught the attention of the Anti-Defamation League but won... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Friday 04/19/2013, 5:03pm
On his radio broadcast today, Bryan Fischer renewed his call for a ban on immigration from majority Muslim nations, claiming that our immigration policy should simply consist of the question "do you believe that the Quran is the holy book of God"? Anyone who answers "yes" is banned from entering the country: MORE >