Bryan Fischer

Following Fischer's Views To Their Scriptural Conclusion

It is no secret that Bryan Fischer wants to see our nation governed by the Bible, going so far as to demand that whales, bears and other wild animals be put to death in accordance with scriptural mandates.  So it was no surprise to see that he has written a new post defending the use of the death penalty as entirely biblical

The King James version, “Thou shalt not kill,” has led some to erroneously believe that God was prohibiting killing of every kind, but he most certainly was not. The Sixth Commandment is specifically a command against cold-blooded murder. Killing in self-defense, war, and as punishment for murder are not only permitted but prescribed in the Scripture.

In fact, on the next page on the book of Exodus, in chapter 21, there are six specific crimes for which capital punishment is the prescribed penalty. As an aside, it’s worth noting that the death penalty was mandated for participation in the slave trade: “Whoever steals a man and sells him, and anyone found in possession of him, shall be put to death” (Exodus 21:16).

In other words, if the United States had simply followed the standards found in Scripture, slaves never would have appeared on our shores, slavery never would have been an issue, and the Civil War would never have been fought. Then, as always, the Scriptures show us the way forward not just personally but politically as well.

It is a little hard to understand how Fischer can claim that if the US had just followed Scripture, slavery would have been illegal since just a few passages later in Exodus 21: 20-21 it is made pretty clear that it was not slavery that warranted the death penalty, but theft:

When a man strikes his slave, male or female, with a rod and the slave dies under his hand, he shall be avenged. But if the slave survives a day or two, he is not to be avenged, for the slave is his money.

So if you beat a slave to death, you are to be punished but if the slave recovers, there will be no punishment ... yet somehow Fischer thinks that this should have been our guide to "show us the way forward not just personally but politically as well."

For what it is worth, the Exodus 21 passage Fischer cites also mandates death for anyone who strikes or curses his mother or father, so maybe he thinks we ought to enact that into law as well.

And we already know that Fischer wants to see homosexuality criminalized, so given that he wants Scripture to show us the way forward politically, one has to wonder whether he thinks Leviticus 20's "Punishments for Sexual Immorality" ought to be enacted into law as well:

10 If a man commits adultery with the wife of his neighbor, both the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.

...

13 If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall surely be put to death; their blood is upon them.

I'd encourage others to ask Fischer that question but we all know that trying to get Fischer to actually defend or explain his views is just an exercise in futility.

Fischer: "It's Not A Problem When A Christian Says That"

Yesterday, the Pew Research Center for People and the Press released a survey that found that "Muslims in the United States continue to reject extremism" and that there is "no indication of increased alienation or anger among Muslim Americans in response to concerns about home-grown Islamic terrorists, controversies about the building of mosques and other pressures that have been brought to bear on this high-profile minority group in recent years."

But Bryan Fischer, of course, wasn't buying it at all and dedicated a segment of his radio program yesterday to warning that the survey showed that nearly half of Muslims identify themselves as Muslims first and Americans second.  Of course, Christians do the same thing but, as Fischer explained, it is a good thing when Christians do it and a bad thing when Muslims do it:

Nearly half of Muslims in the US say that they think of themselves first as Muslims rather than Americans. Now that's a problem. It's not a problem when a Christian says that. For the Christian to say "I am a Christian first and an American second," that's what we all ought to say. Our ultimate allegiance is not to country, not to the Constitution, it's to God and the the Scripture. If you have to make a choice between the two, we must obey God rather than man.

But when a Christan says "I'm a Christian first and an American second," the fact that he is a Christian first, he's got devotion and allegiance to Jesus Christ means he's going to be a better American. He's going to be an asset to his country, he's going to love his country, he's going to become more fervent in his patriotism. His love for his country and for its traditions are going to deepen because those traditions are rooted in the soil of the Judeo-Christian tradition.

Now if you have a Muslim, on the other hand, that says that - "I am a Muslim first and an American second" - look out! Because that indicates his ultimate devotion is to the Quran, it's to Allah, it's to Muhammad. It's not to Jesus Christ, it's not to the Judeo-Christian tradition, it is not to American values and American tradition and American history and American heroes - it is to Allah and Allah tells him to slay the idolaters wherever you find them.

So the more devout a Muslim gets, the more of a threat he becomes to America's nation security.

So there you have it:  being a Christian makes you a better American while being a non-Christian makes you a threat to this nation.

Fischer: Make Homosexuality "A Criminal Offense"

On his radio show Focal Point yesterday, American Family Association spokesman Bryan Fischer called on all fifty states to criminalize homosexuality. In 2003, the Supreme Court’s decision in Lawrence v. Texas overturned anti-sodomy laws in the fourteen states that had them on the books and reversed the Supreme Court’s prior decision Bowers v. Hardwick. Fischer’s opinion should come as no surprise as the AFA filed an amicus brief in support of Texas’s anti-sodomy law and condemned the court’s decision, calling the decision tantamount to “tyranny.” Fischer said that since for most of American history “homosexual activity was a felony offense,” there is “no reason why it cannot be a criminal offense once again.”

Watch:

Fischer: Both of the cases that went to the United States Supreme Court that dealt with the issue of whether states should criminalize sodomy, and of course they still ought to be able to do it, every state in the union criminalized sodomy until 1962 and then forty nine states until 1972, then they began to fall like dominoes. But by the time of the founding until the late 20th Century, homosexual activity was a felony offense in the United States of America, there is no reason why it cannot be a criminal offense once again, absolutely none.

Fischer: Public Prayers Should "Be Reserved For Christians And Jews"

Unsurprisingly, Bryan Fischer is not happy that religious leaders won’t be addressing a ceremony marking the ten year anniversary of the September 11th attacks in New York. A spokesman for Mayor Michael Bloomberg said that they wanted to keep the focus “on the families of the thousands who died on Sept. 11,” and the Wall Street Journal noted that previous events marking the anniversary similarly did not include religious speakers and that there “will be an interfaith event recognizing first responders on Sept. 6.”

But Fischer believes that Bloomberg is up to something more sinister. By failing to include religious speakers, Fischer insists that Bloomberg is “playing favorites, and his favoritism is heavily stacked toward Muslims.”

According to Fischer, such public prayers should “be reserved for Christians and Jews,” (although he goes on to leave out the latter when he calls for prayer to be restricted to “the Father of the Lord Jesus Christ.”) Fischer explains that the Founding Fathers would have wanted it that way because Muslims “pray to a different god.” Of course, as we pointed out on Friday, the AFA made clear that Christians and Jews “do not worship the same God” and that Christians should build friendships with their Jewish neighbors to convert them.

No word if Fischer had fault with the Prayer for America service that shortly followed the September 11 attacks, which included Jewish, Protestant, Roman Catholic, Orthodox, Hindu, Muslim and Sikh prayers.

Multiculturalism has so infected Mayor Bloomberg’s view of America that if he allowed anybody to pray he would feel compelled to include a Muslim imam on the platform, praying a Muslim prayer and invoking the Muslim god at whose direction the 9/11 hijackers killed 3000 Americans in cold blood.

He knows the American people would never stand for that. But if he held the ceremony and allowed only Christian pastors and Jewish rabbis to pray, he’d get hammered by secular fundamentalists, muliticulturalists and Muslim advocates for playing favorites.



As an aside, the mayor’s bloviation about the government not playing favorites when it comes to religion is just bilge. He’s clearly playing favorites, and his favoritism is heavily stacked toward Muslims. He is vigorously defending the building of the offensive Ground Zero mosque while his administration at the same time is doing everything in its power to keep the Orthodox church that was destroyed on 9/11 from being rebuilt.

But there is no cultural, historical or constitutional reason why clergy participation on 9/11 should not be reserved for Christians and Jews. This is for one simple reason: this nation was founded on the Judeo-Christian tradition and on faith in the God revealed in the Old and New Testaments. It has always been this God to whom Americans have turned in times of danger, and there is no reason why this God should not be the God to whom prayers are offered on 9/11.

Muslims, meanwhile, pray to a different god. Their god, they insist, has no son. The God of Christians, of course, does have a Son. Paul frequently opens his epistles by making it clear that the God to whom he prays is the “God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Cor. 1:3), to distinguish the God of the Scriptures, the true and living God, from all the Roman gods.

This God, the Father of the Lord Jesus Christ, is the God to whom the Founders prayed. It is this God who is the source of “the Laws of Nature” and is in fact “Nature’s God.” This God is the “Creator” who is the source of our “unalienable rights.” They even dated the Declaration of Independence from the year of Christ’s birth, and referred to him in so doing as “our Lord.”

So can public officials restrict public prayers to prayers directed to the God of the Founders? Absolutely. In fact, you can’t get any more American than praying to the same God to which they appealed as the “Supreme Judge of the World.”

Turek: Homosexuality Is A "Road To Destruction," Like Getting Run Over By A Truck

Frank Turek has become a hero of sorts to the Religious Right after Cisco terminated his contract as a consultant when an employee complained about his work as an anti-gay activist. Turek, who was a motivational speaker for Cisco before he was canned, is a radio commentator on American Family Radio, the American Family Association’s far-right radio network, and is the author of Correct, Not Politically Correct: How Same-Sex Marriage Hurts Everyone. He also frequently appears on broadcasts from Rick Joyner’s the Oak Initiative and joined Joyner, Tony Perkins and Jerry Boykin to create the Religious Right’s own '300' Spartan army. While a guest on Bryan Fischer’s AFR radio show in May, Turek warned that gay rights advocates and Islamic extremists are “in concert together” because “they both hate Western Civilization” and “hate Judeo-Christian natural law values that our Constitution and particularly our Declaration of Independence.”

Turek now writes columns for the American Family Association. In his latest piece, he claims that the people who truly love gay people are the ones like him, who believe they should become ‘ex-gays,’ while the people who hate gay people are those who affirm their sexual orientation. “If I have good reason to think you are on the road to destruction—if a truck is about to run over you,” Turek writes, “the only way to love you is to urge you to get out of the street”:

Everyone puts limits on marriage—if marriage had no definition it wouldn’t be anything. Recognizing that marriage is between a man and a woman is not bigotry, but common sense rooted in the biological facts of nature. That’s why the state recognizes marriage to begin with—not because two people love one another but because only heterosexual unions can procreate and best nurture the next generation.

Everyone also puts limits on behaviors. But opposing behavior is not the same as opposing or “hating” people. In fact, to really love people, we often have to oppose what they do! Parents know this, and all former children know it as well.

Celebrating behavior that leads to disease and an early death is closer to hate than love. According to the latest data from the Center for Disease Control, homosexual men comprise more than 80 percent of sexually transmitted HIV cases despite comprising less than 2 percent of the population. The FDA says that men who have sex with men have an HIV infection rate 60 times higher than the general population. Why should we be encouraging behavior that results in such tragic outcomes? If I have good reason to think you are on the road to destruction—if a truck is about to run over you—the only way to love you is to urge you to get out of the street. If I tell you to keep walking down that road—that I celebrate the road you’re on—how could I hate you more?

But isn’t homosexuality like race? No. Race has nothing to do with behavior, but homosexuality is a behavior! Skin color affects no one, but destructive behavior affects many. Moreover, sexual behavior is always a choice, race never is. You’ll find many former homosexuals, but you’ll never find a former African-American.

So if you don’t approve of a man because of his race, you are a bigot. But if you don’t approve of a man’s destructive behavior, you are wise.



[B]eing born a certain way is irrelevant to what the law should be. Laws are concerned with behaviors not desires, and we all have desires we ought not act on. In fact, all of us were born with an “orientation” to bad behavior, but those desires don’t justify the behaviors. If you are born with a genetic predisposition to alcohol, does that mean you should be an alcoholic? If you have a genetic attraction to children does that mean you should be a pedophile? What homosexual activist would say that a genetic predisposition to anger justifies gay-bashing? (Don’t blame me—I was born with the anti-gay gene!) Certainly, those that oppose alcoholism, pedophilia and gay bashing are not “bigots”—they are wise.

Right Wing Leftovers

The AFA's Guide To Judaism

The American Family Association published a guide to Judaism by ‘Probe Ministries,’ which works “through balanced, biblically based scholarship, training people to love God by renewing their minds and equipping the Church to engage the world for Christ.” The post includes advice and encouragement for Christians looking to convert Jews to Christianity and claims that Jews and Christians “do not worship the same God.” While it comes as no surprise that the AFA would promote such a message, it might come as one to the "Judeo" part of the "Judeo-Christian" coalition the AFA is always talking about.

The fact that the AFA promotes such messages should come as no surprise, as the AFA’s The Response prayer rally, which they co-hosted with Texas Gov. Rick Perry, featured prayers for Jews to convert to Christianity. Moreover, the AFA’s chief spokesman Bryan Fischer contends that “non-Christian religions” do not have rights under the First Amendment, saying, “counterfeit religions, alternative religions to Christianity, have no First Amendment right to the free exercise of the religion.” But the post does make clear that despite “Israel’s failure and rejection of their Messiah,” eventually “there will be a time when Israel as a nation will turn to her Messiah”:

From our brief survey, then, it is clear that Judaism and Christianity differ significantly on major doctrines. The two do not worship the same God. They also differ in salvation theology. Judaism is works-oriented and rejects the atoning work of Christ and His divine nature. Christianity proclaims faith in the sacrificial work of Jesus on the cross. The New Testament teaches that without accepting Christ, even the sons and daughters of Abraham cannot inherit the hope of eternal life.



How do we share Christ with our Jewish neighbors? Before preaching the gospel, it would be wise to first build friendships with Jews and learn from them. Second, we should understand the Jewish perception of Christians and Christianity. For a Jewish person to become a Christian means to reject his or her heritage and distinctiveness; in other words, many equate it to becoming a gentile. This is difficult, for many harbor resentment for mistreatment by Christians and gentile nations.

After building trust, encourage them to read their own Scriptures. Many grow up reciting passages of the Old Testament but not studying the Old Testament or the messianic prophecies.



These passages and symbols reveal that Jesus is indeed the Messiah. Be sure to explain that not only must one acknowledge Jesus as the Messiah, but that one must put all one's faith in His atoning work of sacrifice to be brought into a right relationship with God.



Israel was unable to obey God's law because they depended on their strength to live the law. What was needed was a new heart and empowerment to live the law. This pledge provides this, and guarantees that there will be a time when Israel as a nation will turn to her Messiah.

Several aspects of these covenants have been fulfilled. Abraham's descendants have become a nation. Christ was a descendant of David and fulfilled the old law making it possible for all men to know God. However, other promises are yet to be fulfilled. Israel doesn't yet possess the promised land in peace, and a Davidic Kingdom hasn't been established in Jerusalem.

Despite Israel's failure and rejection of their Messiah, however, God is faithful, and He will fulfill His promises at the appointed time.

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Could we really be so lucky as to get Joe The Plumber to run for Congress?
  • Bryan Fischer continues his crusade against bears or, as he refers to them, "conscienceless marauders."
  • Naval chaplains are claiming they were discriminated against for promotions because of their evangelical beliefs.
  • I have no idea why Mat Staver was introducing honorees at Glenn beck's rally in Israel, but he was.
  • Finally, Ralph Reed dismisses dominionism as "a conspiracy theory largely confined to university faculty lounges and MSNBC studios."

Anti-Gay Groups Rally To Defend Anti-Gay 'Charity' Group

A campaign spearheaded by LGBT rights and women’s rights groups Change.org and AllOut.org, encouraging companies to drop their ties to the Charity Give Back Group (formerly the Christian Values Network), unsurprisingly has the Religious Right up in arms. The CGBG “operates a sort of online mall, donating a portion of each purchase to religious nonprofits,” Michelle Goldberg explains. “Among them are conservative organizations like Focus on the Family, The Family Research Council, Promise Keepers, and a number of anti-abortion crisis pregnancy centers.”

The campaign to get businesses to opt out of CGBG’s program has been very successful, with over 200 companies such as Delta, Apple and Macy’s dropping out of the program so far.

Focus on the Family is now encouraging its members to write to the companies that have ended their ties with CGBG. And today, the Family Research Council launched the “Resist Discrimination” campaign, demanding companies “resist pressure to discriminate against customers with a traditional, biblical view of marriage” with a warning that they “should beware of online activists who spread misinformation to pressure retailers to discriminate against customers and charities with Judeo-Christian moral views, including marriage as the union of a man and a woman.” Of course, Focus on the Family and the FRC would never support similar pressure campaigns…right?

As a matter of the fact, FRC was part of a campaign last year that threatened to boycott Comedy Central if the channel did not drop a planned comedy show about Jesus Christ, and in 2008 endorsed a five month boycott of McDonalds and Wal-Mart because of the companies’ ties to the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce. Focus on the Family also closed its Wells Fargo accounts in 2005 to protest the bank’s donation to the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation. In 2006, Focus on the Family founder and then-president James Dobson urged members to boycott Proctor & Gamble because of its support for a gay-rights initiative. “For Procter & Gamble to align itself with radical groups committed to redefining marriage in our country is an affront to its customers,” Dobson said.

The CGBG was founded by Stephen Baldwin (Alec Baldwin’s brother) and Michael Lohan (Lindsay Lohan’s father), with Mike Huckabee acting as its spokesman. Now, the CGBG is advised by Baldwin and Kevin McCullough, who run XtreMEDIA. McCullough recently acted as a spokesperson for CGBG’s response to the AllOut! and Change.org campaign, saying the groups were disseminating a “dishonest message.” While FRC and Focus’s active opposition to LGBT and women’s rights is well documented, McCullough is a lesser known activist. He has a radio show on the Christian channel Family NET and stands in for American Family Association spokesman Bryan Fischer when the latter is on vacation from his show on American Family Radio.

While McCullough claims that the CGBG shouldn’t be attacked over its ties to the FRC and Focus, McCullough’s own anti-gay activism speaks for itself.

Right Wing Leftovers

  • When something appears as a WorldNetDaily exclusive, you know that it is important and that you can trust the reporting.
  • Hey, remember when Scott Lively was going to give up his anti-gay activism? So much for that.
  • It turns out that the recent Traditional Values Coalition attacks on wasteful spending were totally misleading. Who would have guessed?
  • Looks like the next Awakening conference will be in Florida instead of at Liberty U.
  • Bryan Fischer defends Rick Perry.
  • Finally, quote of the day from Gary Bauer: "Men and women of faith cannot sit on the sidelines while the culture war rages on. Homosexuality is out of the closet and the tyrants of tolerance are trying to force anyone who believes in traditional values into the closet."

Fischer: Asking Me About My Bigotry Is "Gotcha Journalism"

Last week, we noted that Alan Colmes tried unsuccessfully to have a rational and reasonable discussion with Bryan Fischer about his publicly stated views that God only wants men to be president.

But the entire thing was an exercise in futility as Fischer literally refused to answer any of Colmes' questions, simply repeating his talking points over and over and over again to any question that Colmes asked.

Today, Fischer addressed the interview on his own radio program and asserted that he used this tactic because Colmes was engaging in "gotcha journalism":

Colmes invited Fischer on his radio program to have a discussion about Fischer's views that women should not be president and Fischer agreed to participate in such a discussion.  But when Colmes actually tried to ask Fischer about his stated views and explain what he meant, Fischer categorically refused to answer any of his questions ... all because, in Fischer's view, the idea that he might be asked to explain his bigoted views is nothing more than "gotcha journalism," just as watching his program is "cyberstalking" and exposing his bigotry is waging jihad and a "hate crime."

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Bill Keller is "calling for a boycott of Christian TV network TBN, along with Pastor John Hagee and David Barton, for supporting the efforts a Mormon cult member Glenn Beck in his latest SCAM on the Christian community."
  • Jennifer Roback Morse will not use the term “same sex marriage” any more than she will "use the term 'square circle' because such an entity is not possible."
  • Bryan Fischer is still on his "gays commit hate crimes" crusade.
  • Former Roy Moore aide Dean Young will seek the Republican nomination for Alabama's 1st Congressional District.
  • Finally, why does it seem that everyone except for Liberty Counsel is posting Matt Barber's pedophilia press release?

Did Alan Colmes Accidentally Interview Bryan Fischer's Parrot?

We have written before about the utter pointlessness of trying to have any sort of debate with Bryan Fischer because he categorically refuses to engage in any sort of rational discussion.

Fischer's standard practice is to develop one talking point and then - literally - refuse to deviate from that talking point, no matter what.

So you have to hand it to Alan Colmes, who keeps taking up the thankless task of trying to actually engage Fischer and get him to explain the outrageous things that he says, like that God wants men to be president.

Colmes had Fischer on his radio program last night, ostensibly to discuss this issue, but Fischer fundamentally refused to say anything beyond parroting talking points, repeatedly saying the same phrases over and over to every follow-up question Colmes asked.  Fischer kept defensively insisting that he was answering the questions being put to him and accusing Colmes of being "obnoxious and repetitive" for trying to get him to actually offer up a legitimate answer - it is truly unbelievable:

Does Bryan Fischer Think Only Men Should Be Involved In Politics?

Bryan Fischer offers up his thoughts on last night's Republican debate by commenting that the heated exchanges between Tim Pawlenty and Michele Bachmann were unfortunate because Pawlenty "took a swing at a girl" while Bachmann, if she chooses to fight back, only "hardens a little bit of her soul and sacrifices a little bit of her femininity." 

And that, says Fischer, is "one of the reasons to question whether it’s a good idea for women to get involved in the rough and tumble of politics":

Pawlenty was hurt by the exchange, because he took a swing at a girl. No matter how much progress we think we’ve made on gender equality, there is still something deep inside us that says men should use their strength to protect women, not attack them, and Pawlenty put on the full-court press last night.

But Ms. Bachmann chose to get into the ring, and can’t complain if punches are thrown, nor should anyone complain on her behalf. That’s one of the reasons to question whether it’s a good idea for women to get involved in the rough and tumble of politics. I hate to see a woman attacked like Bachmann was last night, but she made herself vulnerable to it by throwing her hat into the ring.

What has been done to Sarah Palin and what is being done to Michele Bachmann - the grotesque beating they have taken from the hostiles on the left (I’m not talking about Pawlenty here) - is a travesty and a shameful embarrassment to any culture which claims to have an enlightened view of the treatment of women.

But this is what conservative women who enter politics are choosing to accept. It is not right, but it is inevitable, since too many on the left are consumed with bitterness and hatred toward conservatives in general and conservative women in particular. They are enslaved to a driving, brooding passion to destroy, and the more attractive the conservative woman is, the more it feeds their blood lust. As captives to this dark, driving vitriol, they can’t help themselves. It will take the power of God to set them free from their own bondage to this mindless anger and rage. This means that a woman must count the cost, as Jesus taught, before jumping into the fray.

Part of the problem here is that when a women mixes it up in the political arena, and gets punched, she must punch back. The danger to the woman here is that every time she punches back, which she must do, she hardens a little bit of her soul and sacrifices a little bit of her femininity. I’m not sure that’s a good trade. But each woman needs to make that choice for herself. No one else can or should make that decision for her.

Fischer's New Definition of "States' Rights"

I always thought that when conservatives used the phrase "states' rights," it meant that the federal government was to have limited powers and the individual states were to have the right to decide how to legislate issues for themselves.

Once upon a time, Gov. Rick Perry was a supporter of that idea ... until he decided he wanted to run for president and realized that "states' rights" meant that states could recognize marriage equality and a woman's right to choose. 

Seeing as such things are diametrically opposed to the agenda of the Religious Right base he needs to court to win the GOP nomination, Perry quickly flip-flopped on that position, announcing his support for constitutional amendments to outlaw both abortion and gay marriage.

But make no mistake, Perry's cowardly pandering has not gone unnoticed by those he seeks to court ... but don't imagine that they are holding it against him becuse they are not.  In fact, Bryan Fischer is praising and defending Perry for taking this stand by unveiling a rather novel new definition of what the term "states' rights" really means:

Gov. Rick Perry has been castigated by some conservatives and 10th Amendment aficionados for his public support of federal amendments to protect the sanctity of life and the sanctity of marriage.

They accuse him of abandoning his commitment to federalism, states’ rights, and the 10th Amendment and committing unpardonable Tea Party heresy in the process

But to consider amending the federal Constitution as an abandonment of the 10th Amendment and states’ rights absurd.

You can’t get any more “states’ rights” than amending the Constitution, for one simple reason: only the states can amend the Constitution in the first place.

Unless proponents can get voters in 38 states to agree with them, our supreme legal document remains unchanged.

When the Constitution is amended, this is the exact opposite of the federal government imposing something on the states, but is rather a manifestation of the states expressing their political will. If anything, it’s the states imposing something on the federal government. Everybody ought to get pumped up about doing something like that.

So it turns out that "states' rights" doesn't mean that the states have the right to decide the issues as they see fit, but rather that the majority of the states have the right to decide what the minority must do.

Is this any surprise, coming from a man who doesn't believe the First Amendment covers non-Christians?

Perry, Prayer, Politics and the Presidency

Casual viewers of “The Response,” including some political reporters who don’t pay a lot of attention to the Religious Right, may have watched Texas Governor Rick Perry’s prayer rally on Saturday and wondered what all the fuss was about.  Most of the time was taken up with prayer and praise music.  Few of the speakers seemed overtly political.  Nobody used the occasion to endorse Perry’s pending presidential bid.

But context is everything, and the context for this event was remarkable: a governor launching a presidential bid by teaming up with some of the nation’s most divisive extremists to hold a Christians-only prayer rally that suggested Americans are helpless to solve the country’s problems without divine intervention. Some media coverage is missing the boat: the issue wasn’t whether it was ok for a politician to pray, or the size of the audience, but the purposes of the event’s planners and their disturbing vision for America.

Organizers argued (unconvincingly) that “The Response” was about prayer, not politics. But groups like the American Family Association (AFA), which paid for the rally and its webcast, and organizations like the Family Research Council, whose president was among the speakers, are not designed to win souls but to change American law and culture through grassroots organizing and political power-building.  They have a corrosive effect on our political culture by promoting religious bigotry and anti-gay extremism, by claiming that the United States was meant to be a Christian nation, and by fostering resentment among conservative evangelicals with repeated false assertions that liberal elites are out to destroy religious liberty and silence conservative religious voices.

By calling for this rally, and partnering with the far right of the evangelical world, Perry aligned himself with all these troubling strategies.  When he drew criticism for the event and the extremism of its sponsors, Perry suggested his critics were intolerant of Christians.  Speakers returned to the theme, with one of them declaring that “there is an attack on the name of Jesus.” Such claims of anti-Christian persecution are a tried-and-true strategy of the Religious Right for rousing conservative Christians to political activism.  And for those who actually believe that Christianity is on the verge of being criminalized in America, Perry’s event defined him as a defiant and courageous defender of the faith. 

As journalist Dave Weigel writes, “That's the brilliance of what Perry has done here…He doesn't need to talk about politics, or do anything besides be here and understand this event. The religion is the politics. These worshippers understand that if they can bring ‘the kingdom of God’ to Earth, economic problems, even macroeconomic problems, will sort themselves out.”

A major chunk of the day was given over to Mike Bickle, who runs the International House of Prayer (IHOP) movement, which recruits young people into “radical” devotion to prayer and fasting. Yes, he’s the guy who said that Oprah is paving the way for the Antichrist. Bickle’s associate Lou Engle has organized a series of stadium events pushing prayer, fasting, and politics under the banner of “The Call,” which provided the model for “The Response.”  Bickle and Engle are hard-core dominionists who believe they are ushering in a new Christian church which will take its rightful place of dominion over every aspect of government and society.  But in spite of their well-documented extremism, they are embraced by Republican leaders.  Engle, for example, took part in a Family Research Council prayer-a-thon against health care reform, at which he introduced Rep. Michele Bachmann.

The Christian-nation crowd, like Response speaker David Barton and AFA spokesman Bryan Fischer, who says the First Amendment protects only Christians’ religious liberty, shares a certain vision for America’s future.  Some of the political goals of “The Response” sponsors were brutally clear at the rally; a series of speakers prayed for an end to legal abortion.  While rhetorical gay-bashing was surprisingly absent at an event whose sponsors include the most vehemently anti-gay groups in America (including the AFA, which has been designated a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center), it is clear that in the America envisioned by “The Response” planners, same-sex couples would have no chance at legal recognition or protection for their families.  Shortly before the event, Perry himself was forced to walk back from his very brief flirtation with a states’ rights defense of New Yorkers’ decision to extend marriage equality to same-sex couples -- and to vow his support for a federal constitutional amendment that would strip married same-sex couples of their rights and make sure that in the future gay couples could not get married anywhere in the U.S.
And lest anyone think that Perry’s religious agenda is limited to social issues, he made clear that a rigid conservative economic agenda was central to his spiritual mission. Just days before the rally, on “The 700 Club,” Perry said he’d be praying for “our country’s economic prosperity. There just so many people that can’t take care of their family because government’s over-taxed, over-regulated, over-litigated, it caused roadblocks to economic prosperity.” Those words echo the theology of activists like Barton, who have preached that the Bible condemns progressive taxation, the minimum wage and collective bargaining.
 
Perry is clearly positioning himself to enter the Republican presidential primary as a political savior to right-wing activists who are underwhelmed with their choices so far.  Yet, oddly for someone who wants to be president, he insists that America’s problems are beyond human ability to fix. (Sadly, that may only be true to the extent that enough legislators believe that God, like Grover Norquist, is opposed to any tax increases.)

Perry’s worldview and that of “The Response” organizers seems to see no useful role for non-Christian Americans, whose religious beliefs were denigrated at “The Response.”  When Perry told Americans on Saturday that we, “as a nation,” must return to God, it’s clear he meant God as understood by the event’s organizers.  Jim Garlow, who organized anti-marriage equality pastors in California before being hired by Newt Gingrich to run one of his political groups, told journalist Sarah Posner on Saturday that “The Response” was “not about whether Perry becomes president, it’s about making Jesus king.” Perry used the event to let right-wing religious voters and churches nationwide know that for those who see politics as spiritual warfare, he is the warrior they have been waiting for.

Right Wing Leftovers

  • In a shocking move, Rick Perry is going to announce that he is running for president a week after holding his massive "nonpolitical" prayer rally.
  • And Bryan Fischer thinks that, thanks to said prayer rally, the GOP nomination will be Perry's to lose.
  • Fox News viewers don't seem very fond of atheists.
  • Neither is Gary Bauer, for that matter.
  • James Robison complains that America has become a "secular theocracy."
  • Finally, Michele Bachmann says she is "not a talker; I'm a doer."  Which is interesting considering that she hasn't actually done anything.
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Bryan Fischer Posts Archive

Kyle Mantyla, Monday 04/01/2013, 3:48pm
On his radio program today, Bryan Fischer weighed in on the controversy over recent remarks made by Ben Carson to predict that Carson would never run for public office because he has realized that he cannot survive against "the hatred that exists in the homosexual activist community." "The raw, unvarnished, vitriolic hatred and animus and hostility" has "completely blown [Carson] away," Fischer speculated, because "he had no idea of the demonic hatred that exists on the part of the media and secular fundamentalists against people who support the idea, defend... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Thursday 03/28/2013, 2:10pm
On yesterday's program, Bryan Fischer spent a good deal of time ripping Bill O'Reilly for saying that the supporters of marriage equality have the more compelling argument while opponents haven't been able to do anything but "thump the Bible." Needless to say, Fischer took exception to that statement on the grounds that the only thing gay marriage opponents need to do is thump the Bible because it is the Word of God and contains God's eternal truth.  That prompted a caller named David to tell Fischer that just because the Bible might disapprove of things like... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Monday 03/25/2013, 10:38am
On Friday's radio broadcast, Bryan Fischer asserted that the success of gay rights movement is dependent upon a deliberate effort to "keep the eyes of Americans off what it is that homosexuals do when they come together" because if people actually think about it, "it's going to gross them right out" since people have a "visceral moral reaction" to that kind of "deviant behavior": MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Wednesday 03/20/2013, 5:30pm
LiveAction bizarrely claims that Steven Crowder's Ashley Judd rape joke at CPAC "never happened."  Matt Barber blasts Pastor Rob Bell's "apostasy" for supporting marriage equality. Bryan Fischer says "same-sex 'marriage' fails to satisfy even the companionship purpose for this most sacred of relationships." Keep in mind that no matter how crazy Glenn Beck gets, Sen. Rand Paul will continue to regularly appear on his program. And so will Gov. Rick Perry. MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Tuesday 03/19/2013, 4:16pm
Yesterday, Bryan Fischer blasted those in the Republican Party who think that the party's hostility to gay rights is turning off young voters, saying it was "idiotic" for the GOP to "pander" to the "least mature, least intelligent, least informed, least experienced, least educated members of our movement." He returned to the topic today, reiterating his view that it makes no sense to moderate the GOP's message in order to appeal to young people because young voters eventually become more conservative as they get older. "When they mature, when they... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Monday 03/18/2013, 4:58pm
Bryan Fischer is not at all impressed by the Republican National Committee's "autopsy" of what has gone wrong with the GOP leading to back-to-back election losses, and is especially miffed about findings that the party's hostility to gay rights is turning off younger voters. As Fischer sees it, it is "idiotic" for the GOP to consider changing its message in an effort to win over ignorant and naive young people who don't understand the dangers posed by homosexuality.  "They don't need to be pandered to," Fischer proclaimed, "they need to... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Monday 03/18/2013, 11:24am
On Friday's broadcast, Bryan Fischer took issue with Sen. Rand Paul's "libertarian approach to marriage [because it] would be a disaster for America." As Fischer sees it, libertarianism appeals to young people because they don't like to be told what to do and libertarianism gives them a license to sin.  And since everyone knows that sin is a form of bondage, "this libertarian drift in the Republican Party is going to lead people right into bondage": MORE >
Brian Tashman, Friday 03/15/2013, 5:45pm
The American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer responds to Rob Portman’s announcement by likening gay people to bank robbers.  CBN correspondent David Brody warns “evangelicals all across the country may start walking away from the GOP” if Republicans aren’t “willing to take a stand for traditional marriage.”  Liberty Counsel’s Steve Crampton claims that gay marriage will “lead to the disintegration of the family” and that “when the history of this administration is written, it will be recorded that... MORE >