Responsible politicians wouldn’t fawn over an unhinged activist who opposes civil rights and religious freedom for minorities, wants to make being gay a crime and decries his personal rivals as enemies of God, right? But that is exactly what is taking place today in the Republican Party, as likely and declared GOP presidential candidates line up to win the approval of Bryan Fischer, a radio talk show host and spokesman for the American Family Association.
Fischer’s unabashed bigotry is on full display throughout his writings and on-air rants. His entire career is based on leveling venomous attacks against gays and lesbians, American Muslims, Native Americans, progressives and other individuals and groups he detests. He wants to redefine the Constitution to protect only Christians, persecute and deport all American Muslims, prohibit gays and non-Christians from holding public office and impose a system of biblical law.
While Fischer’s views are undeniably shocking, what is most disturbing is his growing influence within not only the Religious Right but also the Republican Party.
From Idaho to Tupelo
Fischer began working with the American Family Association (AFA) as the head of its Idaho affiliate, the Idaho Values Alliance (IVA). Sarah Posner of Religion Dispatches reports that while leading the IVA, Fischer hosted radical anti-gay activist Scott Lively, who has been tied to a Uganda bill that would make homosexuality a crime punishable by death, and extremist Rusty Thomas, who blamed the Sept. 11 attacks on legal abortion and homosexuality and seemingly condoned the murder of abortion doctors.
Fischer made his mark when he successfully pressured Hallmark stores in Idaho to refuse to carry greeting cards for same-sex weddings, campaigned against allowing undocumented students to receive in-state college tuition and fought legislation that would provide workplace protections for gays and lesbians. Following a plane crash that killed an abortion doctor and his family, Fischer gained notoriety by suggesting that the prayers of anti-choice activists had helped to bring about the deaths.
In 2009, Fischer joined the AFA in its national headquarters and was named Director of Issue Analysis for Government and Public Policy. Founded in 1977 by Rev. Donald E. Wildmon, the AFA remains one of the most influential organizations in the conservative movement. Originally named the National Federation for Decency, the AFA has built a substantial political, fundraising and media apparatus for its boycott drives, electoral campaigns and news commentary.
The Tupelo, Mississippi-based group has used its significant financial resources to fund anti-gay campaigns across the country. Most recently, the AFA donated $500,000 to the campaign to pass Proposition 8, the California referendum that overturned marriage equality in the state, and spent $140,000 on the successful 2010 campaign to defeat three Iowa Supreme Court justices who had ruled in favor of marriage equality. Newly-announced Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich bolstered the AFA’s finances by funneling $125,000 to the group to assist their Iowa efforts. The AFA is also hosting The Response with Texas Governor Rick Perry, a prayer rally with the goal of bringing people to Christianity and the support of anti-gay leaders like Jim Garlow, John Hagee, David Barton, Cindy Jacobs, David Welch, and members of the International House of Prayer.
Fischer is the host of Focal Point, the principle talk show on AFA’s American Family Radio, which consists of nearly 200 stations and affiliates in 37 states and reaches about two million listeners. Posnerwrites that Fischer’s clout has increased since Wildmon ended his day-to-day responsibilities at the AFA: “Since the elder Wildmon passed the presidency on to his son Tim last year, Fischer has increasingly grabbed the spotlight.”
Within the AFA, criticism of Fischer or the Wildmons is strictly prohibited – Posner has documented the organization’s autocratic work environment of bullying, fear and intimidation. Most recently, when 17-year-old Elijah Friedeman of the AFA’s The Millennial Perspective wrote a blog post criticizing Fischer’s assertion that Native Americans are being punished by God for not converting en masse to Christianity, calling his remarks “repulsive,” Friedeman’s blog post was promptly removed from the organization’s website (along with Fischer’s).
Fischer’s career at the AFA has been marked by unremitting bigotry directed at many of the most marginalized American communities: gays and lesbians, immigrants, African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans and American Muslims.
In addition, Fischer spews constant vitriol against President Obama, denigrates members of the military who don’t agree with his every position and promotes his own radical interpretation of the Constitution, one in which only Christians have rights, public officials face religious tests for office and homosexuality is criminalized. These radical views, like Fischer himself, have increasingly found a welcoming home in the Republican Party.
The Shame of the GOP
Fischer’s radio show has become an obligatory stop for Republican presidential candidates, prominent Republican politicians and top social conservative activists.
As the AFA’s leading talk show host, whose voice is heard on affiliates in the early primary states of Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, Fischer frequently hosts likely presidential candidates who are looking to make inroads among Religious Right voters. Former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty, former House speaker Newt Gingrich, Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann and businessman Herman Cain have all appeared on Fischer’s radio show. In addition, former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee and Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour were both guests on Fischer’s show while they were weighing runs for the presidency.
Many of these leading GOP figures have voiced support for Fischer’s bigotry, conspiracy theories and extreme views. Huckabee agreed with Fischer’s claim that President Obama “has some fundamentally anti-American ideas,” and explained to Fischer that he believes the Mau Mau Revolution, the Kenyan uprising against British colonialism in the 1950s, had detrimentally “molded” Obama’s “worldview.” Huckabee added, “Most of us grew up going to Boy Scout meetings and our communities were filled with Rotary Clubs, not madrassas.”
Pawlenty and Barbour both promised Fischer that if elected they would reinstate the military’s discriminatory Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy, with Barbour warning that openly gay troops could bring an “amorous mindset” to the battlefield. When Fischer asked Gingrich how he would “slow down the homosexual agenda” as president, Gingrich pledged to work against gay rights. “I think my emphasis would be pro-classical Christianity,” Gingrich said, “and pro-the values that you and I have.” When asked a similar question, Cain told Fischer that Obama’s decision not to defend the Defense of Marriage Act was “bordering on treason.” Cain later won plaudits from Fischer when he said that he would refuse to nominate any Muslims to serve in his Cabinet because he assumes all Muslims want to impose Sharia law. Bachmann has also joined Fischer to discuss her plans to run for president.
Last year at the Values Voter Summit, which was co-sponsored by AFA Action, Fischer shared a stage with Huckabee, Bachmann, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell and Indiana Rep. Mike Pence.
Many GOP members of Congress have also been guests on Fischer’s radio show, including: Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina, Sen. Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma, Sen. Roger Wicker of Mississippi, Rep. Lamar Smith of Texas, Rep. Chris Smith of New Jersey, Rep. Steve King of Iowa, Rep. Jack Kingston of Georgia, Rep. Raul Labrador of Idaho, of Mississippi and Rep. Tim Huelskamp of Kansas. Among the major conservative activists who have appeared on Focal Point are Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, David Barton of WallBuilders, Phyllis Schlafly of Eagle Forum and Amy Kremer of the Tea Party Express.
Journalist and commentator Andrew Sullivan aptly asks, “Is embracing a man who believes this kind of bile now essential to being viable as a primary candidate for president in the current GOP?”
The answer appears to be yes. Fischer’s extreme views are become mainstream in today’s Republican Party, and presidential candidates are taking notice.
Tying Gays to Hitler, Advocating Criminalization
While anti-gay rhetoric is commonplace among Religious Right activists, Fischer has consistently propagated the most degrading and malicious attacks against gays and lesbians. Fischer has likened gays to domestic terrorists, pedophiles, slave traders and murderers, and decried the adoption of children by gay parents as a “terrible, inexcusable, inhumane thing to do to children.”
Fischer’s roots in anti-gay bigotry go back to his days as head of the Idaho Values Alliance, when he promoted Scott Lively, the former head of AFA’s California chapter. Lively’s book, The Pink Swastika, blames gays for the rise of fascism and the Holocaust.
Hitler recruited around him homosexuals to make up his stormtroopers, they were his enforces, they were his thugs, and Hitler discovered that he could not get straight soldiers to be savage, and brutal, and vicious enough to carryout his orders, but that homosexual soldiers basically had no limits in the savagery and brutality they were willing to inflict on whoever Hitler sent them after. So he surrounded himself, virtually all of the stormtroopers, the brownshirts, were male homosexuals.
Fischer is one of the most outspoken advocates in the Religious Right’s campaign to stop anti-bullying policies in schools. Religious Right leaders oppose these policies because they protect gay and gay-perceived students from bullying. Fischer claims that bullying-prevention programs will be used for the “brainwashing” of children to make them gay, arguing that “homosexuals cannot reproduce, so they have to recruit; it’s the only way to swell their numbers.” For example, Fischer believes that the television show Glee is “glamorizing homosexual behavior” and “promoting deviant sexuality,” as well as idolatry.
Fischer’s solution to anti-gay bullying is to make gay and lesbian youth become straight so they will no longer be “tormented by same-sex attraction.” “If we want to see fewer students commit suicide, we want fewer homosexual students,” Fischer said. “It is a cruel thing to help a sexually confused student walk down a path that leads to darkness rather than urge him to choose a path that leads to light.”
Responding to the suicide of gay Rutgers student Tyler Clementi, Fischer claimed that Clementi committed suicide because he knew intuitively that homosexuality “was contrary to his own deep sense of what is right and what is wrong” and “likely died full of guilt and shame.” Fischer, who has said that gays should be “ashamed” and “embarrassed,” contends that the “deviancy cabal” is responsible for suicide among gay youth and that “homosexual activists are not wholly innocent in these tragedies.” He elaborates:
I’m suggesting that adults that pressure these students to declare a disordered sexual preference when they’re too young to know better, that they share some culpability for those that take their life, just like an adult encouraging a young student to experiment with injection drug abuse — we would say to that adult, you share some culpability for what happens in the life of that student.
Such callous and astounding views are classic Fischer, using the cover of morality and concern to promote unbridled hatred and vitriol.
Gay Soldiers and an Effeminized Culture Ruined the Military
Fischer’s contempt for gays and lesbians even affects his outlook on members of the military. Social conservatives reacted furiously to the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, and many activists were enraged that even a handful of Republicans voted to overturn the discriminatory policy. Fischer was one of the loudest opponents of the repeal effort, and has made the commitment to reinstating Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell a litmus test for any Republican presidential candidate seeking his approval. Prior to the repeal vote, Fischer insisted that it would be one of the most important votes “in the history of our country” because repeal would be “utterly catastrophic” to the military.
Fischer warned that if the policy was repealed,
We would be left with a military comprised of nothing but sexual deviants and those who celebrate sexual deviancy. That is a guaranteed path to a permanently and irreversibly emasculated military that could not defend us if their lives — let alone ours — depended on it … Every advance of the homosexual agenda comes at the expense of religious freedom. We as a nation must choose between the homosexual agenda and liberty, because we can’t have both.
After the Senate voted to repeal the policy, Fischer warned that the military would “now be feminized and neutered beyond repair” and insisted that “the world is now a more dangerous place for us all.” Fischer called repeal supporters “treasonous” and said the new Marine motto should be “The Few, the Proud, the Sexually Twisted.”
Fischer’s harsh words for service members aren’t only reserved for those who are gay or who don’t share his hardened anti-gay attitudes. When Army Sgt. Salvatore Giunta received the Medal of Honor for saving fellow soldiers who were under heavy fire, Fischer infamously criticized it as part of a “disturbing trend” that shows that “we have feminized the Medal of Honor.” Fischer lamented that the Medal of Honor no longer went to service members who killed enemies, but only those who saved fellow soldiers, and was thus a sign that American “culture has become so feminized.”
After the military rescinded a speaking invitation to Rev. Franklin Graham because of his harsh anti-Muslim statements, Fischer posited: “You want to know who’s now running the U.S. Army, the U.S. Navy and the Marines and calling the shots where it counts? Fundamentalist Muslims and homosexual activists.”
Dehumanizing African Americans and Native Americans
Fischer’s animosity extends to people of color. In an article accusing government social services of destroying the African American community, Fischer likened African Americans to rabbits: “Welfare has subsidized illegitimacy by offering financial rewards to women who have more children out of wedlock,” Fischer wrote. “We have incentivized fornication rather than marriage, and it’s no wonder we are now awash in the disastrous social consequences of people who rut like rabbits.” Fischer, who has also defended the Constitution’s 3/5 compromise as an “anti-slavery clause,” ultimately removed his post and then altered it by taking out its most degrading comments.
Fischer insists that Native Americans deserved to be killed and forced out of their lands during American expansion because they didn’t all convert to Christianity. Angered that the memorial service for those killed in the mass shooting in Tucson included a Native American prayer, Fischer charged that since Native Americans were “steeped in the basest forms of superstition, had been guilty of savagery in warfare for hundreds of years, and practiced the most debased forms of sexuality,” they were punished by God. Until Native Americans convert to Christianity, Fischer said, they cannot be considered full-fledged American citizens.
He went on to say that the divine punishment lasts to this day, as Native Americans “remain mired in poverty and alcoholism because many native Americans continue to cling to the darkness of indigenous superstition instead of coming into the light of Christianity and assimilating into Christian culture.” Fischer said that America itself may soon receive the same punishment from God:
Even worse, the reaction will likely obscure the sobering lesson for today. America in 2011 is as guilty of “abominations” as the native American tribes we replaced. We have the blood of 53 million babies on our hands through abortion. We have normalized sexual immorality, adultery, and homosexuality, all horrors in the eyes of God, and are witnessing a surge in incest, pedophilia and even bestiality in our midst.
The only question that matters today is this one: how much time does America have left to repent of its superstition, its savagery and its sexual immorality before it is too late, before we will have filled up our own slop bucket and will have morally disqualified ourselves from sovereign control of our own land?
Muslims Must Convert…Or Die
Along with his ignominious attacks on people of color and borderline violent language towards gays and lesbians, Fischer reserves a special place in his vicious rhetoric for the American Muslim community.
Using eliminationist language, Fischer claims that American Muslims are a “toxic cancer” to American society and that Muslim Student Associations are “parasites.” Fischer, who has said that Muslims worship a “demon God” and that Islam is based on “the spirit of Satan,” has urged the U.S. to ban the construction of mosques, likened mosques to IEDs, and prayed for the destruction of the Dome of the Rock. He has repeatedly claimed that Muslims are inherently dangerous, unintelligent and mentally ill due to inbreeding.
Fischer believes that Muslims must be purged from the military and prohibited from enlisting. Moreover, he has continually demanded that the U.S. not only ban Muslim immigration but also deport and expel all American Muslims, asserting that “treasonous acts are likely committed on virtually a weekly basis here in the U.S. in many mosques and Islamic organizations.” Since Fischer believes that Islam is “treasonous at its core,” he maintains that only Muslims who renounce their religion and convert to Christianity should be allowed to come into and live in the U.S.
“Islam is an evil and wicked religion, and unworthy of a Christian nation,” Fischer writes, “…the less Islam there is in the United States, the better.”
Because he believes “tyranny is in the DNA of Islam,” Fischer says that the only way for democracy to emerge in a Muslim country is for the U.S. to bring about “a mass conversion of its people to biblical Christianity.” He has even insisted that soldiers who lost their lives in the Iraq War died in vain because the invasion didn’t lead to the conversion of Iraq’s people to Christianity.
For Fischer, Muslims only have one choice: convert to Christianity or die. He warned Muslims that if they reject Christianity, the consequences will be fatal:
So we say to them, look, if you don’t want our missionaries, fine, that’s your choice, we’ll take our missionaries and our Marines, we’ll take them home, but we’re going to let you know we have no hesitation about returning with lethal force if the forces in your country threaten us again. This time it’s Marines and missionaries, next time it’ll be Marines and missiles.
The Christians-Only Constitution
Despite the American Family Association’s claim that it “defends the rights of conscience and religious liberty,” Fischer claims that the Constitution is only meant to protect the rights of Christians.
According to Fischer, Muslims deserve no First Amendment rights: “Islam has no fundamental First Amendment claims, for the simple reason that it was not written to protect the religion of Islam. Islam is entitled only to the religious liberty we extend to it out of courtesy.” Since the religious rights of Muslims are only temporary and can be rescinded, he contends, “Muslims have no First Amendment right to build mosques in America. They have that privilege at the moment, but it is a privilege that can be revoked.”
He instead believes that the Founding Fathers only wanted to extend rights to different Protestant denominations, and bizarrely justifies his argument by citing proposed amendments that were rejected by the drafters of the Constitution.
George Washington directly contradicted the majoritarian-favoritism now propagated by Fischer, writing in a letter to the Jewish community of Newport, Rhode Island that the U.S. “gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance.” “All possess alike liberty of conscience and immunities of citizenship,” Washington wrote. “It is now no more that toleration is spoken of, as if it was by the indulgence of one class of people that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent natural rights.”
Eugene Volokh of UCLA Law School writes, “Both the First Amendment and the No Religious Test Clause of the original Constitution were quite deliberately written to cover all religions…I know of no sources that suggested that anyone during the Framing era understood the Constitution as excluding ‘Mahometans,’ or non-Christians more generally, from either the Free Exercise Clause or the No Religious Test Clause.”
Fischer also denies the existence of the separation of church and state, which was established in the First Amendment and incorporated as applicable to the states through the Fourteenth Amendment, and believes that states and localities should be allowed to establish official religions. Fischer also wants to model the U.S. justice system on the biblical law of ancient Israel (Fischer himself cites Genesis to attack Muslims and uses Leviticus to demonize gays and lesbians).
For Fischer, the separation of church and state is an idea straight out of Nazi Germany:
Secular fundamentalists in the United States know the same thing that Hitler knew. The only thing that stands in their way of the total takeover of our culture, the final removal of any mention of God from the public arena, and the shredding of the last remains of our Judeo-Christian value system, is the church of Jesus Christ.
Despite the Constitution’s clear pronouncement against religious tests for public office, Fischer questions whether a Mormon candidate like Mitt Romney should be allowed to serve as president. He urges people to ask Romney if “he embrace[s] the fundamentals of LDS theology” in order to “let the American people decide whether they want somebody with those convictions sitting in the Oval Office.”
Railing Against Obama, the Racist Communist Fascist Dictator
In Fischer’s view, President Obama is creating a dictatorial government not unlike the Soviet Union. He suggests that President Obama is tyrannical, anti-Christian and intentionally weakening the country so the U.S. can join “every other nation which has ignored God or kicked him to the curb.”
“President Obama has taken a long stride on the path that leads to tyranny and ruin,” Fischer writes, “…if we don’t want to experience the fate of communist Russia, its poverty, repression, and utter grayness, we need to make some serious changes in the political leadership of our land.”
He contends that Obama is turning the U.S. into a dictatorship and is already “acting as a fascist.” When Obama convinced BP to establish a fund to cover costs of the damage from the Gulf oil spill, Fischer accused Obama of using the “words of a fascist dictator” and called the move “the definition of fascism,” adding, “this is fascism, this is a dictator in action.”
Embracing the right-wing conspiracy theory that Obama “flipped off” his rivals when he touched his face during a television interview, Fischer suggested that the (non)event reflected Obama’s “dark and thuggish” nature:
If this indeed is what is happening, it reveals something dark and thuggish about the president’s character, something far beneath the dignity of the office. The president is beginning to remind me of a juvenile delinquent as much as anything else: immaturity, an absence of moral values, and a perverse delight in destroying things (like the American economy) just for the pleasure of it.
To fight back against the purportedly emerging “tyranny of a repressive central government,” Fischer believes that people should be able to “use all the morally and constitutionally justified means at their disposal.” In order to resist the health care reform law, or what he calls “MussoliniCare,” Fischer predicted that “people, whether rightly or wrongly, will begin taking the law into their own hands if their own government will not protect them from the bad guys.”
He stated that the country is on “the verge of collapsing into violence and vigilante justice” because “government in many ways is now a terror to those who do good and a protector of those who do evil.” Fischer, angered by President Obama’s refusal to agree to GOP budget-deal demands that Planned Parenthood be defunded, denounced the President for embracing a “pro-death platform” and being “committed to destroying babies,” saying that “paying abortionists was more important to the president than paying soldiers.”
Not only does Fischer believe that President Obama is a fascist dictator, he maintains that Obama “nurtures this hatred for the United States of America” and “nurtures a hatred for the white man.”
In Fischer’s eyes, President Obama can do nothing right. Even the successful mission to locate and kill Osama bin Laden didn’t escape Fischer’s scorn – he called it a “major PR problem for President Obama” because as a consequence of the mission, “You have just invited the entire Islamic world to focus all of their vitriol, all of their hatred, all of their animosity, directly on you.”
Progressives: God’s Adversaries
Using stark, polarizing rhetoric, Fischer describes his political battles as a no-quarter fight against enemies of America and enemies of God. Fischer believes that progressives are “unpatriotic” and “un-American,” arguing that they want to muzzle Christians and overthrow the Constitution in order to advance their social and political agenda. “I’ve often maintained that liberals, progressives, Democrats, socialists, Marxists, etc. — they’re all the same under the covers — hate free speech,” Fischer writes. “They hate freedom of religion, and they hate freedom of the press, because such freedoms threaten their stranglehold on public discourse and their goal of indoctrinating the American people with their non-traditional moral values.”
He believes that the root of progressives’ purported anti-Christian and anti-American beliefs is that they hate God: “Liberals, and statists, and socialists, and Marxists, and communists, and the political class by and large, hates the Declaration of Independence,” Fischer explains. “They hate the Declaration of Independence because it unapologetically affirms the existence of a Creator.”
Since Fischer charges that progressives are adversaries of God, he believes they can also be considered pawns of Satan. Fischer blamed Sarah Palin’s unpopularity on actual demonic forces that emerged from the political left, calling criticism of Palin “unvarnished demonic evil on full display” and “pure homicidal rage and hate.” Fischer made clear that his charges of demonic conspiracy were not metaphorical:
The hatred directed at her is mindless, it is baseless, it is utterly irrational, and it is disturbing to an alarming degree. When we look into the face of the unvarnished and seething meanness focused on Ms. Palin, we are looking into the face of evil. We are looking into the face of Satan himself, who is the ultimate source of this vitriol and toxic hate.
For those of us who believe in the existence of Satan, as Christ clearly did, then this is a sobering reminder that we battle not just against flesh and blood, as the apostle reminds us in Ephesians 6, but against the “spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.”
Fischer even urged right-wing activists to have more children in order to give conservatives a numerical advantage in the political and cultural battles of the future, urging them to take up “the task of building our families and training up cultural warriors for the next generation” because “liberals are breeding themselves out of existence.”
Fischer criticizes any conservative who crosses partisan lines, even blasting evangelical leader Dr. Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention for backing comprehensive immigration reform. Fischer explained that conservatives should oppose immigration reform since, he believes, Latinos are likely to support marriage equality and have out-of-wedlock pregnancies. “I’m not sure pro-family values are as strong in the Hispanic community as Dr. Land wants to believe,” he said.
A proponent of biblical law, Fischer says that it is necessary to eliminate all progressive influences in government in order to bring about a more Christian state. Fischer demands that the government “close down Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and welfare,” claiming that Social Security and Medicare represent an “an ungodly and unconstitutional recipe for national suicide.”
Fischer asserts that since progressives hate America and God, their policies deliberately weaken America and challenge God. “The U.S. is on course to become a crippled, effete, punchless, beggarly welfare state,” Fischer writes. “This is what happens when government does what liberals want it to do instead of what God and the Founders intended it to do.” He wants the government to instead return to what he calls its original, godly mission: “Government’s purpose is to protect our lives from abortionists, murderers and Muslims.”
Fischer alleges that the intense hatred he believes progressives have for God and America puts them in “collaboration” with terrorist groups. He insists that the only difference between progressives and terrorists is that “so far [progressives] haven’t taken to killing people”:
And they hate America with equal passion. And they hate democracy. They hate freedom of speech, they hate freedom of association. So what Muslims and liberals share together is this hatred of the United States, this hatred of classical American values, this hatred of the Judeo-Christian values system.
And the illustration of the way in which Muslims hate democracy just as much as “regressive”’ do … I’m not saying “as much” because Muslims are willing to go much further in their opposition to democracy than Democrats are. They’ll try to shut you down, they’ll try to engage in electoral fraud, they will try to use intimidation, they will try to use the courts, they will try to shout you down, but so far they haven’t taken to killing people.
Stoning Whales, Shooting Bears
Fischer believes it is a great injustice that biblical law isn’t imposed on all aspects of American society, including our relations with the animal kingdom. Following the tragic news that the SeaWorld whale Tilikum had killed a trainer, Fischer demanded that the whale be put to death. He claimed that the courts should use the “ancient civil code of Israel” in dealing with Tilikum, citing Exodus 21:28-29, which calls for the stoning of animals that kill humans and the death penalty for owners if the animal kills again. When Tilikum began performing again, Fischer was incensed at the “ongoing failure of the West to take counsel on practical matters from the Scripture,” crying: “Tilikum is back in the water, ready to kill again.”
But whales aren’t the only animals that receive Fischer’s wrath.
Fischer blamed a deadly attack by a grizzly bear in Yellowstone Park on the fact that American “culture has jettisoned a biblical view” of animals, and called it a sign that God is punishing America: “God said a curse would fall on a land which turned its back on him, and one consequence would be more tragic deaths at the hands of predatory animals. The truly sad thing here is that we are bringing this curse upon ourselves.”
He later called for an open season on grizzlies in order to end the divine curse: “If it’s a choice between grizzlies and humans, the grizzlies have to go. And it’s time…God makes it clear in Scripture that deaths of people and livestock at the hands of savage beasts is a sign that the land is under a curse. The tragic thing here is that we are bringing this curse upon ourselves.”
After the gray wolf was taken off the endangered species list, Fischer ecstatically tweeted that it was time to finish off the species: “Great news for all who want to reverse the biblical curse of predators: can now hunt wolves in Idaho!”
Prominent Republican leaders and conservative activists increasingly lend undeserved credibility to Fischer’s tirades against gays and lesbians, Muslims, progressives, members of the military and President Obama, reflecting the GOP’s embrace of the Right Wing’s escalating radicalism.
Fischer’s diatribes against religious freedom, minorities and the military should draw the attention of Americans who believe that such a figure does not deserve plaudits of candidates seeking to be our nation’s president. Voters deserve to know why leading Republicans are willing to visit and pay tribute to one of the most virulent, bigoted and incendiary leaders of today’s conservative movement.