This Evangelical Radio Host Is Making The RNC’s Israel Trip Pretty Awkward

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Evangelical radio host Bryan Fischer has made it clear that he considers Christians to be privileged above people of all other faiths, including Jews, during his time with the social conservative group American Family Association.

Fischer served prominently as AFA’s spokesman and director of issue analysis until last week. MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow first reported that AFA president Tim Wildmon dropped Fischer as spokesman, in particular because of past comments he made about gays and Hitler.

Fischer’s alleged firing — he maintains that he chose to scale back his duties so that his personal views weren’t conflated with those of AFA — came as nonprofit groups reportedly pressured the Republican National Committee to cancel its participation in a week-long trip to Israel organized and paid for by AFA and its subsidiary, the American Renewal Project.

RNC Chairman Reince Priebus had been confirmed to attend, American Renewal Project founder David Lane told Haaretz last week. Yet Priebus lunched with Senate Republicans Tuesday on Capitol Hill; clearly he didn’t make the trip.

If Priebus had flown to Israel with about 60 other committee members, according to Lane’s tally, he may well have been forced to reconcile the RNC’s stated support for Israel with the heated rhetoric of the host organization’s former spokesman.

Here’s a sampling of some of Fischer’s inflammatory statements:

Immigrants should convert to Christianity so they can’t complain about “people advertising bacon”

Fischer said in September that the United States should take a cue from the immigration policies “God established for the nation of Israel” by forcing all who wish to enter the country to “leave behind the religion of their homeland and the god of their homeland.”

He explained that would involve giving up “conflicting morals.” For example, Fischer said “they would not complain about people advertising bacon. They would not complain about the lack of halal foods in school cafeterias. They would not complain about the lack of halal foods in their prisons.”

Eating bacon or other pork products, of course, is also taboo in Judaism.

U.S. founders intended the First Amendment to apply only to Christianity

Fischer has repeatedly said that non-Christians, especially Muslims, are not entitled to religious freedom under the First Amendment.

He addressed Judaism and the founding of the the U.S. in December 2013, declaring that “there was almost no presence of Judaism on these shores at the time of the founding” of the U.S. He argued that Jews and other non-Christians were not prohibited from practicing their faith, but that individual states could regulate the practice of those religions because they didn’t fall under the protection of the First Amendment.

“The purpose was to protect the free exercise of the Christian faith. It wasn’t about protecting anything else,” Fischer said. “[The founders] weren’t providing any cover or shelter for the free exercise of Islam or even Judaism or even atheism.”

In addition, Fischer said at the Values Voter Summit in 2010 that “the only entity that is restrained by the First Amendment is the Congress of the United States.” State and local governments cannot violate the First Amendment, he argued — meaning a state compelling its residents to worship in the Baptist Church or the Episcopalian church would be legal.

Native Americans were punished for not converting to Christianity, just like ancient Canaanites in Israel

Fischer drew a rebuke from a fellow AFA blogger in February 2011 after he said Native American populations were “mired in poverty and alcoholism” because they had not converted to Christianity.

Fischer cited a passage from the Bible regarding the Canaanites, an ancient people from Israel, to justify that argument in a post that the AFA later removed.

“God warned the ancient nation of Israel not to lapse into the abominable practices of the native peoples ‘lest the land vomit you out…as it vomited out the nation that was before you’ (Lev. 18:28),” Fischer wrote. “Time eventually ran out for the Canaanites, because they filled up the full measure of their iniquity. Time ran out for the native American tribes for the same reason.”

Hitler and the Nazis were gay

Fischer did some Holocaust revisionism in 2010, arguing that Adolf Hitler was a gay man who recruited other gay men into his army because they had a capacity for evil that straight men didn’t.

“Hitler discovered that he could not get straight soldiers to be savage and brutal and vicious enough to carry out his orders, but that homosexual soldiers basically had no limits and the savagery and brutality they were willing to inflict on whomever Hitler sent them after,” Fischer said. “So he surrounded himself, virtually all of the Stormtroopers, the Brownshirts, were male homosexuals.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Catherine Thompson is a senior editor for Talking Points Memo in New York City. She came to the site in 2013 and reported on national affairs. Previously, she worked as a research assistant to investigative reporter Wayne Barrett. She can be reached at catherine@talkingpointsmemo.com.

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