The president of social conservative group American Family Association said Wednesday that the organization had relieved longtime spokesman Bryan Fischer of his duties, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow reported.
Fischer, an evangelical radio host, joined the organization in 2009 as its “director of issue analysis for government and public policy” and as a spokesman, according to a cached version of his bio page on AFA’s website. That page has been removed.
The news of Fischer’s firing came as “The Rachel Maddow Show” inquired about AFA’s sponsoring of an upcoming trip to Israel for Republican National Committee members.
Time reported in December that AFA and another group it sponsors, the American Renewal Project, were inviting RNC Chairman Reince Priebus and all the committee’s 168 members on an all-expenses paid trip to Israel that runs from Saturday through Feb. 8. An RNC spokesman told Time that about 60 members had reserved spots.
The Southern Poverty Law Center designates AFA as a “hate group” for its virulent opposition to LGBT rights. The AFA-sponsored Israel trip also appeared at odds with statements Fischer has made on religion and the Holocaust over the years.
Fischer has repeatedly argued that the First Amendment right to religious freedom applies only to Christians. He has also argued that Adolf Hitler was a gay man who recruited other gay men as Nazis, because homosexual soldiers had “no limits in the savagery and brutality they were willing to inflict on whoever Hitler sent them after.”
“Bryan Fischer is just a talk show host,” AFA President Tim Wildmon told Maddow on Wednesday, adding that Fischer should not be considered an AFA spokesman.
When asked why Fischer was suddenly being dropped from that role, Wildmon cited Fischer’s comments on Hitler and homosexuality, telling Maddow “we reject that.”
Fischer appears to have retained his position as an AFA radio host, however:
Don’t believe everything you hear! I’ll be on air same time tomorrow as always 1-3pm CT, on http://t.co/sI2xhN0XQd. Tune in!
— Bryan Fischer (@BryanJFischer) January 29, 2015
A spokeswoman for the RNC did not immediately respond to a request for comment from TPM. The AFA also did not immediately respond to a request for comment from TPM through its public relations representative.
This post has been updated.