The social conservative group American Family Association distanced itself Wednesday from several of evangelical radio host Bryan Fischer’s statements on religious freedom and gays, but said it was still going to let him keep his radio show for the sake of “diversity.”
In a letter to the Southern Poverty Law Center, the group’s general counsel attributed Fischer’s most controversial statements to the “free speech zone” that AFA allows its writers and on-air personalities.
“AFA has concluded that it must renounce some statements made by American Family Radio talk-show host Bryan Fischer,” Patrick J. Vaughn, the general counsel, wrote. “In its 37-year history, AFA has never held these views and wishes to clarify that it still rejects such sentiments.”
Among the statements that AFA disavowed in the letter were Fischer’s assertion that freedom of religion in America applies only to Christians and his argument that homosexuality produced Hitler and the Holocaust.
MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show” reported Wednesday night that AFA President Tim Wildmon fired Fischer as spokesman because of the comments about Hitler. The AFA is sponsoring a trip to Israel beginning Saturday for Republican National Committee members, reportedly including Chairman Reince Priebus.
The letter also states that Fischer no longer serves as the AFA’s spokesman or director of issue analysis.
“Nevertheless, in following AFA’s policy of allowing unity and diversity, Bryan will continue to host the Focal Point radio program and continue blogging,” Vaughn wrote.
Fischer confirmed Thursday on his radio show that he had “taken off his hat” as a spokesman for the group, but denied the “rumors” that he was ousted.
The AFA did not respond to a request for comment from TPM through a public relations representative.
Read the letter below via the Southern Poverty Law Center: