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January 29, 2015 0

AFA Ousts Bryan Fischer As Spokesperson But He Remains A Radio Host

Bryan Fischer

Bryan Fis­cher

Bryan Fis­cher, who reg­u­larly spews anti-LGBT rhetoric, often liken­ing the LGBT com­mu­nity to Nazis, has been ousted as a spokesper­son for the Amer­i­can Fam­ily Asso­ci­a­tion (AFA), a reli­gious right orga­ni­za­tion, accord­ing to a report on The Rachel Mad­dow Show. Fis­cher is for­merly the direc­tor of issue analy­sis for gov­ern­ment and pub­lic pol­icy at AFA.

Although the AFA has not released a pub­lic state­ment on Fis­cher, a spokesper­son for the group told Mad­dow that Fischer’s state­ments com­par­ing gays to Nazis con­tributed to their deci­sion to remove him as spokesper­son. The AFA may be attempt­ing to appear more palat­able to the pub­lic in light of a Jan­u­ary 31 trip to Israel the orga­ni­za­tion is spon­sor­ing for Repub­li­can National Com­mit­tee members.

Fis­cher, how­ever, still main­tains his posi­tion as a radio show host on Amer­i­can Fam­ily Radio, where he has courted con­tro­versy with his extreme state­ments about the LGBT com­mu­nity, Mus­lims, and African-Americans. He often uses his radio show, “Focal Point,” as well as arti­cles to den­i­grate groups he opposed.

This month, Fis­cher argued that “homo­sex­u­als” should not be allowed to run for office, say­ing, “It’s a form of sex­ual per­ver­sion and remem­ber, we’re going to have to choose between the gay agenda and Chris­tian­ity.” Aside from refer­ring to homo­sex­u­al­ity as a per­ver­sion, Fisher con­stantly used Holo­caust analo­gies to com­pare con­ser­v­a­tive Chris­tians who oppose homo­sex­u­al­ity to Jews per­se­cuted under the Nazis. In Fischer’s mind, LGBT activists were the Nazis.

In April 2012, Fis­cher declared, “We’re get­ting to the point where these homo­fas­cists are going to force us to wear on our sleeve some kind of iden­ti­fy­ing marker so peo­ple will know who the racists and the homo­phobes and the big­ots are.” He added, “Remem­ber when the Jews in Nazi Ger­many, they had to wear a yel­low star of David on their sleeve? We’re get­ting to the point where that’s where they’re going to make us do.” Fis­cher also said that the Nazi Party was formed in a gay bar in Munich.

Fis­cher also railed against Mus­lims. This month, Fis­cher said that “Allah rep­re­sents a demon God.” In 2011, Fis­cher claimed that Muslims—and by exten­sion, Jews– were not pro­tected by the First Amend­ment. He argued, “The First Amend­ment was writ­ten by the Founders to pro­tect the free exer­cise of Chris­tian­ity.” He added, “Islam is enti­tled only to the reli­gious lib­erty we extend it out of courtesy.”

In yet another dis­turb­ing state­ment, Fis­cher said that wel­fare had destroyed African-American fam­i­lies because young black women “rut like rab­bits” in the expec­ta­tion that they would get finan­cial awards for hav­ing chil­dren out of wedlock.

Despite Fis­cher being removed as a spokesper­son for AFA, he will still be able to reach thou­sands of peo­ple with his radio show.

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January 14, 2015 1

After Terrorist Attacks, Anti-immigrant Activists Attack Muslim Immigration

In the wake of the deadly ter­ror­ist attacks on the Char­lie Hebdo Paris office and a kosher mar­ket in Paris, anti-immigrant activists in the U.S. are urg­ing the United States to stop all Mus­lim immi­gra­tion to this coun­try. They also claim that any­one who prac­tices Islam is inclined towards extremism.

Tom Tancredo

Tom Tan­credo

In a Jan­u­ary 12, 2015 col­umn for World Net Daily (WND) titled, “Yes, It is Islam!” for­mer Col­orado Con­gress­man Tom Tan­credo writes, “So, here we are again, being told that we can’t blame Islam for the mur­der­ous acts that have cost thou­sands of lives since 9/11 and mil­lions of lives since the 14th cen­tury! Well, then let me ask a sim­ple ques­tion: If Islam did not exist, how many of these events would have occurred?”

Although Tan­credo acknowl­edges that rad­i­cal Islam is the prob­lem, he does not make a dis­tinc­tion between ter­ror­ists and peo­ple of the Mus­lim faith.. He asserts “that the jihadists do not rep­re­sent all Mus­lims is irrel­e­vant.” He con­tin­ues, “We have spent tens of bil­lions hunt­ing down and killing ter­ror­ist lead­ers with drones and other tools of high-tech war­fare, while accept­ing and per­mit­ting the growth of the can­cer of Shariah law in our own com­mu­ni­ties.” Tan­credo then sug­gests that “we stop all immi­gra­tion of Mus­lims into the United States and then deport those already here who adhere to Shariah law.” He also calls for seal­ing all our bor­ders against ille­gal entry to pre­vent jihadists from using “our open bor­ders to infil­trate our communities.”

Frosty Wooldridge, who is an advi­sory board mem­ber of the extreme anti-immigrant group Fed­er­a­tion for Amer­i­can Immi­gra­tion Reform, often den­i­grates immi­grants and Mus­lims in his columns for in the right-wing online pub­li­ca­tion, “News with Views.” He has writ­ten a series of columns titled, “Impreg­nat­ing Amer­ica with Mus­lims,” in which he attacks Mus­lim immi­grants. In his lat­est col­umn on Jan­u­ary 12, titled, “Islam Forces West­ern Ideals into Extinc­tion,” he reprints a num­ber of anti-Muslim quotes from the late writer and bigot Lawrence Auster, includ­ing: “It is impor­tant to under­stand that what makes Islam dan­ger­ous to non-Muslims is not that Mus­lims are morally bad peo­ple. The prob­lem is not that Mus­lims are bad peo­ple, the prob­lem is that they are good Mus­lims. Our con­cern is with the reli­gion and the polit­i­cal ide­ol­ogy of Islam, which makes all Mus­lims dan­ger­ous to us, since all Mus­lims, even if they per­son­ally have no aggres­sive inten­tions, even if they are per­son­ally fine and lovely peo­ple, are part of the Islamic com­mu­nity and owe their high­est loy­alty to Islam.”

Wooldridge ends his col­umn by warn­ing, “The illit­er­ate, bar­baric, killing-machine war­lord Mohammed con­tin­ues his car­nage into the 21st cen­tury with the hands of 1.5 bil­lion of his fol­low­ers. If we fail to stop mass immi­gra­tion, France’s night­mare becomes our future.”

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December 4, 2014 0

The Price of Religious Exclusion

The Town­ship of Bridge­wa­ter, NJ recently set­tled a law­suit filed by a local Mus­lim con­gre­ga­tion – the Al Falah Cen­ter – for $7.75 mil­lion.  The law­suit alleged that the Township’s expe­di­tious pas­sage of a new land use ordi­nance which effec­tively barred the Cen­ter from con­vert­ing a for­mer 15,500 sq. foot ban­quet into a mosque vio­lated the fed­eral Reli­gious Land Use and Insti­tu­tion­al­ized Per­sons Act (“RLUIPA”).bridgewater

In Octo­ber 2010, the Cen­ter signed a con­tract to pur­chase a for­mer Red Roof Inn with the intent of con­vert­ing it into a mosque.  A prior Town­ship traf­fic study con­cluded that the pro­posed con­ver­sion would not increase traf­fic.  And in March 2011, the Sum­mit County Plan­ning Board found that the con­ver­sion raised min­i­mal traf­fic issues and it con­di­tioned approval of Al Falah’s land use appli­ca­tion on instal­la­tion of a new traf­fic light paid for by the Center.

But six days after the County issued its find­ing and shortly before a new state law favor­able to the Center’s land use appli­ca­tion went into effect, the Town­ship adopted a new land use ordi­nance that effec­tively barred Al Falah from using the prop­erty for a mosque.  Inter­est­ingly, the same ordi­nance did not affect the oper­a­tion of the other sev­en­teen exist­ing houses of wor­ship within the Town­ship, none of which are mosques.

A fed­eral dis­trict court found that the Township’s actions likely vio­lated RLUIPA, as well as denied Bridgewater’s motion for sum­mary judg­ment.  The Town­ship appealed this deci­sion to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.

The Inter­faith Coali­tion on Mosques (“ICOM”), which is spon­sored by ADL, filed a friend-of-the court (ami­cus) brief with the Third Cir­cuit in sup­port of the Cen­ter.  How­ever, the case set­tled dur­ing the pen­dency of the appeal.

Under the set­tle­ment terms, the Cen­ter will not build a mosque on the Red Roof Inn prop­erty.  But the Town­ship will pay $2.75 mil­lion to buy an alter­na­tive 15-acre prop­erty for the Cen­ter and Bridgewater’s insur­ance car­rier will pay Al Falah another $5 mil­lion for alleged dam­ages and attorney’s fees.

The legal set­tle­ment is not an admis­sion of lia­bil­ity or dis­crim­i­na­tion.  But per­haps it has taught the Town­ship and oth­ers munic­i­pal­i­ties an expen­sive and vital les­son: reli­gious free­dom in Amer­ica is for all faiths, not just some.

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