Anti-Gay Hate Group Leader Who Gives Marching Orders to Romney Objects to New Yorker Article That Reveals His Obsession with Rigid Masculinity

Bryan Fischer
Bryan Fischer
The New Yorker’s Jane Mayer has written a profile of Bryan Fischer, a leader in the American Family Association, one of the best-funded and most deceptively named hate groups operating today. Fischer is the guy who recently forced Mitt Romney to excise Richard Grenell, a former long-time George W. Bush operative at the United Nations, from his campaign because Grenell is openly gay.

According to Right-Wing Watch, Fischer is very unhappy with the New Yorker piece at least in part because it exposes his obsession with, um, rigid masculinity. This obsession may have started when he learned that his father had been a conscientious objector during World War II. Fischer’s lifelong shame about his father’s weakness appears to have been compounded when his mother left his father for a bus driver — when Bryan was at the tender age of 20. (Even so, when Fischer, who turned 18 in 1969, had the opportunity to go war himself, he opted not to volunteer and did not serve in Vietnam.)

As a student at Stanford, Fischer joined an evangelical church in Palo Alto. He told a friend that he was attracted to the church because of its “manliness.” “It was the first time I’d been around a real muscular Christianity,” Fischer said to a friend then. “It had a kind of strength and virility to it that would appeal to men.”

Fischer joined the ministry in the church after college but many years later was passed over for a leadership position because of his manliness, which is to say his stubbornly belligerent approach:

“Bryan was very popular when he came to Cole [Community Church in Boise, Idaho],” [Terry Papé, a former friend and colleague of Fischer] recalled. “But, over time, those relationships were strained, because of his very strong personality. When it comes to his perspective, it’s very difficult to get him to budge. He loves a good argument, but he doesn’t like being persuaded he might be wrong.” In 1993, Fischer was crushed when Roper retired and endorsed a different successor…

But friction had grown between the two men — and between Fischer and the congregation — over various doctrinal issues. “The central issue was gender,” Fischer told me. The church, he said, had “adopted policies that would have allowed women to exercise authority over men.” He opposed this, citing the Apostle Paul.

So Fischer started his own church in Boise — a true “He Man’s Women-Haters Club” — in which women were strictly regulated to the back of the bus. Four years later, his own congregation kicked him out:

“It was the gender issue again,” Fischer told me. “Because of my Scriptural convictions, I wasn’t able to budge. A female friend of the wife of an elder wanted a leadership role. I felt those roles should be reserved for men. When I objected, they said, ‘You’re fired.’ It was very abrupt. I didn’t know what I was going to do next. It was very painful.”

So, of course, he went into politics full time. He founded his own hate group — the Idaho Values Alliance — in 2007. It was folded into the AFA in 2009.

Fischer has criticized the New Yorker article on Twitter, calling it “shockingly bad, poorly written, sophomoric.”

According to Rev. Dan Vojir at OpEd News, Fischer has also tore into the article on his radio show:

Citing only the amount of exclamation points (6 in a ten-page piece), Fischer excoriates Jane Mayer and her profile as “shoddy, poorly written, unprofessional” full of “flat-out lies” and goes on to point to his own writing for the Idaho Statesman as far superior to anything like the piece. This, after giving the impression that the New Yorker is only a “highbrow publication of the elite the upper east side of Manhattan…the real tony elites that think they’re so much better than you and me.”

Here is a round-up from Right-Wing Watch of Fischer’s most hateful rhetoric that was mentioned in the New Yorker:

  • “Fischer declared that ‘homosexuality gave us Adolf Hitler, and homosexuals in the military gave us the Brown Shirts, the Nazi war machine, and six million dead Jews.”
  • “Like the saying goes, ‘I’ve never met an ex- black, but I’ve met a lot of ex-gays.’ If one person can do it, two people can do it.”
  • “He then denied, as he does routinely, that H.I.V. causes AIDS, calling it a ‘harmless passenger virus.’”
  • “Fischer thinks that Islam is a violent religion, and argues that Muslims should be stopped from immigrating and barred from serving in the U.S. military. He believes that the country was a Christian nation when the Bill of Rights was written, and therefore non-Christians ‘have no First Amendment right to the free exercise of religion.’ He has said that Native Americans are ‘morally disqualified’ from ruling America, and that African-American welfare recipients ‘rut like rabbits.’”
  • “Obama, he has said, ‘despises the Constitution” and “nurtures a hatred for the white man.’”
  • “Fischer advised a caller that, in some instances, a child as young as six months could be spanked.”

If Romney is elected in November, Rev. Bryan Fischer will no doubt become one of the new president’s advisors, just as Rev. Ted Haggard, then-president of the National Evangelical Association (NAE) was a trusted counselor to George W. Bush. And it could be said that, like Fischer, Haggard, too, had an obsession with rigid masculinity.

But seriously, as was suggested here earlier, someone needs to ask Mitt Romney why Americans should believe he will stand up to Al Qaeda, the theocratic regime in Iran and our other enemies if he cannot stand up against pressure from a delusional hate group leader like Bryan Fischer.

One comment

  • June 15, 2012 - 11:54 am | Permalink

    I disagree strongly that Romney would make any evangelical an advisor, except maybe on issues of how to excite the base. He does and will get all of his spiritual guidance from Salt Lake City.

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