Rachel Maddow broke the news tonight that Bryan Fischer, the spokesperson and Director of Issue Analysis for the American Family Association (and constant source of fodder for blogs like this one), has been fired.
It is because of his toxic anti-gay comments over the years?
The AFA (along with the American Renewal Project) is underwriting the Republican National Committee’s upcoming trip to Israel. And that’s a huge problem for the GOP since Fischer has said nasty things about Jewish people. (And everyone who’s not his brand of Christian, really.)
He’s said that homosexuality was responsible for Hitler and therefore the Holocaust, and that all immigrants must convert to Christianity, and that the First Amendment only exists to advance the Christian faith. And that doesn’t go over so well in the Israeli media.
For those reasons, the AFA is releasing him from his duties:
Strangely enough, Fischer will continue hosting his talk show for the AFA. So there’s still a connection, but it will now be a loose one. AFA President Tim Wildmon said to Maddow that “Bryan Fischer is just a talk show host,” adding that the problem with Fischer was “… the soundbite quotes, you know, the Hitler and homosexuality one…”
They reject that, apparently, several years after the fact. (I guess his other comments are fine, though?)
David Lane, the Christian activist who runs the American Renewal Project, also added that “America was founded by Christians for the glory of God and the Christian faith,” which probably didn’t sit well with the Israeli people.
So Fischer wasn’t fired for the damage he’s done to the Christian brand or all the other nasty things he’s said as recently as yesterday. It’s specifically because he was hurting the RNC/AFA coalition.
But let me speculate on this for a moment: It’s possible the AFA has wanted to get rid of Fischer for a while now but they could never really find a way to do it. They finally saw an opening with this Israel trip and the bad press around it and took it. It’s not all that different from Focus on the Family getting rid of James Dobson a few years ago. It doesn’t undo all the damage, of course, but that direct connection to a destructive voice is gone. I suspect there are some sighs of relief within the AFA tonight.
It’s unfortunate the AFA didn’t get rid of Fischer for any number of reasons before this — and it’s not like they really distanced themselves from the horrible things he’s said over the years — but Fischer just lost a good chunk of legitimacy.
There’s a reason you haven’t heard James Dobson’s name in a while. He’s still saying crazy shit, but he’s just one dude running a random group now, not a visible leader of a multi-million dollar organization.
Maybe Fischer, too, will begin to fade after this. We can only hope. I mean, when the AFA fires you, you must have been pretty damn awful.
***Update***: Fischer tweeted this an hour ago. It doesn’t challenge the firing or rebut anything I posted above.