Native American columnist blasts Bryan Fischer’s “ugly article”

Last Friday, Indian Country Media columnist, Steven Newcomb, blasted Bryan Fischer’s column on Native Americans calling it an “ugly article” and saying that  it contained “thinly veiled race-purity arguments.”

Newcomb writes:

In other words, the very narrative that Mr. Fischer uses as his standard of judgment against American Indians is a dehumanizing genocidal narrative; that basis alone disqualifies it from being any kind of moral standard of judgment against anyone.

Earlier the Native American Rights Fund said Fischer’s article was “not worth dignifying with comment.”

Expanding on Newcomb’s criticisms, I believe that Fischer’s use of the Old Testament stories involving the promised land as a template for justifying the European conquest of the native peoples here is theologically and morally flawed. His newer article on Pocahontas suffers from a stunning confirmation bias in that only facts consistent with his narrow thesis are presented. I think Mark Noll’s comments in his book on the history of Christianity in the US provide excellent rebuttal to Fischer’s supremacist theory:

Despite the fact that the Cherokees had adapted to American ways with remarkable skill, the removal proceeded with ruthless finality. The missionaries, who had come to the Native Americans as bearers of civilization as well as of Christianity, faced a terrible dilemma. They now were forced to watch their country, supposedly the embodiment of Christian civilization, turn violently against a people that had responded to their message.

Some in the AFA have criticized Fischer but the Pocahontas article remains up on the AFA blog. One can quibble about whether Fischer speaks for the AFA but they are allowing revisionist history about one of the most painful episodes in our history to go unchallenged.

Other posts on this topic:

Bryan Fischer speaks with forked tongue – 2/22/11

AFA divided over Bryan Fischer’s views on Native Americans – 2/14/11

Bryan Fischer explains why the AFA pulled his column on Native Americans – 2/11/11

Native American group: Bryan Fischer’s article “not worth dignifying” – 2/10/11

AFA removes article at odds with Bryan Fischer on Native Americans; Update: Original article also removed – 2/10/11

Bryan Fischer prefers European depravity to the native kind – 2/8/11

AFA removes article at odds with Bryan Fischer on Native Americans; Update: Original article also removed

I have written a couple of posts about Bryan Fischer’s supremacist views relating to Native Americans. As far as I can tell, I am only one of two conservatives to respond negatively to it. The other one, however, is noteworthy in that he did so on the website of the American Family Association.

One of AFA’s other columnists, 17 year old Elijah Friedeman posted a column criticizing Fischer’s views.  However, you’ll have to read it on Friedeman’s blog since it has been removed from AFA’s. Here is how he started it:

Native Americans were so immoral that they deserved what happened to them? I find the idea repulsive.

Yesterday, Bryan Fischer posted a blog about how American indians disqualified themselves from any claim to land in America by their sexual immorality and violence. I want to officially reject and distance myself from that viewpoint.

His other columns are still available and you can find the link to his rebuttal in the search engine but when you click the link, it fails to appear.

UPDATE: Bryan Fischer’s article has now been removed from the AFA website. However, you can read it in the Google cache for now and here permanently. I wonder if he will explain why it was taken down.

Bryan Fischer prefers European depravity to the native kind

I don’t know where to start, or even if I should, on this op-ed from Bryan Fischer.

Native Americans Morally Disqualified Themselves From the Land (now removed from the AFA website, but archived here.)

In all the discussions about the European settlement of the New World, one feature has been conspicuously absent: the role that the superstition, savagery and sexual immorality of native Americans played in making them morally disqualified from sovereign control of American soil. 

International legal scholars have always recognized that sovereign control of land is legitimately transferred in at least three ways: settlement, purchase, and conquest. Europeans have to this day a legitimate claim on American soil for all three of those reasons.  

They established permanent settlements on the land, moving gradually from east to west, while Indian tribes remained relentlessly nomadic.

Much of the early territory in North American that came into possession of the Europeans came into their possession when the land was purchased from local tribes, Peter Minuit’s purchase of Manhattan being merely the first.

And the Europeans proved superior in battle, taking possession of contested lands through right of conquest. So in all respects, Europeans gained rightful and legal sovereign control of American soil. 

But another factor has rarely been discussed, and that is the moral factor.

Apparently, given Fischer’s analogy to “the Canaanites,” he believes Native Americans deserved their fate at the hands of the Europeans. This is absurd, of course, which even Fischer has to explain later in his rant.

Here is a moral factor for Mr. Fischer to expound upon: The Trail of Tears.

What happened on the Trail of Tears?

Federal Indian Removal Policy

Early in the 19th century, the United States felt threatened by England and Spain, who held land in the western continent. At the same time, American settlers clamored for more land. Thomas Jefferson proposed the creation of a buffer zone between U.S. and European holdings, to be inhabited by eastern American Indians. This plan would also allow for American expansion westward from the original colonies to the Mississippi River.

Between 1816 and 1840, tribes located between the original states and the Mississippi River, including Cherokees, Chickasaws, Choctaws, Creeks, and Seminoles, signed more than 40 treaties ceding their lands to the U.S. In his 1829 inaugural address, President Andrew Jackson set a policy to relocate eastern Indians. In 1830 it was endorsed, when Congress passed the Indian Removal Act to force those remaining to move west of the Mississippi. Between 1830 and 1850, about 100,000 American Indians living between Michigan, Louisiana, and Florida moved west after the U.S. government coerced treaties or used the U.S. Army against those resisting. Many were treated brutally. An estimated 3,500 Creeks died in Alabama and on their westward journey. Some were transported in chains.

Those Native Americans who could pass for white did so to avoid the nearly 1000 mile trek across country. Many had to walk the entire distance. Families were uprooted from their homes. Many Native Americans had roots throughout the targeted areas and were not nomadic as Fischer claims. More from the Trail of Tears site:

In December 1835, the U.S. sought out this minority to effect a treaty at New Echota, Georgia. Only 300 to 500 Cherokees were there; none were elected officials of the Cherokee Nation. Twenty signed the treaty, ceding all Cherokee territory east of the Mississippi to the U.S., in exchange for $5 million and new homelands in Indian Territory.

More than 15,000 Cherokees protested the illegal treaty. Yet, on May 23, 1836, the Treaty of New Echota was ratified by the U.S. Senate – by just one vote.

“Many Days Pass and People Die Very Much”

Most Cherokees, including Chief John Ross, did not believe that they would be forced to move. In May 1838, Federal troops and state militias began the roundup of the Cherokees into stockades. In spite of warnings to troops to treat the Cherokees kindly, the roundup proved harrowing.

Families were separated-the elderly and ill forced out at gunpoint – people given only moments to collect cherished possessions. White looters followed, ransacking homesteads as Cherokees were led away.

Three groups left in the summer, traveling from present-day Chattanooga by rail, boat, and wagon, primarily on the Water Route. But river levels were too low for navigation; one group, traveling overland in Arkansas, suffered three to five deaths each day due to illness and drought.

Fifteen thousand captives still awaited removal. Crowding, poor sanitation, and drought made them miserable. Many died. The Cherokees asked to postpone removal until the fall, and to voluntarily remove themselves. The delay was granted, provided they remain in internment camps until travel resumed.

By November, 12 groups of 1,000 each were trudging 800 miles overland to the west. The last party, including Chief Ross, went by water. Now, heavy autumn rains and hundreds of wagons on the muddy route made roads impassable; little grazing and game could be found to supplement meager rations.

Two-thirds of the ill-equipped Cherokees were trapped between the ice-bound Ohio and Mississippi Rivers during January. As one survivor recalled, ” Long time we travel on way to new land. People feel bad when they leave Old Nation. Womens cry and make sad wails. Children cry and many men cry…but they say nothing and just put heads down and keep on go towards West. Many days pass and people die very much.”

Some drank stagnant water and succumbed to disease. One survivor told how his father got sick and died; then, his mother; then, one by one, his five brothers and sisters. “One each day. Then all are gone.”

By March 1839, all survivors had arrived in the west. No one knows how many died throughout the ordeal, but the trip was especially hard on infants, children, and the elderly. Missionary doctor Elizur Butler, who accompanied the Cherokees, estimated that over 4,000 died-nearly a fifth of the Cherokee population.

Is this moral? How Christian was this?

Many Christians opposed this policy and treatment at the time and yet here is a high profile christian celebrating the subjugation of native people. It appears that Mr. Fischer of the American Straight White Christian Family Association prefers the European-American depravity to the native kind.

UPDATE: As of 2/10, the Fischer article has been removed from the AFA website. He also removed it from another website but you can read it here in the Google cache and here permanently.

SPLC myth #4: Homosexuals don’t live nearly as long as heterosexuals

As anticipated, the groups identified by the Southern Poverty Law Center as “hate groups” have reacted with defensive distraction. Instead of responding directly to the charges made by the SPLC, they have organized a significant effort to change the subject. Called Start Debating/Stop Hating, the website   consists of endorsements from some prominent conservative activists, politicians and ministers. The website also asks visitors to sign a petition which reads:

“We, the undersigned, stand in solidarity with Family Research Council, American Family Association, Concerned Women of America, National Organization for Marriage, Liberty Counsel and other pro-family organizations that are working to protect and promote natural marriage and family. We support the vigorous but responsible exercise of the First Amendment rights of free speech and religious liberty that are the birthright of all Americans.”

That sounds fine until you realize that the SPLC did not place groups on the list because they favored “natural marriage and family.” There are other unlisted organizations (e.g., Focus on the Family, Alliance Defense Fund) which clearly and publicly oppose gay marriage.  The SPLC clearly stated reasons why the new groups, including the FRC and the AFA were listed. The issue is a systematic effort to vilify gays, such as this gem from American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer:

Homosexuality gave us Adolph Hitler, and homosexuals in the military gave us the Brown Shirts, the Nazi war machine and six million dead Jews. Gays in the military is an experiment that has been tried and found disastrously and tragically wanting. Maybe it’s time for Congress to learn a lesson from history.

That is SPLC myth #5. For this post, I am going to look at myth #4 which focuses on the claim that gays don’t live as long as straights. I have addressed this before extensively and so I am only going to point out again that the groups and their defenders are changing the subject instead of addressing actual problems in the information they present to their constituents.

A recent case in point is a column by Bryan Fischer of the AFA where he did exactly what the SPLC complained about in myth #4. Watch:

While drugs have been found to mitigate the damage done by HIV, there is no cure. Once someone contracts it, he has it for life, a life often tragically shortened by between eight and 20 years, according to the International Journal of Epidemiology.

Smoking will cut six to seven years from the lifespan of the smoker, meaning a cigarette habit is less dangerous to human health and longevity than gay sex.

Given the reference, I assume he is referring to the 1997 study by Hogg et al in the International Journal of Epidemiology which found the following:

In a major Canadian centre, life expectancy at age 20 years for gay and bisexual men is 8 to 20 years less than for all men.

Does Mr. Fischer have a get-off-the-hate-list-free card because he cited a peer reviewed journal? Those who really want to support these groups might be inclined to stop right there and cease their investigation of the question. Indeed, that is what the American College of Pediatricians do on their Facts About Youth website. They say:

The only epidemiological study to date on the life span of gay men concluded that gay and bisexual men lose up to 20 years of life expectancy.

I have pointed out to the people who put that website together that Hogg et al is not the “only epidemiological study to date on the life span of gay men” but they have not changed their website. In any case, the point is that people who count on these organizations for accurate information would not get it by trusting them and reading their claims.

The Hogg et al study was conducted using data from 1987 – 1992 when AIDS claimed many lives. In 2001, Hogg et al countered the incorrect use of their study – the same study that Bryan Fischer and ACPED cites as current information – by noting that life expectancy had improved significantly, saying:

In contrast, if we were to repeat this analysis today the life expectancy of gay and bisexual men would be greatly improved. Deaths from HIV infection have declined dramatically in this population since 1996. As we have previously reported there has been a threefold decrease in mortality in Vancouver as well as in other parts of British Columbia.

This is not reported on the ACPED site nor is it referred to by Bryan Fischer. Why not? If these groups were interested in presenting accurate information in debating and not hating, then why not present the whole picture?

However, there is more. A more recent 2008 studyby Danish epidemiologist Morten Frisch and statistician Henrik Brønnum-Hansen found that the trajectory of gay mortality is improving there to the point where, according to these researchers,

Despite recent marked reduction in mortality among gay men, Danish men and women in same-sex marriages still have mortality rates that exceed those of the general population. The excess mortality is restricted to the first few years after a marriage, presumably reflecting preexisting illness at the time of marriage. Although further study is needed, the claims of drastically increased overall mortality in gay men and lesbians appear unjustified.

The authors found that mortality improved dramatically with the introduction of antiretroviral treatments and while the mortality rates were still not as favorable for gays and lesbians, they were not compatible with the claims of a 20 year difference. Indeed, the Danish researchers found that the mortality picture of married GLB people is improving over time.

More research needs to be done and these studies need replication but the accurate picture is that life span differences are not dramatic and are not comparable to those produced by smoking. If anything, the mortality picture is improving substantially, not declining. If this new effort from the FRC is supposed to be about debate and dialogue then, please discuss this.

Here is a question:

Why haven’t the groups (or their supporters) singled out by the SPLC disclosed the update provided by Hogg et al in 2001 or the study by Frisch and Brønnum-Hansen in 2008?

Regarding mortality, the truth is more in line with what Hogg et al noted in their 2001 update:

It is essential to note that the life expectancy of any population is a descriptive and not a prescriptive mesaure. Death is a product of the way a person lives and what physical and environmental hazards he or she faces everyday. It cannot be attributed solely to their sexual orientation or any other ethnic or social factor. If estimates of an individual gay and bisexual man’s risk of death is truly needed for legal or other purposes, then people making these estimates should use the same actuarial tables that are used for all other males in that population. Gay and bisexual men are included in the construction of official population-based tables and therefore these tables for all males are the appropriate ones to be used.

In addition to avoiding information inconsistent with their premise, the groups identified by the SPLC often use the information they do disclose in an incorrect manner.  If these groups want to debate, then I suggest they use all of the information available and they use it in accord with accepted scientific standards. For instance, generalizing from Hogg et al in 1997 to all gay people everywhere in 2010 is improper and can easily lead to charges of purposeful negative stereotyping. Instead of changing the subject, I would like to see these groups change the way they defend their views.

Today in history: George Washington on religious freedom

To Bigotry No Sanction, to Persecution No Assistance…

-George Washington

On August 17, 1790, President George Washington wrote a letter to Moses Seixas and the Jewish congregation of Newport, RI. Washington did so in response to a letter sent by the group when Washington visited their city. The account is on the Library of Congress website and provides important historical context for debates over freedom of religion for Muslims.

On August 17, 1790, the Hebrew Congregation of Newport, Rhode Island, presented a congratulatory address to President George Washington on the occasion of his visit to their city. Both the address, written by Moses Seixas, and Washington’s response appeared together in several newspapers. They encapsulate Washington’s clearest articulation of his belief in religious freedom and the first presidential affirmation of the free and equal status of Jewish-American citizens.

And here is part of what he told the congregation:

All possess alike liberty of conscience and immunities of citizenship. It is now no more that toleration is spoken of, as if it was by the indulgence of one class of people, that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent natural rights. For happily the Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens, in giving it on all occasions their effectual support.

I suppose those opposed to Muslim houses of worship would appeal to Washington’s condition at the end – that they conduct themselves as good citizens by providing “effectual support.” I don’t believe religious freedom can be used as a means to protect subversive activities. Thus, one would need to demonstrate that individual projects or religious groups have treasonous plans in order to make a case that religious freedoms should be set aside.

Washington’s words also are in sharp contrast to the spin on religious freedom offered by some on the Christian right (e.g., Bryan Fischer), namely that the founders only intended to stop the government from taking sides in Christian denominational disputes, and knew nothing of tolerance for other faiths. Moses Seixas congregation was not a denomination of Christianity.

Not all founders considered themselves Christian. Thomas Jefferson edited the New Testament producing his own gospel by omitting the supernatural aspects of the life of Jesus. His references to religion were not directed at Christian denominations exclusively but religion in general. So on this day in history, let’s reflect on the common grace of God and the First Amendment.

To Bigotry No Sanction, to Persecution No Assistance…

Bryan Fischer: Now let’s ban the mosques

The American Family Association has become scary. There I said it.

At one point, I presented facts to the AFA correcting a report from their information source, OneNewsNow, about the American Psychological Association’s task force report on sexual orientation but their reporter hung up on me. I was allowed to rebut some criticism aimed my way which they published as hearsay, but the damage was done. But these are minor problems compared to where Bryan Fischer has taken the group.

I have discussed Fischer’s views before (biblical law, gay nazis) and I suspect will again. Here is one that is really troubling from a group that claims to uphold religious freedom. From Fischer’s blog post, No More Mosques, Period:

Permits should not be granted to build even one more mosque in the United States of America, let alone the monstrosity planned for Ground Zero. This is for one simple reason: each Islamic mosque is dedicated to the overthrow of the American government.

You have to read the rest to grasp the concept. Fischer, fronting an ostensibly Christian group, calls for the coercive power of the state to limit the freedom of expression of Islam. When Islamic nations call for restrictions on Christianity, we rightly criticize them. Well, what about this?

Of course, any group, Islamic, Christian, atheist, gay or straight, who plots rebellion against the government should be investigated and stopped. If there is evidence that a mosque is really a front for terror then make the case and take action. However, in the most obvious of ironies, Fischer wants the government to violate the Constitution with his plan to restrict Islam. Freedoms of religion, association and speech are freedoms we want to protect, right?

Amy Ritter at Hot Air tossed a nurf ball at Fischer and the AFA. She is worried about Fischer declaring his idea in the name of conservatism. I am more concerned about what is coming out of the AFA being considered Christian.

Update: Quickly, I note that another AFA writer criticized Fischer’s stance the next day. That’s nice. However, it still is deeply troubling that someone in leadership at AFA has a platform to call for the undermining of the Constitution in the name of conservatism and Christianity.

Note: Been away for a spell, might be back at it more next week.

More on Bryan Fischer’s theories about homosexuality and the Nazis

In various ways, over the last two weeks, Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association has advanced three theories about Hitler, the Nazi Party and homosexuals. They are:

1. Hitler was an active homosexual.

2. Hitler could not find straight soldiers who were savage enough to carry out his evil plans, so he recruited homosexuals to do it.

3. Homosexuals in the Nazi military led to the Holocaust.

Fischer produces several quotes from historians and students of the Nazi movement to support him. It seems to me that he pulls these quotes right out of their context and uses them to paint an incomplete picture of history.

Hitler’s sexuality has been examined from several different angles. He is an enigma for sure, but you wouldn’t know it by listening to Fischer who called Hitler “an active homosexual.” In the historical record it is clear that Hitler displayed some interest in certain women but this was glossed over by Fischer. Even if Hitler did have a homosexual period –this is by no means proven — there was a clear shift in attitude toward homosexuals after the murder of Ernst Rohm. It is accurate to say that Rohm and several of the SA Brownshirts were homosexual. Hitler tolerated them until they were no longer useful and had them executed in 1934 during the Night of the Long Knive purge. The man who led the execution of Rohm and who later had responsibility for instilling the uncompromising cruelty of the concentration camps at Dachau and later as general inspector of all camps was Theodore Eicke. Eicke, not mentioned in Scott Lively’s book, was married with two children; very straight and very savage.

What follows are just a sampling of quotes which are relevant to Fischer’s theories.

Hitler avoided contact with women, meeting with cold indifference during visits to the opera alleged attempts by young women, probably seeing him as something of an oddity, to flirt or tease him. He was repelled by homosexuality. He refrained from masturbation. Prostitution horrified but fascinated him. He associated it with venereal disease, which petrified him. (p. 23)

–Ian Kershaw in Hitler: A Biography (2008). WW Norton & Co. 

“Diels says of Hitler, “He [Hitler] lectured me on the role of homosexuality in history and politics. It had destroyed ancient Greece he said. Once rife, it extended its contagious effects like an ineluctable law of nature to the best and most manly of characters, elimination from the reproductive process those very men on whose offspring a nation depended. The immediate result of the vice, however, was that unnatural passion swiftly became dominant in public affairs if it were allowed to spread unchecked”. (p.118) (Rudolf Diels was the first chief of the Gestapo)

–Frank Rector. (1981). The Nazi Extermination of Homosexuals.  Stein & Day Publishing. 

Hitler was prudish in his abhorrence of the “sins” of the modern big city like prostitution, homosexuality, and even immodest dress. He wrote of these matters as the “political, ethical and moral contamination of the people” and the “poisoning of the health of the body politic.” (p. 336)

–Robert Gellately (2007). Lenin, Stalin and Hitler: The Age of Social Catastrophe. Random House.  

In November, 1941 Hitler even signed a decree making homosexual offenses among SS members and policemen a capital offense. Two months earlier, Hitler had explained to Goebbels the Darwinian underpinnings of his opposition to homosexuality. After remarking that homosexuality should not be tolerated, especially in the Nazi party and the Army, Hitler continued:

The homosexual is always disposed to drive the selection of men toward the criminal or at least the sickly than the useful in the selection of men. If one would give him free rein, the state would eventually be an organization of homosexuality, but not an organization of manly selection. A real man would defend himself against this endeavor, because he sees it as an assassination of his own evolutionary possibilities. (p. 131)

Hitler’s Ethic: The Nazi Pursuit of Evolutionary Progress  (2009). Richard Weikart. Palgrave MacMillan.

There are many more such quotes and accounts which demonstrate the clear distain for homosexuality from Hitler and the Nazis. Last week, I noted that Lothar Machtan, who Bryan Fischer quotes at length, discounted points 2 and 3 above. For more on homosexuality and the Nazis, consult this link and this one.

Policy statement: Exodus International opposes criminalization of homosexuality

Today, Exodus International issued a policy statement regarding the criminalization of homosexuality.

Criminalization of Homosexuality

Exodus International opposes the criminalization of homosexual behavior as conducted by consensual adults in private. We strongly oppose the imprisonment, mistreatment, or death of homosexual men and women on the basis of their perceived or known sexual orientation. These actions breed cultural violence and institutionalized shame, neither of which reflect God’s redemptive heart.

In the blog post, Alan Chambers also expressed regret for the delayed response to information he received about the Ugandan ex-gay conference as well as the potential fall out.

That said, and without a wordy explanation or excuse, this public post is way overdue and I sincerely hope it clears up any speculation about how I really feel about gay and lesbian people, Ugandan or otherwise, the criminalization of homosexuality, Exodus’s connection to the now infamous Ugandan conference where Exodus board member, Don Schmierer spoke, and most importantly the grace of God.

First things first, I was personally lax in investigating thoroughly the pre-conference intelligence that was coming in from Timothy Kincaid, David Roberts and Warren Throckmorton, to name a few.  My initial belief was that their major concern was over Caleb Lee Brundidge’s association with Richard Cohen.  Again, no excuses, I was negligent in digging deeper and heeding their warnings.  While I did share my concerns with Don Schmierer prior to the event, he was on the ground in Uganda and I saw this as an issue that didn’t warrant him canceling his appearance there—after all, in my mind, Don was simply sharing his normal talk on parenting.  I do realize that his mere presence there, even as a private citizen, did give the appearance that Exodus was endorsing the conference and eventually the horrific political position that was fueled by that event.

I appreciate this acknowledgement. Alan is correct that some of the initial concern related to the involvement of Brundidge but as he says here, it was much deeper. The events in Uganda, played out over the last 16 months, have required U.S. Christians to rethink their stance toward homosexuals. As Alan’s remarks indicate, it is now necessary to articulate one’s position on criminalization. The Uganda situation unearthed a division among social conservatives about the law and homosexuality. Just yesterday, one of the voices of the American Family Association, Bryan Fischer, again said that he favors a return to laws penalizing homosexual conduct.  The Ugandan initiative has touched many American evangelicals in a way that few issues have, forcing many ministries and leaders to choose sides. While I personally had little doubt that the policy of Exodus was to oppose criminalization, today’s announcement makes that clear. I applaud them.

Bryan Fischer and the Nazis: This is what I meant by vilification

On Monday, I wrote about the corrosive effect of the culture war on the real business of Christianity. In that post, I wrote

On the other hand, my great concern is that culture warring lulls people into feeling that that the cause justifies the considerable offense that comes with vilifying those the church yearns to reach.

As if to volunteer to be Exhibit A, Bryan Fischer helps define “vilifying” for us. On his American Family Radio program this week, Fischer, who erroneously believes the New Testament teaches criminalization of homosexuality) made the tired and discredited link between homosexuality and the WWII Nazis. He did not do this as an attempt at a lesson in history but as a part of his opposition to gays serving openly in the military. He did not simply comment on his moral opposition to homosexuality, teaching his view of the matter from the Bible. He vilified an entire group of people based on distortions of fact and the behavior of a few. Listen for yourself, transcript to follow:

So Hitler himself was an active homosexual. And some people wonder, didn’t the Germans, didn’t the Nazis, persecute homosexuals? And it is true they did; they persecuted effeminate homosexuals. But Hitler recruited around him homosexuals to make up his Stormtroopers, they were his enforcers, they were his thugs. And Hitler discovered that he could not get straight soldiers to be savage and brutal and vicious enough to carry out his orders, but that homosexual solders basically had no limits and the savagery and brutality they were willing to inflict on whomever Hitler sent them after. So he surrounded himself, virtually all of the Stormtroopers, the Brownshirts, were male homosexuals.

When Fischer says that Hitler could not find straights to be savage enough, he goes beyond even Scott Lively’s imagination. This is one clear example of what I meant by vilifying.

He followed up his radio performance with a column defending his views by quoting books by Lothar Machtan and of course, Scott Lively. Machtan speculates that Hitler was homosexual, although other historians have explored this possibility and most of them are skeptical. I explored the matter in this post and you can get a more objective look at the matter via the documentary Men, Heroes and Gay Nazis. I have a clip here dealing with Machtan’s book on the question of Hitler’s sexuality:

Note that the historians other than Machtan point out that there is no proof, no eye witness account. When Fischer confidently says that Hitler was an active homosexual, he misleads his numerically substantial audience. And he does so make a far more sinister point which he makes explicit in a column out today. In that article, he extensively quotes Lively’s book The Pink Swastika and echoes Lively when he writes:

Homosexuality gave us Adolph Hitler, and homosexuals in the military gave us the Brown Shirts, the Nazi war machine and six million dead Jews.

Regarding the specific claims of the Pink Swastika, I did a series of posts with the help of historian J.D. Wyneken. We found that The Pink Swastika took some historical facts, threw in a lot of wild speculation and simply overlooked disconfirming facts to create a false picture – one which Bryan Fischer summarized over this last week to support his culture war position.

Here are related posts in that series:

May 28 – Scott Lively wants off SPLC hate group list

May 31 – Eliminating homosexuality: Modern Uganda and Nazi Germany

June 3 – Before The Pink Swastika

June 4 – Kevin Abrams: The other side of The Pink Swastika

June 8 – A historian’s analysis of The Pink Swastika, part 1

June 9 – A historian’s analysis of The Pink Swastika, part 2

June 11 – American Nazi movement and homosexuality: How pink is their swastika?

June 15 – Nazi movement rallies against gays in Springfield, MO (See this one regarding Fischer’s association of American Nazis with homosexuality)

June 17 – Does homosexuality lead to fascism?

June 23 – The Pink Swastika and Friedrich Nietzsche

June 29 – The Pink Swastika and The Hidden Holocaust?

July 6 – The Pink Swastika and Hate 2 Hope (See this one regarding Fischer’s association of American Nazis with homosexuality)

Factoid: Fischer is a confirmed speaker at the Values Voter Summit.

Uganda criminalization debate comes to the USA

I suppose it was bound to happen. The Uganda Anti-Homosexuality Bill has brought out some of the schisms among social conservatives over homosexuality. Christianity Today notes just two examples: Peter Sprigg’s comment on Chris Matthews and Bryan Fischer’s misuse of I Timothy 1.

On Tuesday, MSNBC’s Chris Matthews interviewed Peter Sprigg of the Family Research Council about the U.S. military’s “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy (DADT). Sprigg, FRC’s senior fellow for policy studies, said he would support banning all gays or lesbians from serving in the military. At the end of the discussion, Matthews asked Sprigg his view of homosexuality in civilian life:

MATTHEWS: Do you think we should outlaw gay behavior?

SPRIGG: Well, I think it’s certainly defensible.

MATTHEWS: I’m just asking you, should we outlaw gay behavior?

SPRIGG: I think that the Supreme Court decision in Lawrence v. Texas, which overturned the sodomy laws in this country, was wrongly decided. I think there would be a place for criminal sanctions against homosexual behavior.

MATTHEWS: So we should outlaw gay behavior.

SPRIGG: Yes.

And then:

Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association agreed with Sprigg. Citing policies and findings of the Federal Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control, Fischer concluded that homosexual behavior should be criminalized because it “represents an enormous threat to public health.”

“It’s a simple matter of common sense, sound public policy, and a concern for public health. … Whatever we think we should do to curtail injection drug use are the same sorts of things we should pursue to curtail homosexual conduct,” said Fischer, AFA’s director of issue analysis.

Fischer further justified his view by claiming that 1 Timothy 1:8-11 says “those ‘who practice homosexuality’ should come under the purview of the law just as much as those who take people captive in order to sell them into slavery.”

I addressed Fischer’s misuse of I Timothy 1 last Sunday.

One contributor to the mischief is Mr. Fischer’s misreading of the word law in I Timothy. Paul is writing Timothy to warn him about false teachers who want the Mosaic law applied to the followers of Jesus. Elsewhere Paul taught that the law was a “schoolmaster” which demonstrated the need for the good news of the gospel of redemption by belief in Christ. Mr. Fischer needs to spend some quality time reading Galatians chapters 1-4.

Paul is giving Timothy religious instructions and not saying that the civil law is given to prosecute various actions at odds with Christian teaching.

Fischer has a new column out titled, “If homosexuality were against the law.” He is not even concerned that such a law would be practically unenforceable. In his opinion, just having a statute on the books would prevent gay marriage, school based gay clubs, and gays in the military. How?

This list could actually be extended, but you get the point. Laws not only curb dangerous and risky behavior, they keep such behavior from being normalized, sanctioned and endorsed by the rest of society, and as such render an enormous benefit to a healthy culture.

Laws exist in Mr. Fischer’s view to enforce a moral view on the rest of society. Even if the law is a sham, it acts like moral code imposed by the state. 

And every student of history knows how well that has worked.

When laws are made but ignored the effect has been to disrespect law and resent the formality and residual control over personal conscience. Prohibition comes to mind as an example of the unintended consequences of using law to coerce conscience and behavior. As Fischer notes, sodomy was widely illegal until 2003, but with none of the effects he proposes.

Other social conservatives are encouraging the Ugandan supporters of harsher criminalization. Cliff Kincaid says Ugandan Parliamentary Research Service staffer Charles Tuhaise is concerned about why more conservatives here are not supporting the Anti-Homosexuality Bill.

A leading pro-family activist in Uganda says that Christians in that East African country need help resisting the schemes of the international homosexual lobby. Charles Tuhaise tells AIM that he is also disturbed by the general silence of conservatives in the U.S. to stand up for Uganda and its emerging Christian culture. 

The issue is consideration of a piece of legislation to discourage homosexual practices in Uganda.

“Many Ugandans are shocked at the reaction to this bill and the extent to which homosexual activists can intimidate everyone to silence,” Tuhaise said. “This is a bill written to control a problem that has largely gotten out of hand in western society and is now spreading tentacles worldwide. Perhaps Uganda has helped to highlight the danger that the homosexual movement poses to the world.”

I have exchanged numerous emails with Mr. Tuhaise. In them, he asserts that homosexuality can be spread though social acceptance. We have had civil dialogue about the research and science surrounding sexual orientation. Thus, I was surprised to read this statement he made to Accuracy in Media’s Cliff Kincaid:

“I am a Ugandan and I’m writing to thank you for your bravery,” Tuhaise said in his message to AIM. “The articles you’ve written in support of the right of Ugandans to exercise self-determination on the issue of homosexuality have thrown fresh light on the American scene [and show] that not every American is scared of the loud-mouthed homosexual lobby.”

He added, “Please continue to help Uganda by educating Americans about the bill and countering the lies. The American people should wake up and reclaim America from a dangerous subculture that is destroying their children and youth under the guise of liberty and human rights.”

Mr. Tuhaise surely knows that my opposition has nothing to do with the homosexual lobby, loud mouthed or not. He also knows that I am not spreading lies about the bill by simply printing the contents of it and letting people read it for themselves. He, himself, recently confirmed the purpose of the bill in an email to me:

…you have read the Bill and know that its object is to outlaw all same-sex sexual conduct. The question of “consenting adults” therefore does not arise. All same-sex sexual conduct is proscribed under the Bill.

Those who are supporting this position are, whether they realize it or not, advocating for the position that homosexuals are not competent to consent to private behavior. The bill, as written, makes giving such consent an illegal act. Furthermore, the bill, as currently written, makes any same-sex conduct among people with HIV, whether consensual or not, punishable by death.

Inexplicably, Tuhaise continues to say conservative opponents here have made critical statements of the bill without checking it. Not so of this conservative and I am confident Rick Warren read the bill before he wrote about it. If you are reading this and don’t know what to believe, go read the document.