New ark to be built: Grizzlies & other bad animals excluded

I guess I shouldn’t be surprised by this WHAT? report:

AFA to rebuild Noah’s Ark; Grizzlies, other bad animals excluded

Tupelo, MS – The American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer today announced that he is going to rebuild Noah’s Ark. Citing media reports of animal attacks on humans, he says only the good animals will be allowed.

“We are going to break this curse on the land and only take in the animals which do not attack people,” said Fischer. “For instance, everyone knows that grizzly bears kill people, but did you know that over 300 people were killed by dogs over the past 20 years!? I don’t care what Noah did, there will be no dogs on Noah 2.”

Fischer added that to take the place of real animals, he would be taking stuffed dogs, bears, lions, tigers, and alligators killed by the other passengers.

The Tennessee house fire: The tales of Good and Bad Samaritans

According to this AP report, Gene and Paulette Cranick forgot to pay their $75 fire protection fee and the local fire department let their house burn to the ground.

Paulette Cranick said they had paid the fee in the past, although sometimes late, but it slipped their mind this year.

I have forgotten my yearly car registration before and paid extra for my attention deficit. I have forgotten other things too, but right now I forget what they were. So I can believe the Cranicks forgot to pay the fee.

I have a harder time believing the justifications for failing to extinguish the blaze. Some say the Cranicks didn’t pay the fee so they should accept the consequences. If you do the crime, you have to do the time, the thinking goes. Something just seems wrong about that. At risk of age stereotyping, I will bring in the fact that the Cranicks are in their upper 60s and certain memory functions show some wear and tear years before that time of life. For instance, some days, I have trouble remembering what I had for lunch. I can only imagine trying to remember if I paid a yearly bill for something as basic as fire protection.

So I would have been willing to cut them some slack and put out the fire, perhaps charging them for the real costs of the trip. Their animals might have been saved and the local authorities would have been reimbursed for their actual costs.

However, other people are not buying it. Bryan Fischer at the American Family Association brought religion into the situation by writing two columns saying Jesus would have let the house burn down. I doubt that, but thinking about Jesus reminded me of the parable of the Good Samaritan. Then I thought that the story might have gone a little differently if Bryan Fischer had been telling the tale. First, the real thing from Luke 25-37.

25On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

 26“What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”

 27He answered: ” ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'”

 28“You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”

 29But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

 30In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. 31A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, took him to an inn and took care of him. 35The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’

 36“Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”

 37The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”  Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”

Now, let me break in where the Samaritan finds the hapless fellow on the side of the road and suggest how it might have gone with Fischer’s “muscular Christianity.”

33But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he called out to him,

“Are you ok?” The Samaritan replied

The man replied, “No, I have been badly hurt by the attack of the robbers.”

Sizing up the situation, the Samaritan man asked “Have you paid your taxes?”

“What?” The wounded man groaned.

“Have you paid your taxes? You know, the ones which help pay for police protection and rescue services?” The Samaritan demanded.

“No, sir, I forgot to pay them. I paid them last year but forgot to pay them this year,” the man whispered, his breathing labored.

“I see. Well, that is too bad. In that case, my advice to you is to man up and accept the situation.” And the Samaritan man went on his way.

And everybody marveled and scratched their head at his teachings.

Which Samaritan was the neighbor?

Bryan Fischer blacked out; Update – Now just fired up

UPDATE: Too good to be true, he’s back.

His blog has been blacked out that is. Here is what you see when go there now:

If you highlight the letters, however, you can read the words. Here is one of his latest commending firemen for letting a house burn to the ground over a fee.

Other blogs on the site are not blacked out, like this one where Buster (!) Wilson complains about Richard Land defending Muslims’ right to build a mosque. Imagine that, Richard Land going liberal. Where are the virtual black Sharpies when you need one?

I noticed this earlier in the week, when I went to read the defense of the Bad Samaritans, and the column seemed to be gone. But I checked it out more closely after reading this Christianity Today column by Tobin Grant.

Maybe after awhile, a secret code will be require to read the meanderings of Mr. Fischer. For now, the view looks good to me.

Ann Coulter sorta hearts gays, Bryan Fischer strangely hearts Ann Coulter

Bryan Fischer really wants to love Ann Coulter, even though she took a speaking engagement with the dreaded GOProud. He is even willing to forgive, now that it is over.

I did say that Ann might surprise us all and take the homosexuals straight on, but guessed that a desire not to upset her hosts, who surely paid a princessly sum to entice her into speaking and appearing on all their promotional posters, would likely prevent her from getting up in their business.

Well, I was wrong.

Ann took them straight on and gave them some straight talk I doubt they were ready for. There is no amount of sugar that will help this medicine go down.

Fischer read this write up of the event in Politico and got all misty:

And Ann, all is forgiven. Humble pie has never tasted so sweet. You are no longer the “Joan of Arc of homosexuality,” as I described you last month, you are now Daniella of the Lion’s Den. Good on ya, lass.

Not sure what he was eating in that humble pie. Coulter never met a group she couldn’t insult so her comments seem in character and her take on it seemed different than Fischer’s.

As for Coulter, she told POLITICO the embrace of gays on the right could only be reciprocated.

“Right wingers have always liked gays. Look at all of Ronald Reagan’s gay friends,” she said, proceeding to cite an unverified rumor dating back half a century: “Look at my personal hero Joe McCarthy and his” – airquotes – “special assistant.”

Some right wingers like gays so much they take them on trips to lift their luggage, although I am not sure that is what Coulter meant. Mr. Fischer on the other hand might need a new column to deal with Daniella of the Lions Den’s fondness for gays. 

UPDATE: Well perhaps Ann didn’t heart the GOProud crowd quite as much as Politico made it seem. Here is another view via RightWingWatch, from another attendee.

UPDATE: Or maybe she did a little more than the attendee above experienced. Read this conservative gay man’s take on the situation. The gay marriage argument was a very un-Fischer type argument, according to Alex Knepper at Frum Forum:

You conservative gays don’t actually care about this activist crap like marriage, or serving in the military. Ultimately, what you really want is some sort of assurance that Americans are accepting of gays, not marriage itself. Gay marriage initiatives don’t fail because Americans hate gay people; they fail because marriage is fundamentally about rearing children. Most Americans love gay people; they just don’t want that institution extended.

I’ll let conservative gays respond to that but it is probably not enough to let Ann keep her Warrior Princess badge.

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 too far right for the AFA?

I wondered if this might happen. The AFA now issues a disclaimer that Bryan Fischer’s views are his and not theirs.

This information comes via Right Wing Watch:

And now Fischer’s blog posts on the AFA website, like this new one calling the Cordoba House the “Timothy McVeigh Mosque at Ground Zero,” are carrying this disclaimer:

Unless otherwise noted, the opinions expressed are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the views of the American Family Association or American Family Radio.

Last year, the AFA lured Fischer away from the Idaho Values Alliance, named him director of Issue Analysis for Government and Public Policy and gave him a two hour daily program on its radio network … but now wants to claim that he in no way represents the views of the organization?

Please. 

But it is quite remarkable that Fischer has become so radical that his own employer is now distancing itself from him. 

Remarkable indeed.

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.

Lothar Machtan comments on Hitler’s sexuality and the Holocaust

Over the last week or so, Bryan Fischer made a series of claims regarding homosexuality and the Holocaust. He summarized his arguments in an article on the RenewAmerica website:

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

In making his case, he relies heavily on two books: The Hidden Hitler by Lothar Machtan and The Pink Swastika by Scott Lively. Last summer, I did a series of posts critiquing The Pink Swastika. This morning I had a brief email exchange with Lothar Machtan regarding Fischer’s central thesis.  His current schedule did not allow an extensive interview at this time, but he did react to Fischer’s claim.

In the Hidden Hitler, Dr. Machtan argues largely from circumstances, inference and second hand accounts that Hitler was a homosexual. He is in the minority in his view but he presents an account that is important to consider.

Everything about Hitler is historically interesting and relevant. If Hitler was same-sex attracted, it would be of interest to students of history in the same way that historians have examined the imperial heterosexuality of Mao Zedong. Machtan told me that Hitler’s (alleged) homosexuality influenced his political career up to about 1934-35. However, he said in clear terms that Hitler’s cruelty was not due to his sexuality, saying, “Hitler’s atrocities primarily do NOT derive from his homosexuality.” Regarding the Holocaust, Machtan added, “Of course you CANNOT blame Hitler’s homosexuality for the Holocaust.” (Machtan supplied the emphasis)

I am about half way through The Hidden Hitler and am reserving my opinion until I complete it and perhaps until after I am able to interview Machtan. However, as I suspected, Machtan does not advance the simplistic causal links advanced by Mr. Fischer in the service of the culture war.

See my prior post relating to Bryan Fischer’s claims.