I thought I’d haul out my old “friend” Bryan Fischer for ridicule today. It has been awhile. And every now and then Fischer says something so truly atrocious that I have just have to give him a metaphorical slap-down. Nobody deserves it more. The Northeast may be being buried by snow, but the whole world is being buried by Fischer’s masturbatory excretions.
Speaking as a Heathen for a moment, Fischer is what we call a nithing. No other single word describes him better. If you wonder what a nithing is, a nithing (ON niðingr) is a villain, scoundrel, coward, vile wretch. A nithing could also be a truce-breaker or a traitor. A niðing deed (niðingsverk) is an ill deed, or villainy. A person guilty of this sort of behavior was held in contempt and could be outlawed, or even killed.
Here’s the deal: Right Wing Watch reports that, “A pastor from a conservative Lutheran church in Connecticut has been reprimanded by his synod for participating in the interfaith memorial service following the Sandy Hook massacre that featured President Obama because his participation gave the impression that worship among various faiths was acceptable.”
Oh dear. Remember when they used to (still do) say this about mixing skin colors? Yeah….well, anyway, Bigoted Bryan was sporting wood on the synod’s behalf because Christians should not be “yoked with unbelievers” or be forced to attend “prayers and worship to counterfeit gods.” It’s perfectly alright, on the other hand, to force non-Christians to worship the Christian God.
Watch what the Bigot King has to say, courtesy of Right Wing Watch:
Counterfeit gods, he says! How about counterfeit humanity? Has Fischer forgotten that this is 21st century America and not Bronze Age Israel? The very idea of America is that we are all equal before the law, including religions; that however different we might be individually, we are all in this together.
Let me say, on Fischer’s behalf, that he is being true to a long Christian tradition of believing that even having “tolerate the continued existence of pagans and heretics” was a form of persecution (Michael Gaddis, There is No Crime for Those Who Have Christ, 2006). Fischer is not just pulling these ideas out of his ass, even if they smell that way. No, this is a crap sandwich of ancient standing.
But this is the 21st century. He is not to be forgiven for refusing to update his thinking.
According to the Oxford English Dictionary (Shorter OED, 3rd ed, 1959) the meaning of nithing is “A vile coward; an abject wretch; a villain of the lowest type”. Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913) offers this definition “A coward; a dastard; — a term of utmost opprobrium.” My slightly more recent Webster’s New Twentieth Century Dictionary (2nd ed. 1979), a nithing is a ciked man, “a coward, a dastard; a poltroon.” A poltroon, of course, is a coward.
All or any of these terms are appropriate when talking about Bryan Fischer. This is one director of issues analysis who has issues. And really, nobody better represents the goals and aspirations of the American Thuggery…er, um, I mean, “Family” Association.
The word nið could be applied to those who failed to provide hospitality; it is also used in the Icelandic sagas to describe libel, such as in a libelous verse written about another. Such an act could have dire consequences, as in the fate of the hapless Galti:
Brand…slew Galti the son of Ottar at the Hunavatn’s Thing on account of a libelous rhyme by Hallfled. (Landnamabók (3: IV)
In our culture, you can’t simply cut, or gun someone down for saying something, unless you are a Republican and/or a member of the NRA (and then you blame it on welfare mothers). You are left to eviscerate them metaphorically.
Just let me point out here that though Bryan Fischer claims President Obama “is filled with arrogance, he is filled with pride, he is filled with hubris” and believes that he knows better than God, which is “the height of arrogance, it is the height of conceit, it is the height of pride,” it is not President Obama who has convinced himself he is enacting not his own will, but God’s.
No, that man would be Bryan Fischer.
The pastor in question, Rev. Rob Morris, meanwhile, has apologized – or rather equivocated - saying by way of an open letter:
“I believed my participation to be, not an act of joint worship, but an act of community chaplaincy.”
“To those who believe that I have endorsed false teaching, I assure you that was not my intent, and I give you my unreserved apologies.”
Do not worry that I am going to break into verse to diminish Bryan Fischer’s reputation. I think Bryan Fischer has handled that well enough on his own. His niðingsverk speaks for itself. I’ll just keep putting it in context.
Hrafnkell Haraldsson, a social liberal with leanings toward centrist politics has degrees in history and philosophy. His interests include, besides history and philosophy, human rights issues, freedom of choice, religion, and the precarious dichotomy of freedom of speech and intolerance. He brings a slightly different perspective to his writing, being that he is neither a follower of an Abrahamic faith nor an atheist but a polytheist, a modern-day Heathen who follows the customs and traditions of his Norse ancestors. He maintains his own blog, A Heathen’s Day, which deals with Heathen and Pagan matters, and Mos Maiorum Foundation www.mosmaiorum.org, dedicated to ethnic religion. He has also contributed to NewsJunkiePost, GodsOwnParty and Pagan+Politics.