You may remember the trip organized in January by the American Family Association (AFA) and agreed to by the Republican National Committee (RNC), for all 168 members of the RNC to visit Israel free of charge.
The problem is that the American Family Association is a hate group, a fact which, highlighted by People for the American Way (PFAW), Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) and Anti-Defamation League (ADL), put the RNC in a delicate position.
Eager to dissociate themselves from the author of so much of that hate, the AFA “fired” their spokesman and Director of Issue Analysis, Bryan Fischer, well-known for hate-filled screeds, directed not only at Muslims, but gays, atheists and other minorities.
(PFAW’s press release details some of Fischer’s extremist statements, for example that Gay sex is “Domestic Terrorism. I Don’t Know What Else You’d Call It.”[9/15/10] and All new immigrants must “convert to Christianity” or “stay home.” [4/8/11].)
Chairman of the RNC, Reince Priebus, for his part, did not take the Israel trip, but 60 others did, despite calls by the ADL, PFAW and the SPLC to reconsider (see SPLC letter pdf), and the official position of the RNC suddenly became that the trip didn’t exist. They refused to talk about it.
People For the American Way has now released a new ad “calling out Republicans for standing with the hate group AFA:
Today, People For the American Way released a new ad challenging members of the Republican National Committee (RNC) for accepting an all-expense paid trip to Israel from the American Family Association (AFA). The ad calls on the RNC to stand against the AFA’s hateful rhetoric about Jewish Americans, LGBT individuals, and many other people in our country.
“The hate of the American Family Association is rampant, from calling ‘Jewish atheists’ some of the ‘worst enemies of the country’ to claiming that gay people caused the Holocaust,” said Michael Keegan, President of People For the American Way. “We deserve to know why Republicans continue to stand with this hate group after years of offensive statements by their leaders. By failing to speak up against the AFA, Republican leaders are showing their acceptance of hateful rhetoric in their party.”
Here is the problem: nothing has changed. The AFA hasn’t changed the beliefs it spouted through the mouth of Bryan Fischer. Fischer was fired as Director of Issue Analysis, but he is still employed by the AFA and the AFA still contends that Jews lack First Amendment rights.
And as PFAW’s Right Wing Watch has pointed out, the AFA cannot so easily wash its hands of Fischer’s bigotry by stripping him of his title. After all, Fischer may have been flapping his lips but it is Christian Nationalist David Lane who is behind the trip to Israel, not Fischer.
Lane, head of the so-called American Renewal Project, and the man behind Bobby Jindal’s prayer rally, calls the U.S. Constitution “the wrong train”. The Constitution is, needless to say, the document that establishes the United States as a modern liberal democracy.
Lane, like Fischer, insists that,
- America was founded by Christians for the glory of God and the Christian faith
- We were established as a Christian nation in the name of God and for the advancement of the Christian faith
By their close association with the AFA, the RNC is endorsing these extreme views – that Jews and others aren’t really Americans – a fact which must come home to roost during the 2016 elections. It is too late for them to reconsider their actions; it is not too late to make them pay for them.
The Republican National Committee and the Republican Party bare responsibility – and after all, aren’t they the ones always preaching personal responsibility? – for their association with hate groups like the AFA, which demonize so many Americans.
This trip was no accident, and “firing” Fischer and Priebus staying home on some contrivance don’t excuse the RNCs close association with the American Family Association.
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.