Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association is mad. Really, really mad. Ever since Monday when Gov. Rick Perry announced he would team with Fischer's hate group for an all-day Christian prayer event in Houston, many, including the gang  here at TFN Insider, have pointed out just a few of the numerous odious things Fischer has said and the causes AFA has supported through the years. Fischer took to his radio show Thursday to basically say, "I didn't say all of those truly terrible things! I said these truly terrible things."…… Read More

Texas Gov. Rick Perry's decision to host a Christians-only prayer event with a vicious hate group is beyond appalling. The governor and his staff claim that the August 6 event in Houston is meant to bring the nation together in prayer. But how is that remotely possible when the event is designed to promote a conservative evangelical Christianity (a perspective certainly not shared by all Christians) and the governor has asked the American Family Association to organize it? In fact, the Southern Poverty Law Center has identified the AFA as a hate group on par with Fred "God Hates Fags" Phelps' Westboro Baptist Church, the Ku Klux Klan and Aryan Nations. Instead of uniting people of faith in prayer for our nation, this event will actually sharpen divisions among Americans along religious and political lines. So it's time for Texans, regardless of faith and political perspective, to stand up for decency, respect and tolerance. Sign on to an open letter that calls on Gov. Perry "to make this gathering open to speakers and attendees of all faiths and welcoming of people of good will who are not affiliated with a faith tradition." Moreover, the…… Read More

The Southern Poverty Law Center has identified the fringe-right American Family Association as a hate group, but that didn’t stop politicians from flocking to AFA’s religious-right confab in Iowa this weekend. Yesterday, for example, maybe-presidential candidate Newt Gingrich spoke at the event, and he praised another speaker we’re all familiar with: phony historian David Barton, who says separation of church and state is a myth and has flirted with white supremacist groups. Mother Jones quotes Gingrich:

“I never listen to David Barton without learning a whole lot of new things. It’s amazing how much he knows and how consistently he applies that knowledge.”

And what did Gingrich learn during Barton’s speech at the event? Well, Jesus hates taxes — progressive income taxes, estate taxes, even the capital gains tax:

“Jesus has two entire teachings on the capital gains tax.”

Seriously, David? Oh, and Barton says Jesus doesn’t like the minimum wage either. One might be excused for wondering which Holy Book Barton is sourcing on all this: the Bible or the Republican Party platform?

“Real simple stuff,” Barton says during his speech. Yeah, very simple: Barton is aRead More

In his 2008 book, On My Honor: Why the American Values of the Boy Scouts Are Worth Fighting For, Texas Gov. Rick Perry criticizes the American Civil Liberties Union for supposedly engaging in a "war on Christmas" by forcing schools to remove references to Christmas in holiday programs and decorations. Last year one of Gov. Perry's loudest supporters, Liberty Institute -- Texas affiliate of Focus on the Family -- absurdly claimed that curriculum writers were trying to keep public school students from learning about Christmas in their social studies classrooms, shrieking: "Merry Christmas: Don't be afraid to say it!" But maybe Liberty Institute should have a chat with Gov. Perry and find out whether he's "afraid to say it." As in the past, Gov. Perry's holiday card to thousands of his closest friends doesn't say a word about Christmas. Click on the picture for the full version. Read More

Sarah Posner writes about the American Family Association, one of the oldest, most influential and most radical of the nation’s religious-right organizations. Founded in 1977 in Mississippi by Don Wildmon, over the years the organization has become increasingly hateful and intolerant — toward non-Christians, political opponents, minorities and even AFA’s own employees, apparently. Excerpt:

“(W)hile the AFA has long been known for its invective against the ‘homosexual agenda’ and its boycotts of companies that fail to meet its standards of ‘decency,’ [Bryan] Fischer—no policy wonk, despite being director of ‘Issue Analysis for Government and Public Policy’—has taken the public rhetoric to a new, ugly level.

According to former employees of the AFA, the views represented by Fischer are not only tolerated within the organization, but any opposition to its anti-gay, anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant invective—including reliance on white nativist sources in the AFA’s media programs—is dismissed. What’s worse, former employees say, anyone questioning such attitudes as un-Christian is denigrated, and in some cases forced out.”

Check out Posner’s insightful examination of an organization that has been at the heart of the religious-right movement for more than three decades.… Read More