Here’s the latest suggestion from Bryan Fischer, the omni-bigot who made hate-mongering remarks about the Indigenous Peoples of Turtle Island, African Americans, Muslims, gays, grizzly bears and Mormons: The government should use health care reform to mandate that everyone attend church and to impose a tax those who don’t.
Fischer, the director of the American Family Association (AFA) and an icon (no pun intended) of the Christian right, laid out his plan for improved health through enforced church attendance on his Focal Point radio talk show July 5. Inspired by a listener’s comment, Fischer noted that he often speaks on his program about how “people who have an active, vibrant spiritual life are healthier.” Then he makes a leap – not a leap of faith, a leap of logic. It goes like this: Because having an active and vibrant spiritual life is good for people’s health, the government ought to force people to go to church or pay the consequences – a special “atheists’ tax.”
Fischer: Mandate That Everyone Attend Church And Tax Those Who Don’t
“We oughta have an individual mandate from the government that everybody has to go to church because after all Obamacare is all about improving the health of the American people,” Fischer says, taking a jab at the Affordable Care Act. “We know that going to church is good for you, it’s good for your health so we are going to mandate that you go to church for your own health and we are going to tax the atheists who don’t go to church. Now we can’t make you go to church but we’re going to penalize you if you don’t. We’re gonna assess a tax on every atheist that doesn’t go to church because those atheists are endangering their physical health.”
Although Fischer was perhaps attempting to be facetious, the implication that people who don’t go to church are atheists disregards the millions of people who may find spiritual nourishment at sacred sites, mosques, synagogues, temples or any other place of worship, including the original – awe-inspiring nature.
Fischer is most notoriously known in Indian country for warning the people of America that President Obama “wants to give the entire land mass of the United States of America back to the Indians. He wants Indian tribes to be our new overlords.” But it was Fischer’s article “Native Americans Morally Disqualified Themselves from the Land” published last year that raised the most hackles for its blatant racism against the Indigenous Peoples of Turtle Island. The article was removed from the AFA website but is archived as Text of Fischer’s Racist Screed on Newspaper Rock. In it, Fischer claims that “the superstition, savagery and sexual immorality of native (sic) Americans” made them “morally disqualified from sovereign control of American soil.” And more.
The AFA, which is Fischer’s main venue for disseminating his hate speech, promotes Bible-based, right wing conservative fundamentalist Christianity. According to its website, AFA is one of the largest and most effective “pro-family” organizations in the country with over two million online supporters and approximately 180,000 paid subscribers to the AFA Journal, the “ministry's” monthly magazine. In addition, AFA owns and operates nearly 200 radio stations across the country under the American Family Radio (AFR) banner.
Fischer’s latest rant was picked up by Right Wing Watch, a nonprofit organization that monitors and reports on the activities of right-wing political organizations, in order to “expose the risks that their extreme and intolerant agendas present to our country.” While it may be easy to dismiss Fischer as a voluble hate-monger or a far right wingnut, he has gained enough traction to warrant a profile in last month’s New Yorker where staff writer Jane Mayer describes Fischer’s success in pushing his far-right and anti-gay agenda on the Mitt Romney campaign for president and the Republican Party. "He wants to shape the policy of the Republican Party because he hopes to change America," Mayer writes. "He's evangelizing to make America more in line with his biblical views. On his own, he probably defines such far out views that there's a tendency to dismiss him. But what makes Bryan Fischer worth paying some attention to is that he's part of a larger group — a bloc of voters, the evangelical white voters — who have become a very well-organized and very significant part of the Republican Party at this point."