Fischer’s Bizarre Argument Against Bilingualism

Bryan Fischer, like most self-proclaimed uber-patriots, doesn’t like the idea of anyone speaking any language other than English. On his radio show last week he made the truly inane argument that those who are bilingual are making America no longer “one nation, under God.”

“I believe God’s judgement is beginning to settle in on this land in the form of linguistic isolation,” he said on his show. “If you’re gonna carry out any kind of project together, you’ve got to speak the same language. Otherwise you can’t communicate. You can’t even examine the same set of plans. You can’t even evaluate a mission statement unless you’re talking the same language.”

Fischer was upset over a report saying that more than 50 percent of Los Angeles residents between the ages of 18 and 34 speak a language other than English in their homes while speaking English outside of it.

“You know what this means, ladies and gentlemen — we are losing the ability to talk to each other,” Fischer complained. “We’re losing the ability to communicate with each other. And this means that we’re on the road to no longer being one nation under God, indivisible. No longer one nation, no longer indivisible, and in many ways no longer under God.”

But the report was not about people not being able to speak English, it was about people who speak English and their native language. Seems to me that boosts our “ability to communicate with one another” because it allows them to translate between the two languages. This is just basic xenophobia, wrapped up in a really weak argument.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • marcus

    Bryan Fischer is Babel-ing again. Film at 11.

  • http://www.holytape.etsy.com holytape

    I am so glad that he is a live and let live kind of conservative.

  • shouldbeworking

    Even I know what happened the last time everyone (allegedly) all spoke the same language.

  • Chiroptera

    I’m guessing what’s pissing Fischer off so much is that with so many people speaking different languages, we won’t be able to get together and build that tower to heaven that he’s been looking forward to.

  • Mr Ed

    There was this guy once a long time ago who spoke Aramaic, used Hebrew when praying and maybe spoke a little Greek too. And we all know how badly that worked out.

    /Romani ite domum

  • Reginald Selkirk

    Someone needs to start a movement to bring back e pluribus unum.

  • slc1

    Re Mr. Ed @ #5

    That gentleman is a textbook example of the old saw that one who acts as his own lawyer has a fool for a client.

  • peterh

    Whereas just about every well-educated European can speak 2-3-4 languages (many of them even more). Fischer seems to seek out ways to demonstrate the stupid.

  • flatlander100

    We have but one hope, Ed: Congress must mandate full immersion instruction in Aramaic — god’s language — in every school, in the land.

  • Pierce R. Butler

    Note that if those people don’t pray in English, Fischer’s god won’t understand them.

    Also – Headline: three words too long.

  • John Pieret

    we are losing the ability to talk to each other

    When was the last time, Bryan, you ever tried to talk to anyone who didn’t speak Fundie Merkin? What would you say to all those people who you claim are demon possessed, commie, Nazi, out-to-destroy-America people that would be remotely intelligible to them or most Americans?

  • Larry

    I get the idea that when Fischer travels to a foreign country, he yells at people in order to help them understand English.

  • birgerjohansson

    “You can’t even examine the same set of plans. ”

    people in Louisiana will be surprised to learn that they are supposed to be totally disabled because some of them speak French.

    — — — —

    “Whereas just about every well-educated European can speak 2-3-4 languages”

    I am content to speak Swedish and English, plus a lot of swear-words from Finland.

    The Finns have a marvellous imagination for inventing @£$€{ and £+*.

  • ffakr

    There’s been some research indicating that bilingualism stimulates the brain and can delay the onset of conditions like dementia.

    I’m shocked to hear Fischer only speaks english.

  • tfkreference

    One day while driving to work, I heard a news story about how a lot of immigrants aren’t learning English, but their children are. Later that day, I stopped at a grocery store and when I went to check out with just a couple of items, the woman ahead of me spoke to her son in Spanish, and then he turned to me and said, “she says you can go ahead of us.”

    When I was his age, I didn’t even know how to use pig Latin.

  • http://umlud.blogspot.com umlud

    “You know what this means, ladies and gentlemen — we are losing the ability to talk to each other … We’re losing the ability to communicate with each other. And this means that we’re on the road to no longer being one nation under God, indivisible…”

    Strange, but I seem to recall that the Bible said that God split the nations of men and made it so they couldn’t speak to each other specifically because all the races of man had the ability to communicate with each other. Where was it? Oh, yeah, in Genesis (you know, right in the beginning of his holy book):

    But the Lord came down to see the city and the tower which the sons of men had built. And the Lord said, “Indeed the people are one and they all have one language, and this is what they begin to do; now nothing that they propose to do will be withheld from them. Come, let Us go down and there confuse their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech.” So the Lord scattered them abroad from there over the face of all the earth, and they ceased building the city.

    Indeed, it seems to me that if Fischer wants the United States to really be part of the Lord’s plan, he should be against bilingualism because it INCREASES people’s ability to speak with each other, and not because it diminishes it. Yeah, that argument is just as insane an argument to make, but at least it would be an argument that would be backed up by the just-so stories and fairy tales that are in that “holy book” of his.

  • http://denkeensechtna.blogspot.com Deen

    Yes, just like Fischer’s ancestors. Clearly they never learned English after they came to the US, which is why Fischer still only speaks German. Oh, wait.

  • whheydt

    Odds are pretty god that “speaking another language” is a dog-whistle for “native speakers of Spanish.”

    I wonder how he’d’ve reacted to my mother’s parents. They spoke Danish at home because the didn’t want their kids to learn what they felt was poor English. The “kids” in question were born between 1910 and 1914, with a late addition in 1921. Both of those grandparents came from Denmark to the US around 1906-1907.

    I would hazard a guess that a great-grandfather of mine who, so far as we can tell, was a draft dodger from the Franco-Prussian War of 1870 might well have spoken German at home. His eldest son (not my grandfather) went on the become private secretary to John D. Rockefeller, Jr.

  • magistramarla

    When we traveled in Greece, hubby and I found that we could read signs and communicate a bit thanks to our college ancient Greek. The Greeks laughed and answered us in perfect English. I watched the street vendors try to determine the languages of passers-by and then conduct conversations in whichever language their prospective customer chose. They seemed to be fairly fluent in Spanish, French, German, Italian and English, and those were just the ones that I could recognize.

    We’re traveling in Europe right now – I’m resting in a lovely Italian inn right now. Hubby and I have been able to use our knowledge of Latin to help us to puzzle out French and Italian and we even had some fun puzzling out German while we were there. Most of the hotel staff and waiters that we have encountered speak at least some English, so we’ve had a lot of fun asking them how to say words in their languages. Italian is quite logical to us thanks to Latin.

    My daughter-in-law is from Mexico, and she was concerned about herself and her mother speaking Spanish to my grandson, fearing that it might confuse him. I told her that it will make him much smarter to learn two languages at once. The little guy is almost two, and knows which language to use for which grandma. I’m Gaga, and Marianne is Ab-ab (for Abuella). He loves basketball and knows how to sink the ball in his toy hoop. One evening he grabbed the phone from my son and said “Gaga! Mira!” and proceeded to sink the ball, thinking that we were on Skype. I love it that he can go easily between two languages.

    I think that the conservatives don’t want Americans to learn other languages because then it would be more difficult to “otherize” brown people. The more that people learn about other languages and cultures, the more they can sympathize with other people, making the conservatives’ job harder.

  • theguy

    “we are losing the ability to talk to each other,”

    The only language for Adolf Fischsticks is God’s own dog whistle, batshit-insane drooling babbling about “sodomy-based marriage”

    “No longer one nation, no longer indivisible, and in many ways no longer under God.”

    We never were “one nation under God” unless you’re referring to the Confederacy. And, it’s wingnuts who’ve divided this country by attacking gay people, people on assistance, immigrants, non-Christians, people living in coastal cities, etc.

  • corporal klinger

    @#19 magistramarla

    I grew up as a son of spanish immigrants in Germany. My parents made it a strict rule that at home we would talk exclusively Spanish, reasoning that my brother and I would pick up German easily in pre-school, school and with our friends. They were not only right about that, but (I think) they enabled my brain to learn later in live with not much effort to speak, write and read English and French, too.

    So, thank you Mum and Dad and thanks to my teachers, you have opened the world for me.

  • blf

    There’s a lovely young couple from Mexico who run a Mexican restaurant in the French village I live in. Both of them can switch between Spanish, French, and English (albeit the gentleman’s English is not quite flawless), and I’m fairly certain I’ve heard the lady speak something else (which I couldn’t identify).

    Most of my colleagues at work, almost all of whom are French, also speak English, ranging from flawlessly to so-so.

    My German teacher was fluent in English, German, Spanish, Italian, French, and something else I don’t recall now (Swedish?), and trying to learn both Russian and Mandarin at the same time.

  • felidae

    Old joke: What do you call someone who speaks three languages–trilingual, two–bilingual, one–American

  • shadow

    @14 ffakr:

    I’m shocked to hear Fischer only speaks english.

    To paraphrase Corbin Dallas “I only speak two languages: English and Bad fundie english.”

  • shay

    “Odds are pretty god that “speaking another language” is a dog-whistle for “native speakers of Spanish.”

    Odds are you’re right.

  • https://www.facebook.com/Destinationbxdv Rajib Da

    Hello! Thank you for your article. I’d like to try to compare it to my previous experience of learning Russian on Skype free. I did around 10 conversations over Skype with a native speaker from http://preply.com/en/russian-by-skype. And I was pretty satisfied with their Quality. I think they have a strong teaching quality, following their course curriculum now I can speak Russian like a native they also provide Private Tuition, but I Want to try another option.

  • anubisprime

    Short version of Bryan’s problem…

    “To dumb to speak another language, to stupid to learn”

  • Kermit Sansoo

    umlud says; Strange, but I seem to recall that the Bible said that God split the nations of men and made it so they couldn’t speak to each other specifically because all the races of man had the ability to communicate with each other.

    .

    Nope. He split them up because they had the temerity to think that a tower they built could take them to Heaven. It occurred to me as a kid that this was a metaphor for thinking that a human-built structure (i.e., a specific church, i.e. a specific denomination) inevitably (God having done something in a myth is a stand-in for this is the way things are) led to;

    1. Those folks not reaching Heaven (i.e. a sufficiently exalted state of grace, whatever that is), and

    2. Folks who spoke all those languages (different religious paths) couldn’t speak to each other.

    .

    And yes, it’s also a just-so story for all those simple-minded and concrete-thinking folks, like the Southern Baptists who raised me. They, BTW, didn’t like my explanation for this at all. They always shied away from its implications, and stopped me before I finished by getting angry and stomping off, or threatening me. But they never seem consciously aware of what they’re doing – rather like cock roaches scurrying away from the light.

  • Kermit Sansoo

    anubisprime says: “To dumb to speak another language, to stupid to learn”

    .

    I don’t think we Yankees are too dumb; we’re too lazy. Perfectly average people learn two or more languages, but it’s an achievement nonetheless. Until very recently, people used to build their own houses. A smart person might be faster or more efficient or innovative, but ordinary folks did it, too. But it takes a lot of work.