One of the reasons I find Bryan Fischer so endlessly entertaining is how easily he contradicts himself in the most obvious way. He either lacks self-awareness on a truly historical level or he is absolutely shameless in his lies. Case in point: What does the First Amendment mean? Here’s what he thinks it means today:
Readers are by now familiar with Aaron and Melissa Klein, who were fined $135,000 by a bureaucrat (no trial by jury, no judge, no right to confront accusers in open court, etc.) for politely declining to violate their own Christian conscience in the conduct of their business.
To add constitutional insult to constitutional injury, this bureaucrat slapped a gag order on the Kleins so they are not allowed even to talk to anybody about this travesty. Their right to the free exercise of religion, gone. Their right to free speech, gone. Their right to free association, gone.
In other words, this bureaucrat just issued a binding decree that the First Amendment applies to everybody in America except Christians. Christians, according to this man, have no First Amendment rights of any kind.
But here’s what he has said it meant 10 months ago, and many many times before that:
Whenever someone alleges an Establishment Clause violation, Fischer jumps up and down and screams “Violating the First Amendment is something only Congress can do!” But when a Christian (and only a Christian, as I’ll get to in a moment) alleges a violation of the Free Exercise Clause, then the First Amendment has been violated even if it doesn’t involve Congress at all.
Here then is a brief and concise summary of what the Founders meant by the First Amendment. And by the way, since it has never been amended, not even by the 14th Amendment (a subject for another day), it means the same thing today as it meant on September 17, 1787.
First, the amendment applies only to Congress. “Congress shall make no law…” No other entity is restrained by the First Amendment. Since the amendment applies only to Congress, it is legally, historically and constitutionally impossible for a state, a county commission, a city council, a school board, a school principal, a school teacher or a student to violate the First Amendment. This is for one simple reason: none of them is Congress. Violating the First Amendment is something only Congress can do.
But there’s a second level of irony to this. He says that the bakery ruling in Oregon means that “Christians…have no First Amendment rights of any kind.” But in fact, the only one taking a position even remotely close to this is…Bryan Fischer! In that same article in which he said that only Congress can violate the First Amendment, he also says:
By “religion,” it is clear that the Founders meant only the various denominational expressions of Christianity. The Founders were dealing exclusively with Christianity in the First Amendment.
He has said this same thing many times before. He believes that Christianity is the only religion to whom the First Amendment applies, that all other religions are merely tolerated by Christians out of their Jesus-installed magnanimity, a toleration that can be withdrawn any time they like. He has repeatedly claimed that Muslims have no right to worship in this country, that we should shut down their mosques and deport them. So his position is clearly hypocritical on both levels.