My recent guest on Dogma Debate #271 began garnering national attention after he was hired by the American
Family Association, which the Southern Poverty Law Center listed as
an anti-gay hate group in 2010. Now, he’s the Host of Focal Point on American Family Radio, and essentially, my exact polar opposite.
Yes, I’m talking about my conversation with Bryan Fischer.
Right off the top, I admitted that having a live radio microphone in my face over the years has resulted in me having to make a few apologies, and change my opinions. Then I asked him “Have you ever regretted something you’ve said on air, or ever corrected anything and admitted you were wrong about it?
Surprisingly, his answer was “No.” Not in 7 years of radio broadcasting.
Aside from the occasional 10% or 10-point statistical error, Bryan Fischer has never before made the type of mistake which caused him to change his position on a topic.
Let me give you a little secret about Bryan Fischer. He’s usually right.
If you’re against him, and you fact-check him looking for lies, you may find yourself disappointed.
But keep digging.
He often quotes health statistics from the CDC regarding health hazards for gay men, and unfortunately, his stats are normally correct. But for all the wrong reasons.
He’s a master at quoting a statistic, usually from a credible source, and doing so in a way that proves at least a portion of his point.
For example, Fischer often uses the term ‘gay disease’ to refer to HIV/AIDS, and then says “even gay activists use that word, so it’s not my term.”
Well, he’s right.
Todd Heywood, a reporter for LGBT news writes:
“As gay and bisexual men were dropping dead in the mid-1980s, political strategists realized they had to make a choice. Acknowledge that the epidemic was disproportionately impacting gay and bisexual men — a despised minority in the U.S. — or reposition the epidemic as a threat to every American.
But Heywood titled his article: LISTEN: HIV Is Still a Gay Disease.
So, American Family Association and other groups can now float the quote-mined term around recklessly if they so choose, taking no responsibility for it’s creation.
That’s the way it works.
Fischer said he fights so vehemently against “the homosexual agenda” because it is the “single biggest threat to religious freedom.”
Of course, I pushed back. Asking for details.
He cited an Oregon lawsuit which left a bakery, owned by Aaron & Melissa Klein, out of business, losing $135,000 in what he called “fines for their religious freedom” because they refused to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding.
Yes, they paid $135,000, but not for “being Christian” or “exercising their beliefs.” It was for violating the law. They can still go to church. They can still misunderstand homosexuality and think it’s a “sinful choice.”
As one YouTube commenter noted on the Klein’s heartfelt video, (as Mrs. Klein weeps in sadness that her bigotry resulted in the loss of her business): “No, business owners don’t have freedom of association as business owners. In order to obtain permits and licenses to operate their businesses, they voluntarily subject some of their rights to the requirements of the issuing city or county. They still have freedom of association in their private affairs, but their business affairs are by definition, not private.”
Shockingly factual and absent of vulgarities, for YouTube, I know.
So that’s the point we want to drive home. Fairness. Equality. Inclusion.
But Fischer continues to drive home the point that he’s “helping” the LGBT community by “warning them” of the dangers of their “life-style.”
As I tried to get through to him, HIV/AIDS rates are down by 19% over the last decade, and that very likely has to do with the growing acceptance of the LGBT community in our society.
Want to know who else is disproportionately effected by HIV/AIDS? Black males and Catholic Priests. What do they have in common?
Very strict religious cultures which forbid sexual contact, or homosexuality—both fueled by religion.
Therefore, they tend to hide, sneak, and get it when and where they can. And that usually means not stopping to be very safe.
I pleaded with Fischer, that if he really loves the LGBT community as he claims “all Christians should,” he would embrace them, and help them become aware of the dangers of HIV/AIDS, and the importance of practicing safe sex. Not condemn them and shame them for being who they are.
In a bizarre moment from the upside down world, he said to me “I believe I love gays more than you do, David. I want to help them become who they really are.”
No, you want them to become who you think they ought to be.
The show was filled with moments like that.
We even argued over the First Amendment, and how he believes ‘religion’ is only meant to protect Christianity. I did my best to systematically prove that to be false.
It was an uphill battle, and I hope to have more with him. He even sent me a text after the show, and we discussed him having me as a guest on Focal Point. I would gladly accept the offer.
For any gay, bi, lesbian, trans, or questioning people who are struggling with depression or feeling unwanted, please reach out to the Trevor Project at http://www.thetrevorproject.org. They can even help you over chat if you’re more comfortable in that setting.
You’re not alone. You’re not sick. And you’re not broken.
We love you just the way you are, not the way we think you ought to be.