Bryan Fischer Blames Air Force Academy Scandals on Christian Watchdog Group and Calls for Its Leader’s “Removal”

Fisher DeBerry (below) was the head football coach at the U.S. Air Force Academy until his retirement in 2006, but his tenure didn’t come without controversy. In 2004, after pressure from Mikey Weinstein of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, DeBerry was forced to remove a banner hanging in the locker room which read, “I am a Christian first and last … I am a member of Team Jesus Christ.”

Now that there are reports of the football players (among others at the AFA) taking alcohol, doing drugs, and cheating, Religious Right mouthpiece Bryan Fischer knows exactly where to place the blame:

When the light of the world is removed, the world — including the locker rooms of football teams — is plunged into moral and spiritual darkness.

Bottom line: there is a solution to the Air Force Academy’s problems. Remove the cause — Mikey Weinstein and his atheistic trouble-making — and find another coach like Fisher DeBerry and turn him loose to bring the spirit of Christ back to the Academy.

I can flat out guarantee you that rapes will diminish, drug use will diminish, and cheating on tests will diminish. And the Academy will regain some of its lost luster. Your move, Air Force.

As usual, Fischer is full of shit. It’s not just his opinions that are messed up; it’s his facts.

Weinstein didn’t cause any problems; DeBerry brought those on himself.

MRFF never sued DeBerry. They only sued the school.

Weinstein isn’t an atheist. He’s an Agnostic.

And we know putting up religious banners in the locker room won’t do anything to fix the problems; just look at all the sexual abuse scandals taking place in Christian colleges right now if you need evidence of that.

I spoke with Weinstein over the phone this afternoon to ask what he thought of Fischer’s accusation. He told me that if we followed Fischer’s advice, it would take the AFA back to the hellish times of 2004, when you couldn’t get away from all the proselytizing. Weinstein even compared it to somebody in Biloxi, Mississippi suggesting we go back to the time of Hurricane Katrina, adding:

We currently have 387 clients at the AFA… Of them, 312 are practicing Protestants or Roman Catholics. When I see this type of blame here, I sit back in astonishment.

(In fact, of the more than 38,000 MRFF “clients,” 96% of them are Protestants or Roman Catholics. When MRFF files a lawsuit, it’s usually because a Christian was complaining, not an atheist.)

What’s especially troubling to Weinstein is Fischer’s solution: “Remove the cause — Mikey Weinstein and his atheistic trouble-making.” Remove the cause. It’s a not-so-subtle threat against Weinstein, who already receives death threats on a regular basis and usually travels with a bodyguard.

There’s also another reason Fischer’s statements are disturbing, said Weinstein. They suggest that, without “Fischer-DeBerry Christianity” pushed on everyone, people are going to rape and pillage and use drugs and assault people. Weinstein said those comments were as offensive as saying (and I’m paraphrasing here) “without white people guiding them, black people can’t survive. Or without straight people leading the way, gay people can’t survive. Or without men watching out for them, women can’t survive.” MRFF never took anything away from the AFA. If those awful things are happening at the Academy now, the MRFF isn’t to blame. (Hell, they were going on long before the MRFF asked for the Christian banner to be taken down.)

Weinstein called it (again, I’m paraphrasing) the most wretched, appalling, and hideous attempt at unbridled, free-range, old-school bigotry and prejudice that he’s encountered in his many years of being a public figure and civil rights activist. He also said that it showed the “true reason MRFF fights these fundamentalist Christian monsters who spiritually rape helpless and defenseless military subordinates.”

MRFF is currently considering filing a defamation suit against Fischer.

(Image via Wikipedia)

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.


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