Bryan Fischer and the Cultural Unity of the United States

As noted on Wednesday, American Family Association spokesman Bryan Fischer said recently that European immigrants have been a benefit to the nation because they share “our values.” However, Hispanics are problematic because they are by nature socialists, and because they do not demonstrate the “Protestant work ethic.”

Fischer declared his stereotypes in the context of criticizing Sean Hannity and Charles Krauthammer over what Fischer believes is capitulation to calls within the Republican party to support some form of amnesty for illegal immigrants. However, in opposing the policy of amnesty, Fischer gave the world a look into his thinking about Hispanics and non-protestants. Largely ignored by Republican and evangelical leaders, Fischer’s stance has been lauded by at least one white nationalist group – the Virginia Dare Foundation.

The VDARE Foundation runs a website which is a one-stop shopping opportunity for those who want to know how white nationalists think (e.g., read this piece on the virtues of white nationalism). Last night, VDARE’s Allan Wall blasted Hannity for his evolution to amnesty, but then he held up Fischer for praise:

Here though is another talk show host who isn’t promoting amnesty. It’s Bryan Fischer , Director of Issue Analysis of the AFA, the American Family Association. The AFA is a conservative values Christian organization. Unlike Focus on the Family, AFA has not jumped on the amnesty bandwagon. In a recent discussion of the “Hispanic vote”, Fischer spoke forcefully against Hispandering.

Wall then cited Fischer’s offensive views on race and immigration.

Last night’s post was not the first time VDARE admired Fischer’s work. Back in 2008, when Fischer ran the Idaho Values Alliance, he opposed the establishment of a Mexican consulate in Idaho. At the time, Allan Wall wrote approvingly of Fischer’s claims of doom if the Mexican consulate was located in Boise. In a 2008 op-ed, Fischer exposed his concerns about the consulate. Note that he isn’t just worried about “the rule of law”:

All Idahoans who care about the rule of law and the preservation of the cultural unity of the United States have valid reasons for concern as the Mexican government proceeds with its plan to open a Mexican consulate in the state capitol. (emphasis added)

Just what is the “cultural unity of the United States?” Isn’t this just another way of saying white Protestant? As white nationalist Jared Taylor pointed out on the VDARE website, coded language is necessary to avoid sounding racist. Taylor wrote:

As for point 1, there would be no disagreement from the 60 to 80 percent of Americans who want less immigration, including me. Stopping mass immigration should be the number one priority for American whites.

Nevertheless, Mr. Sailer is probably right to argue that an open appeal to the interests of whites may not be the most successful way to sell immigration control. His point 2 is correct: White consciousness has been so thoroughly demonized that although whites do not want to live with blacks or Mexicans, they dare not admit it in public. No congressman would say we must guard the border because whites have the right to a country in which they are the majority.

Of course, there are plenty of good ways to oppose immigration and not sound “racist”The country is crowded; we already import too much oil; immigrants commit crime, push down wages, burdenschools, spread disease, go on welfare refuse to learn English, gather in indigestible clumps, etc. etc.

Or one could say that one wants to preserve the “cultural unity of the United States” or that Hispanics are by nature socialists and plunderers, or that only European Protestants are honest, hard workers.  Whatever code words are used, the message is clear.

Evangelicals and other conservatives who want to be taken seriously in the immigration debates need to recognize that words have power. It remains to be seen whether or not Catholic and Protestant leaders will stand clearly and forcefully again blatant stereotyping and xenophobia at the American Family Association.

Apparently, Fischer is glad VDARE cited him favorably:

  • Rick L.

    Can we trade Fischer to Mexico? I’d accept 50 to 1. Hell, I’d go 5,000 to 1 with no takesies backsies.

  • Patrocles

    This side was once interesting as an exchange of arguments. But there’s not much of an argument here. Dr. Throckmorton obviously disapproves with what Fischer or Wall or Taylor are saying, but we don’t know why. As for their assertions, he doesn’t deny or debate their truth. As for the underlying moral ideas, he doesn’t show in which way his own ideas differ and why his own ideas are better.

    I may point out that Fischer, Wall and Taylor represent the tradition of Eisenhower Republicanism (you remember Operation Wetback?), and if Eisenhower Republicanism isn’t good enough for Dr. Throckmorton, then he’s gone much more to the far left than he admitted (to himself?)

  • http://randythomas.co Randy

    I read the “About” VDARE page and … they don’t make any sense. Have no desire to ready any of the rest.

    That said, my personal opinion is that Bryan Fischer is a culture war shock jock who needs a great big “Ignore” banner running across his videos.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton Warren

    Randy – If Fischer were fringe then I would agree. However, he is not. He has the ear of a significant portion of evangelicalism and the GOP. From that perspective he is an incendiary figure in a culture war that has the country divided into hostile camps. He also has an audience of millions who are not shocked by his schtick.

  • Richard Willmer

    @ Pat

    It’s pretty obvious, isn’t it? Fischer’s subtext appears to be racist, and Warren thinks that NOT being racist is a better idea. Any further explanation needed?

  • Dan

    I’ll say it again: the AFA enjoys revenue of $20 million/year. Fischer’s program and others on AFA Radio are heard by millions. GOP candidates for Presient of the United States of America have appeared on AFA Radio. This isn’t the fringe of Christianity. This is Christianity.

    By stark contrast, Throckmorton and his quaint website are virtually unknown, and he has no following within Christendom, his wife and a handful of students excepted. In American Christianity, Throckmorton is the fringe actor.

    Evangelical Christianity does not have a Bryan Fischer problem because Bryan Fischer represents what Evangelical Christians believe. Warren Throckmorton has a Bryan Fischer problem, but his is an isolated, irrelevant voice in that regard.

    BTW, you all should check out Fischer’s latest video, in which he affirms that the 9/11 terrorists, who murdered 3,000 people in less than 2 hours, were “agents of God’s wrath” and that the terrorist attack had an upside, because people sing about God at baseball games now. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KLwpPldFgBQ&feature=g-user-u

  • Richard Willmer

    Even if you, Dan, are correct about evangelical Christianity (which I don’t think you are – in US business terms, $20 million is not such a vast amount), you forget that there are other ‘branches’ of Christianity to consider.

    The problem, as a number of us have said before, is that it is the ‘fischists’ who seem to be best at making themselves heard.

    (I’m sure that if the AFA had existed in AD 30, it would have been highly critical of Jesus on the grounds of the company he kept. As for his mother thirty years earlier … well, who knows what it would have made of that?!)

  • Wonko the Sane

    “Just what is the “cultural unity of the United States?” Isn’t this just another way of saying white Protestant? As white nationalist Jared Taylor pointed out on the VDARE website, coded language is necessary to avoid sounding racist. ”

    This is Lee Atwater’s “Southern Strategy” at it’s most hateful. I have lived with this undercurrent of white resentment for most of my life. It has always been this way in the south and will continue.

    Most Americans have no experience being the object of racial attention where you readily stand out because of your race and percieved nationality.

    Until they live amongst millions of “others” in a foreign land can they understand what it means to objectified, isolated, even vilified simply because of race. Then add nationality on top of that due to your heritage. Being identified as an American is a double edged sword; at the same time you are admired and hated but always the object of curiosity. And then YOU become the defacto prima facie example of all Americans until YOU interact in order to disspell the evil and live the better nature of our inner angels.

    As an American (of any race) you are all that is good and bad in America in the eyes and minds of your foreign hosts.

  • Patrocles

    Richard,

    if “racist” means “I prefer to live with my own kin”

    - then what’s bad about it?

    Why is it worse than “I prefer to mate with my own sex”?

    In my eyes: everyone who allows the one should also allow the other.

  • http://www.comingout4christians.net Dave

    @ Dan .. Fischer .. Scott Lively and company are only known in certain circles. There are plenty of Christians who don’t know them at all. There are others that might .. incredibly briefly .. read something from the AFA .. *not* critically analyze it at all .. and consider it a verification of their already held opinion regarding a certain political position … all the while never knowing of Bryan Fischer. What is visible to the public regarding Christianity is often unknown by Christians or is simply ignored by them if they do not embrace the view.

    Dave

  • ken

    Patrocles says:

    November 17, 2012 at 4:47 am

    “Dr. Throckmorton obviously disapproves with what Fischer or Wall or Taylor are saying, but we don’t know why.”

    Because what they are saying is ignorant, racist nonsense that doesn’t represent the christian values that Warren (and many other christians and evangelicals) believe. You seem to be the only person here not capable of recognizing that.

  • Richard Willmer

    @ Pat

    Your latest comment is one of the silliest things I’ve seen for a long time!

    Let’s leave aside your ‘definition’ of racism (at least for now). We can come back to it if you wish.

    There’s no parallel between sexual attraction (of any kind) and a chosen attitude and/or word(s)/action(s) pursuant to that attitude (e.g. sexism or racism). Men who are attracted to other men often enjoy very good, and respectful, relations with women. And since when have gay Americans suggest that straight Americans are, by virtue of the fact that they are straight, not ‘worthy’ of being US citizens/residents?

    Come on, Pat, old chap – if you’re going to say something, at least say something sensible!

  • Richard Willmer
  • ken

    Patrocles says:

    November 18, 2012 at 6:13 am

    “if “racist” means “I prefer to live with my own kin”

    - then what’s bad about it?”

    Except “racist” doesn’t mean anything close to that. Nor is Fischer claiming he “prefers to live with is own kin”. the racist aspects of Fischer’s diatribe are far worse than that.

  • Richard Willmer

    @ ken

    Indeed. (I was going to keep that one for later, but you’ve essentially ‘made my pitch’ there.)

    I live in perhaps the most cosmopolitan city in the world; my block (with 17 apartments) houses folk from at least 8 different ethnic groups: I love it. But even if I didn’t, that wouldn’t per se make me a racist.

  • Dan

    @Willmer:

    “in US business terms, $20 million is not such a vast amount), ”

    Uh, huh. It is also small in comparison the cost of waging WWII. But so what? We aren’t comparing AFA’s budget to that of a corporation; we are comparing it to other Christian outlets. And by that measure it is big. It is the budget of a huge megachurch. It is more money than is generated by the most prestigious theological seminaries. And it surely is more than anything any “liberal” Christian church can muster. AFA probably spends more on lawn care than what Tony Campolo brings in annually.

    Of course, if you need even larger numbers to be convinced that American Christianity is off the rails, you have only to look at the financials of Pat Robertson’s CBN. On the air for 51 years, every bit as nutty as Fischer, and terribly popular with Christians, who watch and fund it.

  • ken

    Dan says:

    November 20, 2012 at 3:51 am

    “We aren’t comparing AFA’s budget to that of a corporation; we are comparing it to other Christian outlets. And by that measure it is big. ”

    And how does the AFA budget compare to the catholic church? or the Southern Baptist league? The mormon church? or as you pointed out the mega churches (of which there are many). $20 million is a lot of money, but not when compared to the total amount generated by all religious organizations in the US.

    And while they AFA does have a large faithful following, it does not represent the majority of christians in the US. and I suspect more americans know who Brian Adams is than who know who Bryan Fischer is.

  • Richard Willmer

    @ Dan

    Yo musy admit, you do have a bit of a ‘beef’ with Christianity generally.

    Try not to make generalizations about Christians (or gays, or Ugandans, or Brits, or …).

  • Patrocles

    As a Christian, I can afford to be generous. I can grant all men and women to form their own associations along their own criteria, be it unity of culture or unity of descent. And I can grant them to live separately and independently in their own settlements or homelands.

    In fact, anabaptist Christians have always tried to lead that way of life themselves. Which made them, on the long run, an “extremely extended, partially inbred, family” (that’s the Steve Sailer definition of “race”, mostly used at Vdare).

    And they had nothing of the disrespect or aggressiveness Richard Willmer identifies as “racist”. In fact, history shows that racists can be quite nice to other races if they don’t feel threatend or endangered because the others impose on them. (Prudently, or luckily, anabaptists avoided attracting masses of foreigners.)

    Which leads to my “cetero censeo”: A culture war isn’t overcome by policing speech or shunning “bad people” and “bad websites”, but by creating security for people who feel endangered.

  • Patrocles

    oops – should of course have been my “ceterum censeo”. So sorry!

  • Patrocles

    Even now I don’t know why ever Dr. Throckmorton disapproves with Fischer’s strife for cultural unity.

    Does he think that cultural unity is impossible (by definition? or under modern conditions?) Or unnecessary? Or immoral? Or that it’s a thing which is already existing or develops naturally so that it’s superfluous to strive for it?

    That’s why I said that “he doesn’t show in which way his own ideas differ and why his own ideas are better”.

  • Richard Willmer

    We’re not talking about Anabaptists, Pat; we’re talking about Fischer’s stereotyping of Hispanics.

  • Richard Willmer

    Look, Pat, let me just ‘set out a stall’ here.

    Today is, for us Catholic Christians, the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Universal King. On a personal note: I have six godchildren drawn from five different ethnic groups. This is a wonderful privilege that, in its way, speaks to me of the Eternal and Universal Kingdom, the Kingship of Christ we are celebrating especially today. In the words of the Missal this is to be “a kingdom of truth and life; a kingdom of holiness and grace; a kingdom of justice, love and peace.”

    I see simply no shred of truth, life, holiness, grace, justice, love and peace in the stereotypical utterances of Fischer, the vicious impulses of Bahati, or the smears and snarking of Lively. Now, I’m far from perfect myself, but I’ll be damned if I don’t actually oppose with all non-violent and truthful means at my disposal the ‘deeds of darkness’ to which I have just alluded. I, and many others, are fed up to the back teeth with that kind of nonsense and it is high time we came out and said so.

    That “kingdom of truth, life, holiness …” will never be ushered in through a narrow-minded ‘ghetto’ mentality. The Ark was thousands of years ago; God does things differently these days! (Actually, he always ‘did things differently’ – it’s just that the writers of those early bible stories were not fully aware of that. But we’ve seen The Person who is the Human Face of God, and we should know better.)

    End of homily!

    P.S. I can see that you, Pat, were a little ‘stung’ by my calling your “being gay = being racist” jibe ‘silly’. But you have to admit, it was a cheap shot, unworthy of serious consideration. It was indeed ‘silly’.

  • Richard Willmer

    Looks like Fischer is now supporting increased gay-bashing: http://thenewcivilrightsmovement.com/american-family-association-leader-praises-uganda-anti-homosexuality-law/news/2012/11/25/54563

    (And it seems he’s got his facts wrong – surprise, surprise!)

  • Patrocles

    Richard,

    but I do consider the parallel seriously!

    You see, one of my interests is the comparative study of associations. For example, catholic associations here in Germany developed mostly around 1900, until there was a whole bunch of different associations (sports, drama, homes for seniors, social support and counseling etc.). In the same way, gays organized their own associations after 1970, and it’s interesting to see how far both groups go parallel and how far they differ.

    In the same way ethnical minorities tend to form their own associations (e.g. the Polish in Prussia before WWI). It seems to be mostly a matter of social groups who feel alienated from the ruling elites. That’s why I suppose that there’s a potential for “white” associations (the “majority minority”) in the future, and territorial secession is indeed debated already. (Gays, of course, as they don’t inbreed, can’t become a race and won’t long for an own territory. With catholics, it’s more complicated – the Irish/English opposition is partly a religious opposition and partly an opposition between genetical groups/extended families)

    That only in order to explain why I’m thinking how I’m thinking.


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