Friday, July 11, 2014

Inside the American Family Association, an anti-gay hate group

Bryan Fischer of the AFA
Anna Wolfe of the Jackson Free Press has written a very good article on the anti-gay group, The American Family Association. While not "hard-hitting," one could hardly call her article one that panders to the group. In her own style, Wolfe shows how disturbingly vast the AFA empire is (over $20 million a year), how it wages war on lgbts and businesses who support lgbts, and how potentially disconcerting AFA spokesman Bryan Fischer is even to his co-workers:

Fischer, AFA's director of issue analysis for government and public policy, stands by the accusation that local businesses who display the anti-discrimination stickers are bullying Christians. "Apparently, you have a little bit of difficulty grasping the concept that this is what the gay lobby is really all about," Fischer says in a matter-of-fact tone. Fischer speaks with a deep, kind of gargled voice and, sitting at the Jackson Free Press with the receiver to my ear, I can picture his sagged, slightly artificially tanned-looking face. (Maybe it's just the contrast to his bright white hair). His condescension in speaking to a young female reporter is emblematic of AFA's overall tone and image toward anyone the group feels is standing in its way of promoting biblical ideals through condemnation of the LGBT community. This isn't just how AFA officers speak with reporters, but through its press releases and all communication with the

 . . . Fischer, nonetheless, said in an AFA blog post that when it comes to discrimination, "[I]t's time for conservatives to unhesitatingly reclaim the "D" word, dust it off, and use it without apology. A rational culture that cares about its people will in fact discriminate against adultery, pedophilia, rape, bestiality, and, yes, homosexual behavior."

 . . . Fischer admits that religious conscience is personal and depends entirely on individual experience, saying, "His conscience and his standards may be different than the baker down the street."

That is certainly true for Mitchell Moore, the owner of Jackson's Campbell's Bakery. He is a heterosexual, a Christian and a Republican who does not consider same-sex marriage offensive to his religious beliefs.

In May, AFA publicly attacked a campaign Moore helped start in Jackson in opposition to SB 2681. The campaign urged business owners to post stickers reading "If You're Buying, We're Selling" in their windows to ensure customers know they will not discriminate, drawing national attention and requests for stickers from around the country.

In response to the effort, Fischer tells me that gay activists, whom he assumes are responsible for the stickers, are the "most intolerant bullies and bigots on the block."

Since the religious-freedom bill received flack just as the failed Arizona RFRA did, Mississippi business owners including Moore and Eddie Outlaw of William Wallace Salon—both occasional Jackson Free Press columnists—started the sticker campaign to demonstrate their and other businesses' aim to serve everybody. (Outlaw is gay and married his husband, Justin, in California last year.)

The AFA is unhappy about that, saying the campaign illustrates the "homosexual agenda" the AFA is hell-bent on destroying. It sent out alerts to supporters, claiming that the campaign displays hatred toward Christians, despite the fact that Moore is a straight, Christian conservative.

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