Monday, June 1, 2009

Bryan Calls it Quits!

In breaking news, Bryan Fischer has revealed that he is no longer committed to making Idaho the friendliest place in the world to raise a family. He has announced his intention to leave Idaho to take up talk-radio in Tupelo, Mississippi. Sadly, without the ex-Pastor Fischer’s guidance, Idaho can now only hope, at best, to be the second friendliest place in the world.

In a heartfelt explanation of his decision to abandon his Idaho donor base, Bryan explains that ‘All people, whether they admit it or recognize it or not, have an ethical worldview which, if extended far enough, eventually intersects with America's public life. It is that intersection - the place where a Judeo-Christian worldview intersects with America's public life - that fascinates and energizes me. It is that intersection I will have the privilege of exploring two hours a day with our listening and viewing audience.’

How odd that Bryan's obsession with 'intersections' would prove so divisive.

While we’re thrilled this day has arrived, we can’t help but feel pain for the good people of Tupelo, and for those unfortunate enough to stumble upon Bryan’s radio show, as all will now be subject to a steady deluge of his bullshit.

We fundamentally believe that Bryan’s brand of religious intolerance is one we must strive to live without. It’s the type of fanaticism that claimed lives and destroyed families in the Salem Witch Trials of the late-17th Century, and it’s the type of fanaticism ripping apart Iraq and Afghanistan today.

Whatever the creed, religious absolutism will always beget intolerance and hate, and when combined with political power, will be used as a tool of oppression. It is unacceptable in a plural society, and Idaho will be a better place without it.

During his tenure at the Idaho Values Alliance, Bryan Fischer has exploited fear and ignorance to harass marginalized communities in an already overwhelmingly conservative Christian state, all while claiming richly to be under assault by those very communities.

To Bryan we say ‘goodbye,’ and to his hate we say ‘good riddance.’ Neither will be missed in Idaho.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

General Fischer's Military

Recently Bryan Fischer declared that ‘[t]he U.S. military exists for one purpose: to protect the security of the American people from foreign threats,’ before arguing that the presence of homosexuals in said military undermines that purpose. Bryan’s rationale for this claim is that ‘the presence of openly gay soldiers affects unit cohesion and morale and thus interferes with mission capability.’

[Editors' Note: Bryan has neither served in the military nor undertaken any military 'missions.']

Forgetting that heterosexual and lesbian women also serve in the military, Fischer then spends a curious two paragraphs discussing gay men ‘ogling’ their fellow soldiers in the shower before exploring ‘anything goes’ tomfoolery in the barracks. Evidently Bryan believes that hetero and homosexual men are unable to coexist in the same space without having sex.

But Bryan’s argument runs contrary to evidence. In April 2009, Lt. Dan Choi was fired from the Army for informing his superiors that he's gay. Choi, who is a West Point graduate and is fluent in Arabic, was also open about his sexuality with his immediate subordinates, who formed a platoon under his command. His orientation had no effect on his work in the army.

Of his platoon, Choi remarks, they ‘know I’m gay. They don’t care. They are professional.’ He then states, ‘I have never, ever done anything homosexual while on duty and I never engaged in heterosexual conduct while on duty because the army is not about sexual anything.’

And that’s exactly the point. The army isn’t about sex; it’s about protecting the security of the United States. Choi speaks Arabic and was trained as an officer at one of the most elite military academies in the world. Firing him for being gay, something that matters more to Bryan Fischer than to Choi’s fellow soldiers, weakens the military and further drains it of much needed skill and leadership at a crucial moment in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

We remain curious as to how Bryan Fischer claims to support the troops while working simutaneously to thin their ranks of talent at a time when it's needed the most.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Science According to Bryan

Last week the scientific community welcomed with enthusiasm the realization that a 47 million year old fossil, Ida, likely represents another puzzle piece in the evolutionary chain linking modern primates to our distant relatives.

As he is prone to do when evidence contradicts his Genesis-based view of Earth's history, Bryan has whipped himself into a frenzy over this latest find. He declares that the fossil is 'hardly a missing link' while characterizing the scientists behind the claim as dishonest, 'slobbering,' and 'ga-ga.'

He concludes by stating, 'We'll be happy to let obtuse Darwinist [sic] cling to their fairy tales, their bedtime stories, and their dreams. We'll stick with hard science, thank you very much.'

Um, Bryan? You're not a scientist. You're a defrocked minister with a qualification in Bible studies. And it's a bit rich that a man who believes in a literal account of Genesis is lecturing the scientific community about fairy tales, bedtime stories, and hard science.

Bryan offers a weak rebuttal by recycling the tired, inaccurate, and, in any event, non sequitur claim that there exist no transitional fossils to support evolution.

The reality is that scientists have discovered a number of transitional fossils; this is exceptional given that conditions, ranging from the location of the animal’s death to the type of soil at that site, were rarely ideal for the fossilization process to occur. This combined with the rate at which organisms decay after death suggests that it’s truly extraordinary we have any fossils at all.

But even if transitional fossils didn’t exist, this wouldn’t disprove the theory of evolution, which is overwhelmingly supported by examining DNA and comparing the geographic distribution of animal and plant species on Earth.

We won’t delve further into the minutiae of the transitional fossil record, but readers can view an expert scientific deconstruction of Bryan’s ill-informed views here.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Taking the Pro-Hate Stance

In April, in a great stride for civil rights and a humiliating blow to hatemongering fundamentalists, the Hate Crimes Prevention Bill passed the House and was sent on to the Senate. It was a Pyrrhic victory of sorts, as it came too late for Duanna Johnson, Angie Zapata and many others.

Like a high school gym teacher lecturing about that not-so-fresh-feeling, Bryan Fischer can’t seem to let the much-contested bill finally reach maturity without some unhelpful, unnecessary, and embarrassingly inaccurate commentary.

He claims that when “Democrats voted down a proposed amendment that would exclude pedophilia from the list of ‘sexual orientations’”, the bill became a vehicle for the protection of pedophiles. In fact, he says that it “has become widely known as ‘The Pedophile Protection Act.’”

[Note to Bryan: “widely known” is not the same as “between you, your economic dependents, and some guy you cornered at the supermarket the other day who couldn’t wait to pay for his six-pack and get the hell out of there”. In slightly wider circles--such as Wikipedia--the bill is known as The Matthew Shepard Act.]

Of course no one voted to “exclude pedophilia.” That would equivalent to someone standing up at a gathering of conservationists and stridently demanding that cockroaches be taken off the Endangered Species List. They don’t have to be removed because they were never on the list.

Pedophilia is not a sexual orientation. It’s a crime. Gay sex is not a crime. Putting them in the same category implies association in order to prove guilt.

Bryan goes on to say that hate crime legislation is fundamentally misguided because “it violates the fundamental principle of American justice that we all are equal before the law” and “penalize[s] thought, not behavior”. To the former, the editors point out that this is yet another sad and silly attempt to cast the gay rights movement as the big bad bullies tormenting the virtuous underdogs. This is not the case. Even as civil liberties are expanded and the country seems, slowly and with great effort, to be turning away from the violent and hateful aspects of its history, people like Bryan Fischer remain powerful and influential, and people like Rodney Whitaker are not. And if Bryan was murdered for being white, Christian and hetero, it would be a hate crime and would rightly be prosecuted as such under the so-(rarely) called "Pedophile Protection Act".

To the latter point, we argue that, much like laws against premeditated murder, it penalizes reified thought. Think your hate all you want, Bryan, no one will prosecute you. Act on it in the brutal and specialized manner that characterizes hate crimes, and damn straight you’ll pay for it.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Bryan's War on Bears

Bryan Fischer has declared ‘open season’ on Alaskan bears, claiming that they ‘are emerging from their dens and once again strolling through Anchorage neighborhoods, mauling children and literally going from driveway to driveway rooting through garbage cans.’

He then suggests that in a ‘biblical worldview perspective, predatory animals that endanger livestock and humans can and should be removed wherever necessary’ before noting that ‘[t]he folks in Anchorage, Alaska are probably about ready for a return to biblical values.’

Naturally Bryan’s ‘Bible-based’ perspective is replete with inconsistency, in this case directly contradicting the story of the prophet Elijah, who upon being taunted for baldness by two youths, cursed them, inducing a vicious mauling which resulted in their bodies being ripped into 42 pieces.

We quote 2 Kings 2 23-4, ‘as he was going up by the way, there came forth little children out of the city, and mocked him, and said unto him, Go up, thou bald head; go up, thou bald head. And he turned back, and looked on them, and cursed them in the name of the LORD. And there came forth two she bears out of the wood, and tare forty and two children of them.’

Far be it from us to question God for His use of she-bears to undertake a little dirty work, but the bears do appear to have a purpose here that precludes their extermination. And while we concede that Alaskans did elect a Governor who writhes on the floor in religious fits and speaks better Parseltongue than Harry Potter, we hardly think they’ve a desire to ‘return to the biblical values’ of Elijah.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Bryan and the Nazis

Among Bryan Fischer’s more curious hobbies is a fondness for recreating homoerotic concentration camp fantasies and emailing them to his distribution list. We’re not sure how, or even if, this dovetails with his objective ‘to make Idaho the friendliest place in the world to raise a family,’ but Bryan's bizarre fascination with all-things-gay never ceases to entertain.

In a recent newsletter, Bryan shamelessly conflates homosexuality with fascism while peddling a laughably outlandish version of history in the process. He declares that there exists a ‘strain of fascism in the homosexual movement’ and that ‘[m]any Nazi prison camps were run by homosexuals.’

Are you joking, Bryan? The primary ambition of the Nazi Party was to secure and expand the social and political power of the ‘Master Race.’ As you're wont to note, gay men and women do not reproduce in their relationships; how would they contribute to the grand Nazi plan?

Bryan’s claim fails to withstand even the most basic scrutiny.

Furthermore, hundreds of thousands of gays and lesbians were arrested under the Nazi regime. Lesbian and gay members of the Nazi party were systematically purged and murdered, and tens of thousands more perished in concentration camps.

Bryan’s purposive dishonesty demonstrates a disgraceful contempt for the life and memory of those murdered at the hands of the Nazis.

But whether there existed gay Nazis is an entirely irrelevant debate. It’s absurd and illogical for Bryan to claim that there is some intrinsic link between homosexuality and fascism. Countless tyrannical and murderous leaders are and were heterosexual; was being straight the impetus for Stalin’s purges? And who would blame sexuality for Mao’s 'Great Leap Forward' or Slobodan Milosevic’s ethnic cleansing in the former Yugoslavia?

Certainly no one with a shred of intellectual integrity.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Bryan the Meddler

Bryan Fischer is notorious for making grand pronouncements and vast generalizations of dubious validity. Virtually every fact or statistic that spews from his lips is sullied with bias and agenda. This truism notwithstanding, occasionally Fischer makes a declaration so inexplicably absurd that it makes one wonder whether he might need his head checked.

Last week Bryan declared that liberals are more repressive than conservatives and that ‘the basic instinct of the conservative is to be left alone, while the basic instinct of the liberal is to meddle.’

The editors concede that, upon a time, classical conservatives embraced a ‘live and let live’ attitude. But how can Fischer don this mantle when the sole purpose of the Idaho Values Alliance is to meddle in the affairs of others? How can Fischer possess ‘an instinct … to be left alone’ while simultaneously shoving his snout into some aspect of the life of virtually every Idahoan?

At any given stage Bryan has championed restrictive legislation or policies affecting a range of individuals including: pregnant women, children seeking immunizations, children attending public schools, teenagers in need of candid sex education, individuals seeking contraception, individuals engaging in sex, students and teachers who expect science to be taught in science class, individuals who exercise their First Amendment rights, judges who discharge their duties with requisite probity, couples seeking divorce, and even those who, according to Fischer, use the wrong toilet at Boise State University.

To produce an exhaustive list of Fischer’s meddling would be a Sisyphean task; indeed we remain skeptical that it can be achieved at all.

Instead we pose the question, when doesn’t Bryan meddle?

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Bryan's State is Friendlier than Yours!

Bryan Fischer recently reaffirmed his mission to ‘make Idaho the friendliest place in the world to raise a family’ by citing a study which places Idaho among the ‘top ten’ most ‘free’ states in the US.

[Editors’ Note: Anytime Bryan Fischer uses a word like ‘freedom,’ it's generally safe to assume he means something akin to the exact opposite.]

Bryan then takes to task non-free states, declaring them bastions of ‘bondage’ while issuing a dire warning to his followers: ‘if you think it’s bad here [in Idaho], imagine what it would be like to be stuck’ elsewhere.

He then provides a list of these horrid, anti-freedom states. Such as they’re characterized, one might expect these places to resemble Pol Pot’s Cambodia, the Ayatollah’s Iran, or perhaps even North Korea. Indeed, nothing good has ever come from the biggest anti-freedom states on the list, which are: Massachusetts, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Connecticut, California, Washington, and Hawaii.

But the worst offender of all, a place Fischer describes as ‘the least free state in the union,’ is New York. That's right, New York. And we couldn’t agree more. After all, everyone knows that New York is a veritable bastion of fascism. Those rumors about New York City being the financial capital of the world and the engine that drives the global economy are just liberal media propaganda. It’s actually quite a nasty, totalitarian place.

The IVC would like all its readers to consider themselves warned, and to plan travel accordingly.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Christ's Contempt and Fischer's Lies

You know who Jesus hated? Pregnant women and indigent children. And in keeping with Christ’s disdain for the poor and pregnant, Bryan Fischer recently renewed his whining about the federal re-authorization of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), which extends health benefits to 11 million uninsured poor children and pregnant women.

In a patent lie, Fischer writes that the ‘budget-busting SCHIP bill … raises taxes mostly on the poor ... by $32 billon.’ Actually Bryan, the increased costs of SCHIP have been offset by an increase in the federal excise tax on tobacco. We’re not sure how this equates to increasing the tax burden of America’s poor. We’re even more confused that you purport to be an advocate for the poor while working simultaneously to deny them health coverage. And heaven forbid chain smokers contribute to rising health care costs on a consumption basis.

Let us also ignore the facts that SCHIP saves money by reducing the numbers of uninsured seeking care in Emergency Rooms and that SCHIP provides an economically competitive alternative to private insurance while offering a greater range of benefits.

We can imagine Bryan writhing in antipathy at the thought of 11 million dirty whelps receiving free immunizations. After all, happy, well-insured children who are healthy enough to attend school have nothing to do with making Idaho the friendliest place in the world to raise a family.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Bryan's Lofty Flock

Bryan Fischer recently lauded the results of a PEW poll revealing that ‘just 34% of white evangelical Protestants believe that there is solid evidence the earth is warming.’ He then chastises the ‘religiously unaffiliated’ for being ‘the most easily duped.’

[Editors’ Note: Notice that Bryan singles out the ‘religiously unaffiliated’ while failing to mention that every other Christian group reported in the poll is more likely to be well-informed about global warming than his.]

We read the poll data differently, and if Bryan wants to play the comparison game, we’re happy to oblige. The editors offer some other facts about evangelical Christians. We think they shed some light on the subtext of this PEW poll.

For example, evangelical Christians are:
  • the least likely of any religious group to attend university, and when they do
  • they attend lower quality universities than their peers,
  • have smaller vocabularies than their peers,
  • are the least likely to be able to engage in ‘critical argumentation about issues in politics, history, ethics [and] sociology,’ and
  • are more likely to eschew courses in literature, biology, chemistry and calculus.
In addition to having the lowest rates of university attendance, evangelical Christians:
  • are more likely to have anti-Mormon attitudes than other religious sects,
  • are more likely to avoid habitually ‘African Americans and other minorities,’
  • are more likely to ‘hold substantial prejudices toward against ethnic, religious, and especially sexual minorities,’ and
  • are the least likely to interact with people outside their churches.
Not only are they a touch provincial, but evangelical Christian teens:
  • are more sexually active than their religious peers,
  • experience higher rates of unplanned and premarital pregnancy,
  • are more likely to engage in sexual risk behaviors when they begin their sexual careers, and
  • are, rather sadly, the least likely group of Christians to anticipate that sex will be pleasurable.*
We’re not trying to bring down Bryan’s lofty flock, and we know there are always exceptions to statistics, but he initiated the comparison. And Bryan, while you may be proud that your evangelical peers don’t believe in global warming, we’ll maintain some skepticism about who’s more easily duped.

*Which simply begs the question of why they start having sex so early and often? Have modern evangelicals embraced some new form of self-flagellation?

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Fischer 'Fesses Up!

Hell must be frozen, because Bryan Fischer has admitted to being a ‘radical’ and a ‘rightwing extremist.’

Last week the Department of Homeland Security released a politically-neutral report warning of an upsurge in rightwing extremist activity in the United States. The document notes that such ‘extremists may be gaining new recruits by playing on their fears about several emergent issues ... [including] … [t]he economic downturn and the election of the first African American president.’  

Fischer dismisses the report as ‘spooky’ and a ‘piece of crap,’ claiming that there exists ‘no evidence at all’ that such extremist violence could occur. Uh, Bryan, have you heard of the Oklahoma City Bombing? There was no gay sex involved, but it was definitely in the news.

He then attempts to brush off the report as Obama propaganda, ignoring the fact that it originated from a non-political government agency established by Fischer's own beloved President Bush to fight terrorism.

But our favorite part is when Fischer writes, ‘they are talking about you and me, folks.’ 

That’s right! By his own admission, Bryan and his loyal readers are ‘rightwing extremists.’ Yes, we’re as flabbergasted as you.

So does this mean the IVC’s work is finished? Hardly. The fun is just beginning. 

Sunday, April 26, 2009

The Misguided Lance of Bryan Fischer

One of Bryan Fischer’s seminal works, and perhaps the best summing-up of his redoubtable raison d’etre, deals with “Why Christians Should Be Involved in Public Policy.”

Most people’s answer to the unasked question of the title would be, “Wait, aren’t they already?” After all, let’s take a look at the top public offices in the country, and see how many are held by Christians:

President: Barack Obama (Christian)
Vice-President: Joe Biden (Christian)
Secretary of State: Hilary Clinton (Christian)
Secretary of Treasury: Timothy Geithner (Christian)
Secretary of Defense: Robert Gates (Christian)
Attorney General: Eric Holder (Christian)
Secretary of the Interior: Ken Salazar (Christian)
Secretary of Agriculture: Tom Vilsack (Christian)
Secretary of Commerce: Gary Locke (Christian)
Secretary of Labor: Hilda Solis (Christian)
Secretary of Health and Human Services: Kathleen Sebelius (Christian)
Secretary of Education: Arne Duncan  (unaffiliated)
Secretary of Housing and Urban Development: Shaun Donovan (Christian)
Secretary of Transportation: Ray LaHood (Christian)
Secretary of Energy: Steven Chu (affiliation unknown)
Secretary of Veterans’ Affairs: Eric Shinsheki (affiliation unknown)
Secretary of Homeland Security: Janet Napolitano  (Christian)
Chief of Staff: Rahm Emanuel (Judaism)

Clearly, Christians are well represented. As usual, Bryan is playing the delusional Don Quixote, jousting gallantly at the giants of persecution and exclusion that obstinately fail to plague him. (Although, given his attitude toward renewable energy and environmental responsibility, he probably considers windmills to be worthy opponents.)

What Bryan means is that every Christian involved in public policy should be as doggedly dogmatic as he is himself, and should favor fanatical religious convictions over sensible statecraft. 

What’s more, they owe their position not to their constituents or to appointment by the President, as American voters so foolishly thought, but to The Big White Guy in the Sky. “Civil authorities, we are told in Scripture itself, are ‘ministers of God,’” Fischer blathers.

One problem, Bryan: the Constitution provides for the separation of church and state. Next time you eagerly unstick the pages of that august document to drool over the Second Amendment yet again, try to spare a glance for the first.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Fischer and the Law

As we’ve noted previously, Bryan Fischer offers expert advice on a range of subjects, despite the fact that his actual expertise is limited to The Good Book and The Bible. Recently Bryan demonstrated his flimsy understanding of the First Amendment by declaring that ‘people taking off their clothes and having sex on camera is not speech but something else entirely.’

Yes, Bryan, it’s called porn. And despite your cute word-play, it remains a protected form of speech under the First Amendment.

But don’t take our word for it. Take the Supreme Court’s!

See, Fischer is bent out of shape because a group of students at the University of Maryland organized a panel discussion on free speech before screening segments from the adult film Pirates II: Stagnetti’s Revenge. We surmise that Fischer would prefer the students read Ann Coulter and undertake a little target practice with their concealed weapons rather than stage a debate for the principled defense of pornography on grounds that censorship is unacceptable in a free society.

The point is, no matter how tasteless and vulgar Pirates II: Stagnetti’s Revenge may be [Editors’ Note: We recommend viewing Pirates I before watching the sequel.], the students are within their constitutional right to view its content and peaceably assemble to defend that right.

But we have an ideal solution for you, Bryan: if you don’t like it, don’t exercise your constitutional prerogative to watch it.

Monday, April 20, 2009

The Epistemology of Bryan

For weeks Bryan Fischer has championed loudly House Bill No. 216, a piece of dreck legislation which extends to pharmacists the right to refuse medical treatment to patients on the basis of ‘conscience.’

In addition to completely subverting the ethics of the profession, HB216 actively enables medical discrimination on the basis of personal bias. It gives a pharmacist the right to intervene in a physician-patient relationship and refuse any course of treatment he or she dislikes.

Yes, it’s just that bad. It’s so patently silly we can’t bear to discuss it further.

However, Fischer’s support of HB216 offers some intriguing insight into his whacky epistemology.

Bryan has long been a forceful opponent of any legislation that offers what he calls ‘special protection’ to specific communities. For example, any time anti-discrimination legislation for gays and lesbians appears, Bryan bellows to his followers a call to arms.

Fischer justifies his opposition to this type of legislation for two reasons. The first (his naughty secret) is that he hates homosexuals for awkward personal reasons. But the lynchpin of his public argument is that Bryan believes, contrary to evidence and reason, that homosexuality is a choice. According to this logic, if you choose to be something, that something does not warrant special protection.

Based on this, one might expect Bryan to be consistent and apply the same principle to special protection for pharmacists. After all, no one is born a pharmacist. To our knowledge, no geneticists have succeeded in identifying the 'pharmacist gene.' It’s clearly a lifestyle choice that can be overcome with proper support and ample prayer.

Fischer’s inconsistency belies his efforts at logical reasoning. You can’t deny anti-discrimination legislation to gays and lesbians on the basis of ‘choice’ while ignoring that principle for pharmacists.

That is, unless you're a vortex of hypocrisy and this isn't really about protecting pharmacists.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

The Rap Sheet

Before he was sacked by his congregation, Bryan Fischer reportedly ruled the Community Church of the Valley (CCV) with an iron fist. The CCV’s bylaws were among the strictest in the Boise-area, and Pastor Fischer rarely hesitated to ridicule publicly the rule-breakers and sinners in his flock.

Fischer has never made secret his views on the expected conduct of true, God-fearing Christians and their leaders. On the public conduct of clergy, he writes recently,

The minimum the Christian church should expect from its spiritual leaders is clear and unapologetic adherence to … biblical standard[s], especially from pastors who tell us that the Bible is the “rule of faith and practice.”

Seems pretty unambiguous. So does Bryan practice what he preaches? Let's have a look:

State of Idaho vs. Bryan J Fischer 12/27/1994
CR-IN-1994-0042484 I49-654(1)
Basic Rule Violation - Too Fast For Conditions
Finding: Guilty
Fines/fees: $47.00

State of Idaho vs. Bryan J Fischer 11/20/2004
CR-2004-0001518-C I49-654(2)
Finding: Guilty
Fines/fees: $53.00

State of Idaho vs. Bryan J Fischer 6/13/2006
CR-IN-20060027500 I49-654(2)
Finding: Guilty
Fines/fees: $62.00

State of Idaho vs. Bryan J Fischer 3/03/2008
CR-2008-0000703 I49-654(2)
Finding: Guilty
Fines/fees: $75.00

Far be it from us to judge. After all, perhaps Fischer was rushing off to a rally protesting gay sex, or to make a speech about gay sex. But to measure him by his own much-abused yardstick, the editors draw his attention to Romans 13:1-5:

Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves ... Therefore you must be subject, not only because of wrath but also for conscience’ sake.

We also draw his attention to 1 Peter 2:13-6:

... submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake, whether to the king as supreme ... or to governors, as to those who are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and for the praise of those who do good. For this is the will of God, that by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men— as free, yet not using liberty as a cloak for vice, but as bondservants of God.

About those who would defy the scripture, Fischer writes,

Where are the voices of truth in the pulpits of America to stand against this rapid descent into the darkness? Where? God help us, and God help the United States of America. We’re in deeper trouble than we know.

We here at IVC feel that, given his relationship to the law, perhaps Bryan should be more reluctant to cast the first stone.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

The Folly of Sali

Bryan Fischer is a big supporter of democracy; at least when his side wins. The 2008 general election was six months ago, but still Fischer seethes over congressman Bill Sali’s loss to Democrat Walt Minnick. Now a Democrat unseating a Republican in Idaho is about as likely as Brandi Swindell getting a real job, but it happened in 2008. In fact, Bill Sali is the first Idaho congressperson in 56 years who failed to win a second term.

For those familiar with Sali’s record as an Idaho legislator, his loss is no surprise. Known for his blow and bluster, Sali once forced a breast cancer survivor to leave a room in tears following a heated debate over his insistence on discussing a fabricated link between abortion and cancer. His own Republican colleagues have stripped him of a committee chairmanship and multiple other memberships, and former Republican Speaker Bruce Newcomb is on the record calling him an ‘absolute idiot.’

An Idaho Statesman investigation into an insurance claim made by Sali reveals him describing his own mental faculties thusly:

For those who do not know Sali, he’s the kind of guy who farts in bed and traps his wife under the duvet. He’s the gross uncle who picks his nose at Thanksgiving dinner and doesn’t stop giving ‘wet willies’ long after the joke stops being funny. Now imagine he’s a mediocre attorney with no respect among his peers. That’s Bill.

Sali’s three years in congress were a catalogue of tomfoolery and embarrassment for Idaho. He once famously proposed to the House of Representatives a bill to repeal the law of gravity. Within weeks of taking office, he was forced to apologize for claiming that the Founding Fathers never intended for Muslims to serve in congress. Sali also claimed erroneously – and with appalling stupidity – that oil can be extracted from trees.

So relieved were Sali’s colleagues to see him lose that Republican Representative Mike Simpson hilariously offered advice on relocating to Washington DC to Walt Minnick before Sali even conceded electoral defeat.

Yet Fischer continues to propose wild theories on Sali’s loss. In addition to supporting an abstract conspiracy surrounding a powerful cabal of Mexican immigrants orchestrating Minnick's victory, Bryan alleged recently that ‘Minnick essentially bought his congressional seat.’

Yes Bryan, the only reason Minnick won is because he outspent a Republican incumbent in the most Republican disctrict in an overwhelmingly Republican state. Forget the fact that incumbents are almost always outspent by their challengers.

Fischer remains unable to believe that the voters of the 1st Congressional District simply chose to rid themselves of the silly oaf because of his general incompetence and failure to represent Idaho’s best interests.

Face it Fischer, your man lost fair and square.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

A Smug 'Hello'

Within four days of the IVC’s inception, Bryan Fischer acknowledged us in his daily newsletter. Talk about a man who likes to Google himself.

Fischer refers to the IVC as a ‘new left-wing blog devoted to the daily monitoring of the IVA.’ Well, you’re half correct, but why must IVC be left-wing? Because we don’t support your ongoing harassment of homosexuals? Because we don’t think Ann Coulter’s writing is the best produced in the last decade? Or is it because we don’t harbor your healthy Evangelical obsession with fisting?

No, we suspect Bryan refers to us as ‘left-wing’ to preempt us. In Bryan-speak, ‘left-wing’ implies we’ve nothing worthwhile to stay. He’s issuing an advance warning. ‘They’re on the fringe!’, he screams.

But let’s reset that compass. Bryan’s a guy who believes university students and professors should carry concealed weapons to class. He’s a guy who dedicates countless hours to attacking homosexuals for no clear reason. He’s a guy who believes, against overwhelming scientific evidence, in a literal interpretation of Genesis.

Perhaps we’re not the ones on the fringe here.

Bryan proceeds to extend to the IVC a warm welcome. With the smugness becoming of a true Christian, he writes, ‘They’re welcome aboard! They’re invited to read anything and everything I have written since we began the IVA in 2005. They might even learn something!’

We’re sure Christ would fully endorse Bryan’s self-righteousness.

As for reading up, we’ve braved the nausea to dig deep. We think you’ll be pleased with what we’ve found.

Monday, April 13, 2009

We Didn’t Start the Fire?

If you’ve ever wondered how Bryan Fischer, an affluent, white Christian living in the United States, has come to conceive of himself as a beleaguered minority, be free of your befuddlement. Fischer has set himself up in opposition to even his conservative Christian cronies in his continuing efforts to divest himself of the taint of rational thought.

The shibboleth separating ideologues still on first-name terms with reality from our friend Fischer is global warming. Under the heading “Reducing CO2: ineffective, harmful to the poor," he claims there exists “a growing realization in the scientific community that climate change is a result of cyclical factors which are independent of human activity.”

The scientific community begs to differ, Mr. Fischer. *

It’s all irrelevant anyway, because “CO2 is not in fact a pollutant - it is plant food.” More plant food means more produce to “feed the world’s poor”!

It would be easy to delve into the dangers of too much of a good thing, but in the interests of holding your attention, Mr. Fischer, I’ll confine myself to clich├ęd aphorisms: one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. For instance, while some people might quite enjoy, say, being fisted, I imagine that you would object most strenuously.

So if you’ll take the liberty of imagining the world as your own rectum, Bryan—may I call you Bryan?—global warming would be the fist.

*In case an actual scientific publication is too much for you, here’s the kid’s page, courtesy of Nickelodeon.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

And Christ Said Unto Him, ‘Discharge Thy Weapon!’

The Virginia Tech Massacre may be the greatest tragedy ever to befall a university campus. On 16 April 2007, Seung-Hui Cho, an undergraduate with severe untreated mental illness, killed 32 students and wounded dozens more. The magnitude of the crisis was such that even President Bush moved to strengthen federal gun control laws.

In the wake of the killings, surviving victims and those affected sought the comfort of family, friends, and clergy. Those who turned to Pastor Fischer for solace received the tastelessly titled screed, ‘Second Amendment: Designed for Virginia Tech,’ complete with an inlaid image of a handgun juxtaposed with the Virginia Tech logo.

In his pious epistle, Fischer declares boldly that ‘disarmed Americans are defenseless Americans’ while chiding Virginia Tech officials and Virginia lawmakers for not permitting students and faculty to ‘carry concealed handguns on campus.’

While most commentators questioned how such a tragedy could occur or how a young man’s severe mental illness could persist untreated, Fischer took the high-ground and urged everyone to start packing concealed heat. Yes Bryan, what we need is for university students to carry 9mm Colts.

Kids, just be sure the safeties are securely engaged during keg stands and bong hits.

In our favorite paragraph, Fischer applauds the heroism of Professor Liviu Librescu, who died in the shooting, also noting irrelevantly that he was a Holocaust survivor. Fischer invokes the teachings of Jesus, quoting John 15:13: ‘Greater love hath no man than this: that he lay down his life for his friends.’ He follows with the observation, ‘It is certainly unfortunate and tragic that the professor had only his body but no weapon with which to defend himself and his students.’

Really, Bryan? You’re quoting Jesus and lamenting that Librescu failed to carry a 12-gauge to class in the same paragraph?

The ICV Editors would like to urge all trash collectors, post carriers, utilities workers, and Democrats to tread carefully around Fischer’s property, lest you spook him into discharging a few Christly rounds from his concealed weapon.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Obama the Racist?

Last January, two days after the inauguration of the man an entire nation is counting on to pull its collective ass out of the fire, the US observed the anniversary of another seminal moment in history: the 1972 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision.

Naturally, Bryan Fischer could not let such a fortuitous near-conjunction pass without comment, so he weighed in with the puzzling title: "Obama Will Set Black Civil Rights Back Years."

"How" you ask, "could this shiny new president possibly merit such condemnation?" Has he preemptively invaded a sovereign nation with false justification? Allowed thousands of black Americans to remain displaced and homeless in one of the richest countries in the world? Did he vomit on the Japanese Prime Minister?

No. Even worse, Obama voiced support for the Freedom of Choice Act, which expands and protects Roe v. Wade. This is a blow to the black community because, quoth Fischer, 'abortion is wiping out black babies at an astonishing rate.'

It’s all due to the evil folks at Planned Parenthood, which according to Fischer "has located more than 75% of its clinics in minority neighborhoods, almost as if they were deliberately intent on fulfilling founder Margaret Sanger’s ghoulish hopes to ‘exterminate the Negro population.’"

[Editors’ Note: Margaret Sanger actually opposed abortion. She was, however, a staunch proponent of eugenics, and given Mr. Fischer’s ideas about who can and cannot have children, we wonder if he and Ms. Sanger don’t have more in common than he thinks.]

Fischer's article is accompanied by 'a pro-life ad […] celebrating President Barack Obama's mother's decision not to abort the first black American president.' The ad offensively assumes that all black children are on the cusp of being aborted, without observing the obvious: that Stanley Ann Dunham wanted her child. There is, of course, a world of difference between a woman who happily carries to term, and one who has no choice but to complete an unwanted pregnancy.

Dear deluded Bryan: it’s not about race. It’s not about age, socioeconomic background, or even sexual orientation (although, come to think of it, gay couples probably don’t have many abortions; that's a conundrum for you!). It’s about choice, and black women have as much right to make that choice as anyone.

Fischer believes that abortion clinics are like McDonald's – you see those seductive golden arches and suddenly have to have something from the Dollar Menu. Abortions are not an impulse buy. Planned Parenthood is merely providing services where they are most needed.

If you want to reduce abortions, Bryan, how about relaxing your attitude toward contraceptive education? After all, the Guttmacher Institute, a research organization respected and cited on both sides of the choice debate, reports that "eight percent of women who have abortions have never used a method of birth control ... [while] nonuse is greatest among those who are young, poor, black, Hispanic or less educated."

Could it be, Bryan, that your opposition to contraceptive education is contributing to the number of abortions in black communities? Could it be that education and access to contraception might reduce abortion numbers across the board?

Could it be that it's not President Obama, but in fact the Idaho Values Alliance, that's working to set back black civil rights?