Mitt Romney is scheduled to speak at the far-right "Values Voter Summit" on Saturday morning, immediately before the American Family Association's Bryan Fischer, a man with a long and shocking record of bigotry toward gays and lesbians, American Muslims, Native Americans, African-Americans, Mormons and other minorities. Today, I sent Romney this open letter outlining Fischer's record and urging him to publicly distance himself from Fischer's bigotry before sharing a stage with him.
Dear Governor Romney: As you campaign for the presidency, you will meet many different people and hear many different views. Nobody expects you to agree with all the views you hear -- but we do expect you to stand up and speak out against expressions of hate and intolerance that go against your basic values. At the Values Voter Summit this weekend, you are scheduled to speak immediately before the American Family Association's Bryan Fischer, one of the most prominent purveyors of hate and intolerance in this country and a vocal critic even of your own religion. By sharing a stage with Mr. Fischer at an event sponsored in part by his employer, you help to raise his profile and lend a veneer of credibility to his bigotry. I urge you to either publicly denounce Mr. Fischer's bigotry or reconsider appearing with him at this event. Bryan Fischer, who is the Director of Issues Analysis at the American Family Association, has a long record of hate speech toward gays and lesbians, American Muslims, Native Americans and other religious and cultural minorities... including Mormons. Just last week, Mr. Fischer argued on his radio program that Mormons do not have the First Amendment right to free exercise of their religion, and falsely claimed that the LDS Church still sanctions polygamy. He has expressed disdain for your own faith, saying that it "ought to be an issue in 2012." Mormons are only one of the many minority groups at whom Fischer publicly directs his hatred and intolerance. Fischer has:
- held gays responsible for the Holocaust and likened them to domestic terrorists and Nazis who are intent on committing " virtual genocide" against the military, asserts that "homosexuals should be disqualified from public office" and has even called for the re-criminalization of homosexuality;
- said "we have feminized the Medal of Honor" by awarding it to a soldier who saved his fellow combatants rather than killing enemies;
- demanded all immigrants " convert to Christianity" and renounce their religions;
- asserted that Muslims have "no fundamental First Amendment claims" and should be banned from building mosques and deported from the U.S., adding that Muslims are inherently stupid as a result of inbreeding;
- claimed African-American women " rut like rabbits" due to welfare and that Native Americans are " morally disqualified" from living in America because they didn't convert to Christianity and were consequently cursed by God with alcoholism and poverty;
- maintained that "President Barack Obama nurtures this hatred for the United States of America and, I believe, nurtures a hatred for the white man."
- said that the anti-Muslim manifesto of the right-wing Christian terrorist who killed dozens in Norway was "accurate."
I and others have often criticized you for abandoning your principles when it is politically convenient, but I hope in this instance you will prove us wrong. Bryan Fischer deserves to be a marginalized figure, not a celebrity embraced by the mainstream GOP. I hope that you won't silently hand over the microphone at a nationally televised event to a man with such a record of bigotry -- including towards members of your own faith. Will you publicly distance yourself from Fischer and his dangerous rhetoric?
President, People For the American Way