A controversial Christian radio host ruffled some feathers on Monday after saying an atheist group was a "bully" who should be "punched in the mouth" (metaphorically, of course).
Matt Barber's comments, made during a broadcast of the Liberty Counsel Faith & Freedom program, were directed toward the Freedom From Religion Foundation for trying to “recreate an America in their own secular, humanist, self-image," according to Mediate.
In 2008, the group filed a lawsuit in Michigan in an effort to prevent John Satawa from placing a Nativity scene on a public median. In August, the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit ruled in favor of Satawa.
“You know, what do you do with a bully?” Barber explained. “If a bully keeps getting his way and intimidating kids on the playground and nobody stands up for themselves then the bully is encouraged and emboldened and continues to bully more and more people. But when a little kid is being bullied and he turns around and punches the bully in the mouth — metaphorically speaking, of course — then the bully is oftentimes proven to be a paper tiger.”
Barber, an attorney who focuses on constitutional law,encouraged listeners to call Liberty Counsel’s toll-free number if they thought “religious cleansing” might be occurring in their city, Raw Story notes. According to its website, the Liberty Counsel provides pro bono legal assistance in the areas of religious liberty, the sanctity of human life and the family.
The "punch them in the mouth" phrase has been used by Barber in the past. In April, the conservative host said the "secularist left" was bunch of bullies who push "religious bigotry" and just need to be punched in the mouth, according to Right Wing Watch.
In an ironic bit of parallel rhetoric, on Monday MSNBC host Joe Scarborough called on Republicans to push back against talk radio “bullies” like Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh by punching them in the face, reports Raw Story.
“What do you do to a school yard bully?” Scarborough said. “You punch them in the face. Do you think any of these people on talk radio if they’re punched in the face by a Republican nominee, do you think they would push back? No, they’re cowards. They’re bullies. Punch them in the face, and they back off. Bullies do that.”
On the other hand, Barber is no stranger to controversial comments. An outspoken opponent of California's anti-gay conversion therapy law, Barber has claimed on his show that almost half of all gay men "were sexually assaulted by a homosexual pedophile," a theory that has been disputed by the American Psychiatric Association and is Number Three on the Southern Poverty Law Center's list of Top Ten Anti-Gay Myths Debunked.