Forced to choose between battling the radical homosexual agenda and supporting Israel, which some motivated evangelical Christians believe will be central to Judgment Day, one Christian group has made its choice clear: Surrender to the agenda.
A conservative, anti-LGBT group has fired its longtime spokesman and issue-analysis director Bryan Fischer after the group's sponsoring of a Republican National Committee trip to Israel drew attention to his views -- though it's not as if his views weren't widely known already.
Fischer, who regularly trolls Twitter with outlandishly bigoted comments, is unabashed. Rachel Maddow first reported on MSNBC Wednesday that the American Family Association's dismissal of Fischer follows reports that the group would be footing the bill for about 60 members of the RNC to travel on a "spiritual" trip to Israel through its American Renewal Project subsidiary.
Fischer has suggested the Nazi Party was founded by gay people, that Adolf Hitler intentionally recruited gays to the party, that the First Amendment only applies to Christians, that homosexuality should be criminalized and that an underground railroad is needed to protect children from gay parents. He has also said that African American welfare recipients are “people who rut like rabbits."
He will remain the host of his AFA-sponsored radio show. On Thursday, Fischer denied that he had been fired, saying on his radio show that he had given up his role as spokesman because the multiple positions were sowing confusion about the the organization's official stances. He did not immediately respond to a direct message on Twitter requesting clarification.
Coverage by the Israeli newspaper Haaretz and letters sent by the civil-rights group the Southern Poverty Law Center to the RNC may have invited Fischer’s firing by putting political pressure on the committee. In an article published Thursday, Haaretz noted that the SPLC designates the AFA as a hate group.
The SPLC sent a letter to RNC officials earlier this month asking it to not participate in the Israel trip because of the Fischer's comments about Jews, LGBT people, Hispanics, African-Americans and women. On Wednesday, AFA's general counsel responded to the SPLC and said the organization rejects Fischer's views.
While the Christian activist who is running the trip, David Lane, told Haaretz he organized it out of evangelical love for Israel and that Israel's "best friends" are American evangelicals, the group may find Israel's record on LGBT issues rather intolerable.
Israel allows LGBT people to serve openly in the military, recognizes same-sex marriages performed outside the country and has outlawed employment discrimination based on sexual orientation. The country is so progressive minded toward the LGBT community, and so outspoken about it when under pressure from the international community, that critics of Israel's occupation of the West Bank and Gaza argue that the country uses LGBT rights as a public relations tool -- otherwise known as "pinkwashing" -- to obscure human rights issues relating to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Since marriage is an exclusively religious institution in Israel, however, and is dictated by anti-gay marriage, ultra-Orthodox rabbis, LGBT people are not yet able to marry within the country, and housing discrimination against gay couples, even in liberal Tel Aviv, appears to be common.