You may remember that in my freshman year at Carolina, I was tricked into joining a hypercharismatic campus ministry. I only realized the extent to which they were trying to bend my mind when they told me, in so many words, that I essentially had to become a Christian Coalition Republican in order to be saved. Ever since then, one of the fastest ways to set me off has been for someone to say that unless I accept something that has absolutely nothing to do with believing in God, I’m not really a Christian.
One of those moments came on Friday, and it was provided by one of the usual suspects–namely, Bryan Fischer, the policy issues chief at the American Family Association. On that afternoon’s edition of his daily show on American Family Radio “Focal Point,” Fischer took a call from “Don” in Flora, Illinois. He demanded to know why no one on AFR was willing to say that President Obama wasn’t really a Christian.
Never mind that at least one AFR host has said words to that effect every weekday for the last five-plus years. Still, Fischer was more than happy to oblige. While he said that he really didn’t know “what goes on inside Barack Obama’s heart,” he definitely wasn’t really a Christian. Why’s that? Because–horrors!–Obama supports gay rights and abortion. Watch the whole thing here.
Fischer went on to say that if you “support and promote and celebrate homosexual behavior,” you have no business calling yourself a Christian because Jesus declared homosexuality to be a sin. And if you support “dismembering babies in the womb,” you can’t call yourself a Christian either. Since Obama strongly favors abortion and gay rights, Fischer told Don, the president definitely isn’t “a sincerely devoted follower of Jesus Christ.”
I have yet to hear even one convincing reason for why you can’t support equal rights for LGBT people and be a Christian. And I have yet to hear even one convincing reason why you can’t be pro-choice and be a Christian. What does that have to do with believing that Jesus died for me? Anyone? Bryan? Bueller? Bueller?
Moreover, Fischer is one of the last people who has any business wagging his finger at anyone. Just last month, he declared that suspected terrorists not only had no right to expect to be treated humanely, but that they brought any torture they experienced on themselves. Maybe it’s just me, but it sounds like Fischer is trolling for splinters in our eyes when there’s a two-by-four in his.
I’m reminded of a chat I had with some of my former “sisters” in that hypercharismatic outfit when I ran into them at a campus gay pride rally. They told me that I shouldn’t condone gay behavior. And yet, they were perfectly fine with deceiving people about who they really were so as not to scare anyone away–undoubtedly because they knew they wouldn’t have lasted five minutes at a campus like Carolina had their true nature been known.
The more I think about it, it’s not too far of a leap logically and morally from “gay rights bad, deceiving people good” to “gay rights bad, torture good.” Just like my “brothers” and “sisters” in that campus ministry, Fischer is willing to slam people for something that isn’t really a big deal, while appearing to condone something that no fair-minded person would find acceptable. When I think about how close I came to being sucked into that mentality, it makes me want to retch.