I couldn't believe it when I first heard him say it. It was Tuesday afternoon and I was monitoring Bryan Fischer's American Family Radio show, a chore I begrudingly take on far more frequently than any LGBT people should have to. There, after hearing the AFA's most visible figure opine about Chick-fil-A for the umpteenth time and dream up new ways to verbally bully anyone who doesn't shun equality, Fischer dropped one of the most culturally insensitive attack lines I've heard from anyone on the other side of this debate. To wit:
"The only way now in America's legal system that you can protect your child from being raised in a same-sex household is to get that kid into the Underground Railroad and get that child out of dodge."
The next day, Bryan doubled down. On his Twitter, he wrote the following:
Now, perhaps we should stop here and give a little historical perspective. In case you were asleep during American History class, let me remind you that the Underground Railroad was a system of escape routes that slaves of the 19th century used to flee oppressive torment. The network, aided by abolistionists who were on the right side of history, was used to free tens of thousands in the years before and even after the Civil War. The cause was freedom, and the risktakers were the long-persecuted.
So now let's jump back to Bryan Fischer's callous comments. He is quite literally comparing his desire to take children from homes with same-sex parents to the heroic events that led to the freeing of slaves. Let me say that again so it sinks in: Bryan Fischer, the man who spoke just minutes after Mitt Romney at the Family Research Council's 2011 Value Voters Summit, thinks that people who would take children away from their parents would be on par with people like Harriet Tubman and Sojourner Truth. He is suggesting that ripping kids out of LGBT-headed housesholds is the noble cause of our day.
Then, looking past just the brutally ahistorical component, consider the other part. Even though he began walking back his words a little bit once bloggers started bringing attention to his heinous suggestion, what Bryan is encouraging here is undeniable. The suggestion, in a word: kidnapping. That is not an overstatement. He is saying that we have a need in this country for a network of pathways and safe houses that would "rescue" kids from enivronments that he considers unsavory. The fact that he said this publicly is almost too chilling to even consider.
Then let's consider this latest offense and couple it with what we already know about Bryan. If we look at his Commentator Accountability Project profile, we learn that Bryan has also said the following things about LGBT people and LGBT parenting:
- Says: "In the wake of what we've seen at Penn State, that alone out to be enough to say that, look: we are not going to put children in same-sex households—we are not going to adopt them into same-sex households. We are not going to give custody, if somebody goes into the homosexual lifestyle after siring children—bringing children into the world with an opposite-sex partner—they are not going to get custody of these children. If they have visits with those kids, they are going to be supervised visits. We cannot trust the sexual integrity and innocence and purity of those kids with those who have same-sex preferences. The risk is far, far too high.
- “Ladies and gentlemen, they [gay people] are Nazis (see video at :24). Do not be under any illusions about what homosexual activists will do with your freedoms and your religion if they have the opportunity. They’ll do the same thing to you that the Nazis did to their opponents in Nazi Germany.”
- "If We Want to See Fewer Students Commit Suicide, We Want Fewer Homosexual Students"
- Claims homosexuality is a form of "domestic terrorism"
- "Homosexuality gave us Adolf Hitler, and homosexuals in the military gave us the Brown Shirts, the Nazi war machine and six million dead Jews."
- "Homosexuality represents an evolutionary degrade"…"evidence of a species devolving."
- Claims "allowing gay adoption is a form of sexual abuse"
FULL: Bryan Fischer [GLAAD CAP]
We really have to wonder: If he says this stuff about us publicly, what is he saying about us when in the privacy of the American Fanily Association's offices? What is this organization saying about LGBT people in secret strategy sessions if its most visible face and vocal voice is quite literally saying our kids should be taken from us?!? As I said—chilling.
And lest you think this rhetoric is fringe and disconnected from the larger public debate, consider the following. Bryan Fischer's guest on the day that he made these now-infamous "Underground Railaroad" comments was none other than Rep. Todd Akin, a Republican Congressman from Missouri who is now vying against Claire McCaskill for a U.S. Senate seat. And this booking is not an anomaly, either—Bryan's show regularly features a who's-who of pupular pundits and political power players, with the past year's slate of guests including Herman Cain, Michele Bachmann, Newt Gingrich, Mike Huckabee and any number of members of Congress and punditry.
So you really have to wonder what it's going to take to put an end to this. How much further must it go before people on the not-so-equality-friendly side call out one of their own? Which one of Bryan's tragic suggestions must some impressionable listener put into action before someone with a platform of influence steps in and tones it down? Who will take a break from playing the victim and actually deal with the brute stones that are coming from the American Family Association's headquarters?
I don't know about you, but I'm not willing to find out. This man has declared rhetorical war on LGBT families. It's time to hold him accountable!