It's hard to get more extreme than the American Family Association's senior issues analyst and most prominent radio host, and yet the AFA has eagerly promoted Bryan Fischer and his work for the five years. Whether its Muslims, Native Americans, African-Americans, or LGBT people that he's condemning (to name just some targets), Bryan's AFA profile just keeps growing.
There's also Tony Perkins, who hosts a daily radio show on the AFA's radio network. Tony has condemned LGBT people in every way imaginable, yet his afternoon show manages to bring on conservative lawmakers and thinkers every weekday, and Tony keeps appearing all over the media landscape.
Kevin McCullough has said that gays hate God, that the American president is controlled by Satan, and even claimed that GLAAD wants him dead. He still talks on the American Family Association's airwaves every day.
Tim Wildmon denigrates gay people by saying it's a fact that homosexuality is unnatural, denying "that homosexuality is something that is healthy and good and normal for people," and comparing LGBT activists to "the gay Gestapo." Yet Tim's not only a morning talk show host for AFA—he's the president.
And what about Sandy Rios? Sandy Rios has the most popular morning show on the AFA's radio network. When Sandy used that show to compare gay people's love to the “love” that kidnapper and rapist Ariel Castro had for the young women he kept captive as slaves, no one at AFA Radio saw any need to say anything about tone of voice or style of debate.
But this week we got an answer as to what, apparently, will lead to an AFA Radio host getting the boot. It's murder, apparently.
The news comes to us via Right Wing Watch, which reports:
Austin Ruse, who regularly filled in as a guest host for American Family Radio’s Sandy Rios, has lost his gig after we reported Wednesday on his call for liberal professors to be “taken out and shot.” Ruse is a leading Religious Right activist who heads the Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute (C-Fam) and is a writer for conservative outlets such as Breitbart News and The Daily Caller.
See more at: Right Wing Watch
The Offending Audio:
That Ruse went so extreme in his commentary is certainly no great surprise to those of us who work on GLAAD's Commentator Accountability Project. We've been nothing his over-the-top rhetoric for some time:
-- Says all countries should have laws discouraging homosexuality: "The penalties for homosexual behavior should not be jail time, but having some laws on the books, even if unenforced, would help society to teach what is good, and also would prevent such truly harmful practices as homosexual marriage and adoption. "
-- Insisting that "countries have a right to oppose the indoctrination of their children with immoral and unhealthy notions of sexuality," works to deny that sexual orientation and gender identity are acceptable categories for nondiscrimination protections (pretty much his pet cause at the UN)
-- Frames Russia's draconian laws on "homosexual propaganda" as a positive human rights development
-- In tweet, says he "would fully support a ban on homosexual propaganda in schools"
-- Saying that "UN delegates who represent traditional people must be ever vigilant and never give an inch on this issue," warns delegates to "beware" of any attempts "to regularize homosexuality and other behaviors in the scheme of international law.
-- Claims most Americans would agree with Russia's anti-gay law
-- Crassly claims that federal workplace protections will eliminate job performance requirements: "They don’t even have to know how to type as long as they have lopped off their penises or at least wear dresses."
-- In Twitter exchange with gay men, repeatedly insisted that gay people/activism is cause of gay teen suicide, alcoholism, and early death
-- Claims "[m]ost people recognize that the homosexual lifestyle is harmful to public health and morals."
-- Bemoaned newspapers that illustrate same-sex marriage victories with affectionate same-sex couples: "The day after the decision of the Supreme Court was a full page photograph of two men kissing on USA Today. This is a paper that lands in front of hotel room doors all over the country, this is vacation time, families open that door, children may have opened this door to see two men kissing. They are making us explain things to our children that we don’t want to explain and they know what they’re doing, they absolutely know what they’re doing."
-- In attempt to undermine LGBT protections, falsely claims there are 23 recognized sexual orientations, including things like "urophilia" and "scatalogia." In truth, the American Psychiatric Association recognizes these behaviors as paraphilias, not orientations.
-- Asserted that "The Catholic and Mormon groups would simply have to walk away" from a Boy Scouts of America that accepts gay youth. This even though the LDS Church came out in favor of the proposal.
-- Changed his Facebook profile pic to a skewed version of the Human Rights Campaign's equality logo, saying his version meant "not equal"
-- Wonders why LGB people are not "embarrassed" of T: "One of the truly strange things about the gay-rights movement is how free they are with their strangest cousins. You would think that even gay men and lesbians might be rather embarrassed by the T in LGBT. But so bold are they, so fearless, that they now lead with the T. Most Americans are rightly put off by such displays of obvious psychological disturbances."
Austin Ruse [GLAAD CAP]
Frankly, what's more surprising is that the American Family Association actually did take some action. Yes, Mr. Ruse made a call for murder (which he of course later defended as being in jest), but AFA radio hosts reliably say terrible, horrible, no good things that deliberately seek to dehumanize LGBT people. And in all of my years of listening to hosts like Bryan Fischer call for us to be rehabbed like drug addicts, I've never once heard anything resembling an apology, and I've certainly never heard anyone at AFA express any sort of a need to moderate the tone. I had come to believe that the AFA Radio network was a free for all and that hosts had carte blanche to turn the heat to its highest levels.
Now we learn that threats of homicide are apparently the line, and that's genuinely good that the AFA took action. However, if AFA really wants to change its culture, then this organization and its minders are going to have to do a lot more self reflection. That someone like Mr. Ruse felt so comfortable to say something this shocking is a systemic problem, as if the fact that a regular listener like myself is as (if not more) surprised by the AFA's rebuke as I am by Mr. Ruse's initial quip.