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Bryan Fischer, Idaho Values Alliance director, has announced he is moving to Mississippi to host a radio talk show. Fischer has hung around the Statehouse a lot in the past few years, lobbying for anti-everything causes. His ideas and proposals consistently try to legislate rights away from certain groups of people, but grant special rights to others. He’s horrified by yet strangely obsessed with homosexuality, and has tried to legislate it away with his promotion of a successful anti-gay marriage constitutional amendment and his opposition to other legislation. He also likes to try to link homosexuality to Naziism. In fact, Fischer spends a lot of time writing about Nazis, and his historical interpretations are garbled and without true scholarship.

Editorial: Fischer’s Fanaticism is Leaving Idaho

Bryan Fischer, Idaho Values Alliance director, has announced he is moving to Mississippi to host a radio talk show.

Fischer has hung around the Statehouse a lot in the past few years, lobbying for anti-everything causes. His ideas and proposals consistently try to legislate rights away from certain groups of people, but grant special rights to others. He’s horrified by yet strangely obsessed with
homosexuality, and has tried to legislate it away with his promotion of a successful anti-gay marriage constitutional amendment and his opposition to other legislation.

He also likes to try to link homosexuality to Naziism. In fact, Fischer spends a lot of time writing about Nazis, and his historical interpretations are garbled and without true scholarship.

He’s against Hindus and Muslim congress members, sex education which includes information about contraception, the legitimacy of global warming, the legitimacy of science and scientists, the science of evolution,
Sonia Sotomayor’s Supreme Court appointment, abortion rights, practically all immigration, co-ed bathrooms, hate crimes legislation, and possibly the right to stand still, or so it seems. This list is by no means exhaustive of the things Fischer opposes.

He consistently ignores or misinterprets legitimate scientific research to suit his brand of thinking which, by his own description, is “right-wing extremist.”

It’s hard to tell what he’s for.

Whether Christian, Muslim, or The Church of the One True Everything, religious extremism and absolutism is fanaticism. Fanatics of any kind lead the way to intolerance, which leads to violence. We need only look to the weekend murder of Dr. Tiller in Kansas by an anti-abortion fanatic to see that it’s so. Though there is no evidence that Fischer’s actions have led to direct violence, Idaho has one of the highest teen suicide rates in the nation. Writes state senator Nicole LeFavour, “Typically in any state about 1/3 of all teen suicides are related to teens struggling with coming out or with conflicts within themselves as to whether or not they are gay. If a parent were inclined to be uncomfortable with their child being gay, sure enough Bryan Fischer would be in the paper…” Fischer made it harder and harder for gay kids in Idaho to find acceptance, and for that, his actions are more than deplorable – they’re dangerous.

Fischer takes his fanatical thinking to the political table, where it is illegitimate because it is based on his personal religion. But since he doesn’t believe in the separation of church and state, that isn’t a problem for him. “All political power has been delegated by God,” he says. (That doesn’t seem to apply to the election of President Obama, however.)

Like most people, Fischer is polite. You’d never know he harbors ill will toward so many people without acknowledging it. One example of this occurred in the Statehouse during the 2008 session, when he met then-Rep. LeFavour, who is openly gay, in a hallway. Fischer was involved in passing anti-gay legislation at the time. “Don’t take it personally,” he told her. LeFavour, always ladylike and restrained in personal encounters, stared in disbelief at him before asking him how could she not take it personally, when he was trying to make laws against her individual rights and family life? As for me, how can I not take him personally when he is part of a movement that made my beloved Uncle Karl, a university librarian and scholar, hang himself because of the pain of life in the closet? When he believes my gay friends don’t deserve the same rights as me – and him?

This week, LeFavour blogged, “Nationally, efforts to divide our country over gay people have worn thin but I’m sure Fischer will find others to demean and condemn. I send a quiet apology off into the rain today to the people of Mississippi. I’m sorry you get him now.”

Living an ethical and fulfilling family life without religious belief is not possible in Fischer’s thinking, nor is it a legitimate choice for you – because he can’t fathom such a thing. And he fancies himself the arbiter of what is pro-family and what isn’t.

My own encounter with Fischer, which occurred before I joined NewWest.Net, was along similar lines. At a public event he greeted me warmly. I asked if I could ask him a serious question, and we stepped aside for a moment.

“Why don’t you think I’m pro-family?” I asked. “I’m in a happy 25-year-long marriage. There have been no divorces in two generations on both sides of the family. My parents were married 50 years. We have two children who got good grades and were never in trouble, and we raised them ourselves at home. Our daughter is now in college getting high grades. She does regular volunteer work on campus. Our son is serving in the military, as has almost every male in the family for three generations. Nobody in the family has ever been arrested or on drugs, or on welfare. My husband was a Boy Scout leader and I volunteered in the public schools for hundreds of hours. We give to charity and never miss voting in an election. What about me and my life is anti-family?”

Fischer gave me a polite, blank stare and said something to the effect that we’d just have to disagree.

Fischer’s infected, relentless negativity is apparently part of his temperamental makeup. Claiming he is pro-family and pro-life when his views and his writing is neither is one of his many hypocrisies. His intolerance of our right to have different world views, religious beliefs or lack of them is bad enough, but he closes off any disagreement or discussion of those ideas by running a website he calls a “blog.” Since it doesn’t allow for comments it’s hard to consider it such. As Kevin Richert of the Idaho Statesman wrote, “Fischer recognized the immediacy of Internet politics, but ignored its interactivity. And I think that’s a mistake.”

My tolerance of Fischer’s views is different: I acknowledge and support his right to have them, discuss them and present them. But I don’t acknowledge his right to inflict his religious beliefs on me, especially using the political forum instead of a house of worship.

Fischer has inflicted profound pain on people during his years in Idaho, something he also refuses to acknowledge. Worse, he writes and acts under the name of his God, and Jesus, when the lessons of both preach love, understanding and compassion. But he could even twist that around to claim he is being compassionate by trying to lead people in what he believes to be the only moral direction – his direction.

Those of us who believe that true moral direction can come from many sources, including human thinking and scientific inquiry; that persecution of others is an immoral choice Fischer makes; that mixing religion and politics is an immoral direction; and that he has promoted an atmosphere where it is legitimate to claim something but act differently are relieved to see him leave Idaho. At the same time, we know it doesn’t solve the global problem of fanaticism or the national problem of intolerance, and so the positive work of people who promote the best possible life – for all of us – must go on.

Here is another NewWest.Net writer’s view about Fischer’s departure.

About Jill Kuraitis

Jill Kuraitis is an award-winning journalist who specializes in news of Idaho and the Rocky Mountain West. Her B.A. in theatre management is from UC Santa Barbara, and she went on to work in theatre, film, and politics before writing became a career. Kuraitis has two excellent grown children and lives in Boise with her husband of 30 years, abundant backyard wildlife, and two huge hairy dogs.

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34 comments

  1. Bravo, Jill — an excellent and thorough article. All I would add regarding the hatemongering Mr. Fischer would be: good riddance to bad rubbish, and don’t let the door hit your ass on the way out.

  2. Good riddance, Bryan Fischer. Idaho will be richer without you and your hate-filled agenda. I’m always suspicious when a man of God gets too comfortable with publicity. Your ego became your master, and peace and love took a back seat.

  3. Catherine Butler

    Well said, Jill!

  4. I think it’s mean of you to try to confuse poor Fischer with facts. If you were really pro-family you would understand this.

  5. Now, Jill, it’s common knowledge that Hermann Goering was gay, in fact, into bondage. And Julius Streicher was a pedophile. Of course this is cogent to contemporary Idaho politics,how could it not be?. I actually feel sorry for Fischer. He should be pitied. After all, he had to endure close up what the rest of us only get from a distance. He was interviewed by Jill Kuraitis, the Brenda Starr of Boise, and is now painfullly privy to Brenda’s –I mean, Jill’s– story: Crusading journalist-who-also-has-time-to-be-a-super-wife-and-mom. All that community service; all those kids with great grades. And I bet they didn’t even have any cavities the last time they went to the dentist. Jill, you’re a marvel:equal parts Martha Stewart,Michelle Obama, and Maureen Dowd. I’ve got to hand it to you, 3M. How do you do it ?

  6. I don’t know Fisher, but he seems to have a grasp of history. And you know what they say: “Those who don’t know history are destined to repeat it.”

  7. Fischer’s fanaticism isn’t gone from Idaho, someone else will step up and take his place. Zeb Bell comes to mind, but there are plenty of others, especially from the IDEA clubs on the campuses, that can spew just as much hate, and do it while garnering a larger youth following.

  8. Bill Croke, having nothing to say to rebut Ms. Kuraitis’s facts, is left only with the alternative of tearing her, personally, apart. Nice, Bill, nice.

  9. Julie Fanselow

    Excellent post, Jill. Thank you.

  10. Jill, your editorial is the best legitimate criticism of Fischer that I’ve seen, since he announced his impending departure. (Does it seem odd that he has to relocate to Mississippi, to do a radio talk show? It’s the 21st Century – a radio talk show can originate from pretty much anywhere! Maybe the acoustics are better down MS way, or something…)

    While I’d never describe myself as “right-wing extremist,” I definitely lean “conservative”… more so fiscally than socially. And I’ve never considered Mr. Fischer to be my spokesman. Obviously you’re much more familiar with “The Gospel according to Bryan Fischer” than I’ve ever been. (However I favored the “Marriage Amendment,” as did a majority of my fellow citizens. You can’t go changing definitions in the dictionary, just because you don’t like the traditional definition.)

    Liberals can and should learn something from Bryan Fischer… the zealots and fanatics of their movement are arguably doing more harm than good.

    Take the “gay issue,” for example.

    If gay folks go about quietly living their lives – as do the vast majority of straight folks – most of us “conservative types” are happy to live and let live. In fact, many would support your right to have the same state-recognized benefits as traditional married couples. But when you try to impose YOUR standards and mores upon all of society, or force us to embrace YOUR viewpoint, you’re likely to have backlash, whether you’re Bryan Fischer or the In-Your-Face Militant Gay Pride Drag Queens On Parade, or whatever.

    (No offense intended. I hope my point isn’t misunderstood. “Can’t we all just get along?”)

  11. Yeah, back into the closet with those damn gays! As long as they stay quiet, and separate, then everything will be OK.

    As well, it is OK to take away the rights of a minority by the majority, just because the bible says so.

    While you may not have kept up with him, bikeboy, you echo so many of his posts with alarming alacrity.

    As well, I assume that bikeboy is more than up to date on the actual history of marriage, or is he only talking about how the Christian culture has absorbed it and framed it as their own in this country? Maybe a history lesson on marriage might be in order. The current government intrusion into marriage makes it less of a religious matter and more of an equal rights matter. Again, that is another area where Fischer and bikeboy seem to have a willful ignorance of the history.

  12. Fischer doesn’t sound all that different from most republicans I know…

  13. Nice Article Jill.

    I have known far more creepy religious zealots than flaming drag queens. It should be no ones business what we think of them unless we are harming fellow citizens. Covert actions against a segment of our population is evil and the Bible tells me so.

  14. Bikeboy, I think much of the problem is that “separate but equal” is never actually equal. Many same-sex couples (though not all, clearly) would be perfectly happy calling their unions something other than “marriage.” The problem is that it’s been tried and it doesn’t work. It’s not equal.

    And that’s why “it’s come to this,” with same-sex couples demanding “marriage.” They tried something lesser and it was just that — something lesser.

    Does that make sense to you?

  15. Well spoken, Jill, and thank you for the great news!

    I witnessed Fischer’s peculiar, illogical diatribes in the Legislature on numerous occasions, and remain astounded by his shameless knack for spouting inaccuracies and absurdities with a straight face. The worse part was that so many legislators ate up his vile rants like kids in a candy store.

    I strive to respect my adversaries, but found it impossible in this case. Good riddance, indeed.

  16. Yes, Jay, I would agree that we need less “Ideas Clubs” (whatever they exactly are, I admit ignorance) on college campuses. Ideas off campus, I say! Make room for diversity!!!!

  17. Speaking of willful ignorance, here is Bill Croke! A dollar late, but don’t let that stop your incredible wittiness.

    IDEA: Intelligent Design Education Awareness. Codewords for putting the bible back in the classroom. The majority of its members tend to be somewhat less than honest with their intentions, much like Bryan Fischer and yourself, Bill.

    Now, instead of trying to be witty, why don’t you try and add actual substance to a New West discussion. A poorly programmed troll bot could easily replace the drivel that you have mindlessly subjected upon the readers of this site.

  18. Sounds like your typical Bitterrooter…hopefullymany of them will follow him South.

  19. “the bible back in the classroom”

    You say that like it’s a bad thing.

  20. Is Kitty a sockpuppet for Bill Croke? Both lack any sort of substance to their posts instead opting for some sort of attempt at sarcasm or wit.

    I’d explain the Establishment Clause, but it wouldn’t do any good. You’d probably play the same game Bryan Fischer does and claim that it only applied to the US Congress.

  21. Great column Jill. Its the go-to article for Bryan’s overdue departure.

    Jesus, bikeboy, WTF? Do you typically discuss a matter by referring to polarizing forces? Your set up of the straw man of the gay agenda lacked one thing, an agenda. When you wanna talk about gay marriage try sticking to gay marriage. Or to put a more accurate way, marriage that no longer excludes gay people. Read your comment and substitute in black people to see how bigoted you sound. To paraphrase: “If those uppity gay people would just simmer down and shut up into their closets we’ll never notice and therefore tolerate ’em.” Well that’s mighty hetero of you. What? You worried they’re gonna make you think of teh gay sex? I don’t think that’s their problem so much as yours. And God knows heteros have nothing like a gay pride parade, except, of course, Mardi Gras in New Orleans or Carnival in Rio. If I wanna go see what happens at a gay pride parade I’ll go to Clayton Cramer’s site.

    And if I want hyperbole I’ll go to Fox News or follow Bryan to Tupelo. But stick your advice in something combustible and smoke it.

  22. Jay, Thanks for filling me in on the IDEA stuff. Interesting. And I’ll leave the troll bots (or is it boats?) to you. I’m basically a libertarian when it comes to what consenting adults do in the bathtub. As for explaining the U.S. Constitution Establishment Clause, Jay, you’re so talented, I think you’d be a great law clerk for Justice Sotomayor when she arrives on the court this fall. In fact, maybe you could explain the Establishment Clause to her. Then she could tutor you in the Empathy Clause, Jay, but you’d have to dismount from your high horse for that. This might be a wonderful career change, Jay. And, Kitty, don’t let Jay bother you. He’s really a nice guy. He just needs to get out of that cubicle more often. Take a hike in the foothills or something, Jay.

  23. See, Bill, thats what I mean, there is nothing of substance in your post. The only thing there is poor attempts at wit and sarcasm, something for which you really don’t seem to have a talent.

    As for Sotomayor, maybe you could explain your problems in a more appropriate venue, instead of an editorial about Bryan Fischer.

    Speaking of him, Bryan attempted to rebuff those that are chronicling his less than stellar time in Boise, unfortunately, it appears he couldn’t even do that without lying and spinning.

    Good Job, Jill. Looks like the bigot finally might be getting an idea of how disliked his particular brand of politics and religion have become.

  24. Thanks for the excellent article Jill.

  25. Jay, “Nothing of substance” in my posts is lib-speak for “it contrasts with the prevailing orthodoxy”. How dare these bigots disagree with our smelly little orthodoxies. Jay, don’t you people in the elite job-educational Boise echo chamber every get tired of agreeing with each other? You’re pathetic. An elite, over-educated, pseudo-intellectual snob who hasn’t read much, but has been staring at computer screens long enough to validate your life with a couple graduate degrees, which enables you to stare down your nose at all those icky conservatives you hate so much. Back to Facebook, Jay.

  26. ” ‘Nothing of substance’ in my posts is lib-speak for ‘it contrasts with the prevailing orthodoxy’.”

    Wrong. “Nothing of substance” is English for “you didn’t use any facts or even make sense.”

    I’m no leftie. Far from it. But people need to use a fact or two now and again or I’m simply forced to write them off.

    If you have information to impart, please do so. If you just want to make snide remarks about people, then others are going to say you have written “nothing of substance.”

    Because: you have.

  27. Jones, You must be in the cubicle next to Jay. But I will try to explain myself. For me –or anybody– to comment seriously on the average Jill piece is impossible. Her bias slaps you right in the face. She’s even had the gall to e-mail me and instruct me in Commentary etiquette. In her latest piece it was all why does this man (Fischer) hate this group or that, or what does he have against me, or my friends-family-cherished beliefs, etc.? Joan and Sharon basically write the same sort of pieces. This must be the Boise School. All the Lefties love it, and then shout down in vicious terms people like me. So I can’t take them seriously because they don’t take their jobs-work seriously. For instance, Joan just wrote about the recent Dr. Tiller murder. Her piece was a cut-and-paste job made up mostly of talking points from the Daily Kos. Give me a break. And they win awards for this sophomoric nonsense?. New West has one true talent, and that’s Bob Wire, who can be truly annoying, but since he’s also somewhat deranged, can also be very entertaining. Jon and Courtney should pay me for this insightful media criticism. I could be the Howie Kurtz of New West. So there you go, Jonesy. Compare notes with Jay. But I’m done with this thread. See you somewhere else.

  28. Jones, I just reread Joan’s Tiller piece. One third Daily Kos. The rest whiny nonsense about what a humanitarian Tiller was.(60,000 abortions). Not to mention a few smears on the the pro-lifers. Nothing to change my opinion there.

  29. I’m flattered to be compared with Joan. Thank you.

  30. Bill – I don’t like Daily Kos so I don’t read it, but FYI I am a pro-lifer myself. I think what Dr. Tiller was doing was wrong and abhorrent. But whether or not I agreed with him did not give me or anyone else the right to carry out our own private death sentence upon him.

    But back to the people who ask why guys like Fischer brand others as anti-family. It is a question I wonder about constantly. I’ve never met Fischer but I know he would not accept me into his “pro-family” fold. Why not?

    The reason people like me ask this over and over, ad infinitum, is because we simply can’t believe that a prominent person like Fischer seems to have made a profession out of branding decent folks like us as “anti-family.” We want justification.

    I don’t like hearing over and over that decent people I know are considered by a guy like Fischer to be anti-family. It’s not right, and I don’t think it’s reasonable for you or anyone else to expect us to sit quietly and accept it.

  31. Saving the lives of thousands of women was abhorrent. Nice to know.

    Just out of curiosity, Jones, what kind of punishment should there be for women who have abortions, if your kind makes it illegal?

    That is a question Bryan never answered, never in his countless posts demonizing George Tiller as a baby-killer and accusing him of genocide or anyone else that stood up for a woman’s right to her own womb.

    I don’t know what Fischer would have castigated you for, but I do know that abortion is a reality that civilization has chosen to live with. Doesn’t being pro-life and hitting your head on that brick wall ever give you a headache?

  32. Jay: read all my comments in this thread, and stop being a jerk.

  33. “For me –or anybody– to comment seriously on the average Jill piece is impossible. Her bias slaps you right in the face.”
    Whereas croke’s bias is more like a rabbit punch or a face butt…

  34. Well, Horst, I’ve always considered you an an expert on Face Butt. Is there a Horst Facebutt page? How many Facebutt friends do you have?