“The only thing that will give us a shot at building a democracy in an Islamic land is a mass conversion of its people to biblical Christianity.”
If you just watched the video above, I hope it genuinely shocked and saddened you.
Extreme rightism is a very scary thing and these days the US also seems to also be a scary place, speaking from a liberal European perspective. A radicalization of Islam has undeniably happened over the past few decades, but the ongoing radicalizing Christian conservative fear-mongering in the US is to me just as unnerving, expressions of it ranging from popular phenomena like the Tea Party and the ”Birther movement” to the assassination-attempt on senator Gabrielle Giffords in January. Another sad thing is, if Bryan Fischer was a Muslim instead of a Christian we would probably be using his comments to justify society’s paranoia of Islam instead of giving him money and equipping him with his own radio show. Christian and Muslim extremism are supposedly two opposites, yet the rhetoric and the hate is all the same.
I understand that the vast majority of Americans also distance themselves from extremism, just as only a very small minority among Muslims are extremists. But when I consider that there are in fact people who see the views expressed by Bryan Fischer as being just and blameless, I feel ashamed on their behalf.
When it comes to Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association, the conservative Christian group classified as a hate group by the SPLC, all you can do is brace yourself for the next time he spews out something offensive. He is certainly no stranger to criticism. No wonder, when you consider he has previously stated that “Homosexuality gave us Adolph Hitler … and 6 million dead Jews”. Fischer has also claimed that the clause in the First Amendment of the US Constitution providing free exercise of religion only applies to Christians, making it a mystery why there is such a clause in the first place. In February he stated that the “savagery and sexual immorality of Native Americans” made them “morally disqualified from sovereign control of American soil” as if the European colonizers were on a moral high ground, and only a month ago he made this ridiculously racial bomb comment:
“Welfare has destroyed the African-American family by telling young black women that husbands and fathers are unnecessary and obsolete … Welfare has subsidized illegitimacy by offering financial rewards to women who have more children out of wedlock. We have incentivized fornication rather than marriage, and it’s no wonder we are now awash in the disastrous social consequences of people who rut like rabbits.”
But let’s get back to the video at hand and the claim that Muslims must be converted to Christianity before democratization is possible. I have said before that I very much distrust the notion of Islam somehow being less compatible with democracy than Christianity. I simply see no fundamental difference between the two religions that can justify this view (you are welcome to argue against me). For some mysterious reason however, Fischer seems to take for granted that Islam and democracy are wholly incompatible. He seems to ignore the fact that there are several democracies, and successful ones, in Muslim majority countries. Did he decide to just skip Turkey, Bosnia, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Albania, Azerbaijan, Lebanon and Mali? Notice he at the same time failed to mention that there are Christian countries that have authoritarian or hybrid regimes as well, such as Russia, Belarus, Venezuela, Cuba, Ethiopia and the Congos, just to mention a few examples.
Perhaps someone should inform Fischer that with the successful revolution in Egypt in February 72 million Egyptian Muslims were cheering a new political order – not a new state religion.