“Our God wins!” Who do you think made this statement on Saturday in the hopes of rallying a group of religious fundamentalists? A. The leader of ISIS; B. A Yemeni militant commander; C. A radical Islamic cleric; or D. Louisiana Republican Governor Bobby Jindal.
The correct answer is Jindal. He made the "our God wins" statement as the keynote speaker at an event sponsored by the conservative Christian organization, the American Family Association. (AFA.) Now, Jindal’s “our God wins” is a more impressive boast than you might first realize. Jindal, who is now a Christian, was raised a Hindu, a faith that features literally millions of Gods. So for Jindal’s new God to win, he is surely fully aware that it has to beat throngs of Hindu Gods. That would likely entail a massive, NCAA March madness-type bracket system pitting God versus God for years of battles.
In any event, the God Jindal and the AFA members worship has apparently been working out and is ready to kick some deity ass. And the way the crowd cheered Jindal’s notion that “my God can beat up your God” tells you a great deal about the AFA.
Now for those unfamiliar with the AFA, here’s a primer. They are a hate group. It’s really that simple. And that’s not just my opinion, but the view of the Southern Poverty Law Center, which named the AFA a hate group for its vicious anti-gay statements over the years.
As the SPLC’s Mark Potok has noted, in recent years the AFA also added Muslim bashing to its repertoire of hate. Apparently if you ask the leaders of the AFA, “What would Jesus do?” they would respond: demonize gays and Muslims.
The AFA, however, can’t simply be ignored. It’s indisputably a powerful conservative Christian organization. Based in Tupelo, Mississippi, it boasts 500,000-plus members and employees more than 100 people. It also operates its own popular radio network featuring Bryan Fischer, a man who is hateful as he is compelling to listen to on the radio.
Republican candidates for president have long visited Fischer's show and teamed up with AFA in the hopes of attracting its followers. And not just the likes of Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum, and Rick Perry, but also more moderate candidates like former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty who went on Fischer's radio program during his failed 2012 bid for president.
Obviously political candidates can seek the support of any group they want. But as we saw recently with Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La), appearing before hate groups such as the white supremacist group he spoke before in 2002, could, and should, come back to haunt you.
So here’s a sample of the AFA’s views so you can understand what they are all about.
Gays are to blame for The Holocaust: “Homosexuality gave us Adolph Hitler, and homosexuals in the military gave us the Brown Shirts, the Nazi war machine and six million dead Jews.” –May 27, 2010, Fischer’s blog.
God will use ISIS to punish America for gay rights: "God will use the pagan armies of Allah to discipline the United States for our debauchery." August 22, 2014, Fischer’s radio show.
Freedom of religion is for Christians only: “I have contended for years that the First Amendment, as given by the Founders, provides religious liberty protections for Christianity only. “ August 1, 2014 article by Fischer.
The Charlie Hebdo attack was God's punishment for the magazine's blasphemy: "They made a career out of taking the name of God, the God of the Bible, the father of the Lord Jesus” which was in violation of the commandment "you shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain." January 9, 2015, Fischer radio show.
Bar gays from serving in public office: “I believe being an active homosexual should disqualify you from public office because it's a form of sexual perversion.” January 8, 2015, Fischer radio show.
Immigrants to the United States must convert to Christianity: Our immigration policy should be, “convert to Christianity, fully assimilate (become an authentic American, not a hyphenated American), and support yourself. If you commit to those things, you are welcome here.” April 9, 2011, Fischer Blog.
And the list goes on and on. Yet Jindal and other Republicans have no problem being the keynote speakers at their event and appearing on the AFA radio program.
Why would a guy like Jindal, an Ivy Leaguer and a seemingly mainstream governor, team up with the likes of AFA? Well, many would say it’s out of political expediency. After all, in the 2012 presidential race, white Evangelical voters accounted for 50 percent of the voters in the early GOP primary contests.
Others would say Jindal is simply desperate. The RCP average of polls shows Jindal in eleventh place out of 12 GOP candidates with only 2.8 percent of support. Jindal is literally running behind the poll’s margin of error.
But then again, maybe we are wrong. Maybe people like Jindal, Perry, Huckabee, and the like align with the AFA because they actually agree with their views. Perhaps they too believe that gays are to blame for the Holocaust, that Muslims and Jews don't deserve First Amendment rights, and that all immigrants need to convert to Christianity?
Sure, these views sound outlandish, but shouldn’t we assume that the politicians agree with the hateful positions of the groups they team up with unless we hear the candidate publicly denounce each one?
If Republican candidates want the support of groups like the AFA, both the general public and the AFA’s followers deserve to know which issues they agree upon and which ones they don’t. Isn’t it time that the media started asking those questions?