A new piece from Sarah Posner at Religion Dispatches pulls back the layers of the American Family Association, exposing an even more grotesque side of the group which has, with the rise of Bryan Fischer, become much more closely aligned with the Fred Phelpses and the Peter LaBarberas of the world, often shocking veteran watchers of anti-gay hate mongers with their heightened anti-gay, anti-Islam, anti-woman, anti-everything rhetoric. For instance:
According to former employees of the AFA, the views represented by Fischer are not only tolerated within the organization, but any opposition to its anti-gay, anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant invective—including reliance on white nativist sources in the AFA’s media programs—is dismissed. What’s worse, former employees say, anyone questioning such attitudes as un-Christian is denigrated, and in some cases forced out.
Former AFA employees describe Wildmon—who led the organization until just last year—as an autocratic micromanager incapable of socializing with or showing empathy for his own employees.
Since the elder Wildmon passed the presidency on to his son Tim last year, Fischer has increasingly grabbed the spotlight. According to Allie Martin, who worked as a reporter for AFA’s news service from 1997 until he was fired earlier this year, “there’s really nobody else there who could step into that role.”
“On paper,” Martin said, “Tim is in charge,” and is probably the “only person who could reel him [Fischer] in.” But that hasn’t happened.
Within the organization, “people may not be comfortable” with Fischer’s rhetoric, said Martin, “but they aren’t going to say much about it. They are afraid to say anything about it.”
The piece goes on to speak to former employees who all describe being bullied and belittled by those in authority at the organization, both on a personal and professional level. I wish I found this surprising.
Also unsurprising is the naked racism that seems to flow through the editorial boards at the association’s news source, OneNewsNow:
According to [former employee Allie Martin], [Chad] Groening received a subscription to American Renaissance magazine at the office. American Renaissance is published by white nationalist Jared Taylor, and, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, the magazine and website “regularly feature proponents of eugenics and blatant anti-black racists.” Taylor’s New Century Foundation, which runs the magazine, “also sponsors American Renaissance conferences every other year where racist ‘intellectuals’ rub shoulders with Klansmen, neo-Nazis and other white supremacists.”
A conservative organization headquartered in Tupelo, Miss’ippi, full of racists? Hard to imagine.
Read the whole thing. It’s huge, and it’s almost impossible to excerpt in a way that really gives the full story. Just click.