Christian Right Insiders Reveal Racism, Virulent Anti-Immigrant Attitudes and Homophobia in Prominent Religious Group
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The report also detailed Tanton's admiration for Taylor, noting how he "promoted Taylor's efforts repeatedly" and encouraged FAIR employees to receive American Renaissance mailings.
Leonard Zeskind, author of Blood and Politics: The History of the White Nationalist Movement from the Margins to the Mainstream, first detailed the Tanton network, including its ties with white supremacist organizations and militias, in a 2005 article in The American Prospect. Zeskind reported that Tanton wrote in 1986, "To govern is to populate . . . .Will the present majority peaceably hand over its political power to a group that is simply more fertile? . . . . As Whites see their power and control over their lives declining, will they simply go quietly into the night? Or will there be an explosion?"
Groening continues to cite Tanton groups as authoritative, tellingly describing NumbersUSA as an "immigration reduction advocacy organization" in an August 2010 piece and citing FAIR in a story claiming that "illegal aliens" would "trump veterans at US medical offices."
Groening also praised a Mississippi immigration raid, citing the Mississippi Federation for Immigration Reform and Enforcement (MFIRE), listed on FAIR’s website as a "local group" and which is promoting an Arizona-style immigration law in Mississippi. According to a 2010 report by the SPLC, "FIRE took the lead last year in coordinating the activities of the often fractious nativist extremist movement," including launching "The Patriot Coalition, an antigovernment outfit battling 'globalism,' 'socialism' and the 'loss of National Identity and Culture.'"
The head of MFIRE, Dr. Rodney Hunt, is also treasurer of the Mississippi Tea Party. MFIRE’s tagline is "To Promote and Preserve National Sovereignty." In a recent press release, Hunt said, "We can't continue to allow the Mexican drug lords, human traffickers and terrorists organizations to enter our country at will or for illegal aliens to continue to take jobs badly needed in our state and across the nation."
Promoting white nativist views may put AFA at odds with its own allies in the religious right. In the early 2000s, Wildmon was instrumental in putting together the Arlington Group, a coalition of religious right leaders formed to fight gay marriage that also aimed to bring more African-American pastors into the fold. The AFA is also a member of the Freedom Federation, a coalition of religious right groups which described its first summit as "multiracial, multiethnic and multigenerational faith-based and policy organizations and leaders committed to plan, strategize, and mobilize to advance shared core values to preserve freedom and promote justice."
Many of the prominent members of the Freedom Federation, including the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention and Liberty Counsel, have expressed support for immigration reform.
Blessed By Americanized Christianity?
Zeskind told RD, "even though the FAIR staff would tell you they are not white nationalists, their concerns are the defense of country, the character of our country, and protection against the future when white people become the minority in a nation of minorities. . . . That's what the anti-immigrant movement is about."
Martin remarked that Groening's attitude toward immigration "goes to the heart of why a lot of the tea partiers and other Christian activists (not all of them) feel the way they do and are so upset. I believe they are afraid that their 'comfortable' lifestyle will be interrupted. They have bought into this idea of Americanized Christianity, that tells them God has blessed them, and evidence of that is their stuff and comfort."
This point of view is reflected in AFA's programming. In 2005, after Antonio Villaraigosa was elected mayor of Los Angeles, Jackson said on the radio, "we don't want to have two nations within our borders that can't communicate with one another... natural hostility will develop."