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Christian Right Insiders Reveal Racism, Virulent Anti-Immigrant Attitudes and Homophobia in Prominent Religious Group

"I'd much rather be working in the secular world than for a ministry," said the founder's former secretary, still a conservative and devout Christian. "The secular world is nicer."

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The following year, in an exchange between Jackson and Don Wildmon on the radio, Wildmon claimed the immigration issue was a conspiracy between "mainstream media" and "undocumented immigrants" to "weaken the red states." Jackson added, "Because we know the vast majority of mainstream journalists are liberal in their theology and in their politics, they see these people as helping to vote Democrat in the coming elections."

From Boise To Tupelo

Even before Fischer started with the AFA, Groening was hailing his anti-immigration work in Idaho, where progressives had endured years of Fischer’s vitriolic activism as head of the Idaho Values Alliance, the AFA affiliate run by Fischer, his wife, and daughter.

Leo Morales, an Immigrant Rights Organizer with the Idaho Community Action Network, said Fischer "has a very strong immigrant restrictionist perspective," and "was involved in opposing efforts around creating in-state tuition opportunities for undocumented students. He was also involved in pushing for legislation that would deny public benefits to undocumented immigrants."

According to Jody May-Chang, an independent journalist and LGBT rights advocate in Boise, while executive director of the Idaho Values Alliance, Fischer hosted anti-gay activist Scott Lively, former head of AFA's California affiliate, as part of a "Shake the Nation" conference, in 2008. In his new book, C Street: The Fundamentalist Threat to American Democracy, Jeff Sharlet describes Lively as a "catalyst" for the draconian Anti-Homosexuality Bill in Uganda, which calls for the death penalty for homosexuals. During a 2009 visit to Uganda, Lively likened gay people to Nazis and suggested they had instigated the Rwandan genocide. In early 2009, One News Now promoted Lively's book, Redeeming the Rainbow: A Christian Response to the Gay Agenda, as a "textbook on family values." On his radio show this year, Fischer claimed that criminalization of homosexuality was mandated by biblical law.

The Lively visit to Boise sparked a "visceral response" from the community, said May-Chang, including a letter from the Interfaith Alliance of Idaho, calling on a local church hosting the conference speakers to reconsider. Rusty Thomas, also a Shake the Nation conference speaker who works with the radical anti-choice group Operation Save America, referred to the Interfaith Alliance in an online report as "the synagogue of Satan and heresy." In the report, Thomas claimed his group was "storming the gates of hell in Idaho," where they "went to the local death camp" (Planned Parenthood), and described the "sodomites" who protested outside the church where the conference was held. Thomas added that they "challenged the Church, and particularly men, to connect their testosterone with Biblical Christianity."

In an online column, Fischer defended Lively's preposterous and debunked "history" of a Nazi-gay link, claiming "the masculine homosexual movement in Germany created the Brown Shirts, and the Brown Shirts in turn created the Nazi Party." In a column earlier this year opposing repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell, Fischer recycled that 2008 column, adding, "Even today in America, it is chic in some homosexual circles for individuals to wear replicas of Nazi Germany uniforms, complete with iron crosses, storm trooper outfits, military boots and even swastikas."

Speaking of Fischer, May-Chang added, "I would venture to say that he would've joined Scott Lively in Uganda if he could've." Calling him "an embarrassment to fair-minded Idahoans," May-Chang said that his writings while in Idaho made clear that he favored criminalization of homosexuality. She maintains a dossier of Fischer's radical homophobia on her website.

All three former AFA employees who spoke with RD said they were happier no longer working there. Martin has started a blog, where he hopes to spark conversation among Christians about how their message is being "presented, perceived, and received."