When the American Family Association stripped Bryan Fischer of his titles last month, I wondered if the organization planned to soften its right-wing stance. Not by a long shot!
This week, the right-wing American Family Association debuted its "Bigotry Map", intended to expose "anti-Christian bigotry in America". The map, reminiscent of the Southern Poverty Law Center's map of active U.S. hate groups, pinpoints LGBTQ, atheist, and humanist groups in the U.S. that allegedly practice anti-Christian bigotry.
"The American Family Association has identified groups and organizations that openly display bigotry toward the Christian faith.The AFA's propaganda is beyond ridiculous. For example, it describes LGBTQ groups on the map as advocating for the "legalization and promotion of same-sex marriage and viciously attacks Christians who exercise their First Amendment right to voice support for God’s plan for marriage as between one man and one woman." For some reason, the AARP appears on the map as an LGBTQ group.
These groups are deeply intolerant towards the Christian religion. Their objectives are to silence Christians and to remove all public displays of Christian heritage and faith in America."
The map describes atheist and humanist groups with equally vitriolic language. Alleged "anti-Christian" groups, such as chapters of the ACLU and Americans United for Separation of Church and State, are smeared as allegedly engaging in "the complete eradication of the Christian faith from society, government and private commerce." AFA accuses such groups of "fil[ing] lawsuits and use intimidation to silence any reference to Christianity from the public square."
The AFA reserved special ire for GLSEN, Human Rights Campaign, the Freedom from Religion Foundation, and the Southern Poverty Law Center. For example, the map describes GLSEN as a sinister group that "infiltrates public schools with pro-homosexual indoctrination tactics, confusing many young people and misleading them into making dangerous and unhealthy lifestyle choices that will negatively affect their entire lives." Human Rights Campaign allegedly bullies corporations until they "embrace sexual perversion", while the Southern Poverty Law Center "falsely disseminates this information to liberal news media."
The map appears to be poorly researched, as several LGBTQ and church-state separation groups are missing. I was disappointed when I discovered that LGBTQ and humanist groups in my region were absent from the map. To boot, Human Rights Campaign claims that the map shows several offices that do not exist.
AFA's "Bigotry Map" is absurd for several reasons. First, none of these groups are persecuting Christians. None of the listed groups seek to harm or deny rights to Christians in any way. Contrary to Religious Right whining, upholding the rights of LGBTQ people, atheists, and humanists does not impinge on Christians in any way.
Second, the map demonizes civil rights groups that defend vulnerable populations. The Southern Poverty Law Center is steadfast in its condemnation of racist, anti-Semitic, homophobic, and violent extremist groups. Human Rights Campaign and GLSEN have spoken out against the actual oppression of LGBTQ people. Freedom From Religious Foundation respects church-state separation, a founding principle of the U.S. None of these groups resemble the AFA's hateful caricatures.
Let's be frank. None of this is about Christian "persecution". The "Bigotry Map" is another example of the Religious Right raging at anyone who questions its agenda, denies special privileges to right-wing Christians, or speaks out against intolerance. The outrageous reversals and victim rhetoric of the map are indicative of the Religious Right's persecution complex, but they do not reflect reality.
To read additional commentary, visit the following links.
Human Rights Campaign: American Family Association’s “Bigotry Map” Misses the Mark, Big Time
Friendly Atheist: American Family Association Creates “Bigotry Map” Featuring Dozens of Atheist, Humanist, and Pro-LGBT-Rights Groups
Right Wing Watch: The AFA Strikes Back With Its Own Anti-Christian 'Bigotry Map'
Good As You: The AFA's 'Anti-Christian Bigotry Map' Is the Most Unintentionally Hilarious Thing You'll See Today