You can always count on Bryan Fischer to get reality backwards…or upside down…or something of the sort. “As if through a glass and darkly” hardly begins to describe his problems. His issue today, for which a single issue will not be enough, concerns Republican Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey, seemingly the only Republican of note (outside of Mike Huckabee) to decide not to run for president. What is Governor Christie’s sin? He found hateful comments disturbing.
It all started when a teacher criticized the very constitutional concept of treating everybody equally – in this case, homosexuality. Viki Knox, a public school teacher with more than 20 years of experience and who is employed as a special education teacher at Union High School in New Jersey, didn’t like Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender History Month.
LGBT History Month was supposed to teach tolerance; Ms. Knox reacted instead with intolerance. She took to Facebook to vent, saying that homosexuality was a “perverted spirit” that “breeds like cancer.” She wanted to know why gays think they can “parade [their] unnatural immoral behaviors before the rest of us?”
“Why parade your unnatural immoral behaviors before the rest of us? I DO NOT HAVE TO TOLERATE ANYTHING OTHERS WISH TO DO. I DO HAVE TO LOVE AND SPEAK AND DO WHAT’S RIGHT!”
Viki doesn’t understand how America works, obviously. She seems to think it’s okay to engage in heterosexual behaviors – and though the Constitution says everyone is equal before the law – that it is not okay to engage in homosexual behaviors. What this teacher does not seem to understand is that we all have the same rights, so if she does not have to tolerate anything others wish to do, neither do we, including the practice of her religion if we think it is unnatural and immoral.
But of course nobody is telling her she cannot practice her religion, or believe in or pray to her god, or go to church or tithe or send her kids to Sunday school. We are tolerating her beliefs. She thinks she has the right to say these hateful things but Bryan Fischer is claiming we do not have the right to object, or to criticize what she is saying or doing, or indeed to react to it in any way.
But here’s the thing: if you have a right to say something, I have a right to say something about what you say. And that’s what Governor Christie did. He said something. Asked about the teacher’s comments, he said:
“I think that kind of example is not a positive one at all to be setting for folks who have such an important and influential position in our society,” Christie said this morning on 770 WABC Radio. “I’m really concerned about those kinds of statements being made.”
Christie said he finds the comments “disturbing.”
Bryan Fischer responded by being Bryan Fischer; he went ballistic. As I said, it’s a strange and topsy-turvy world fundamentalists inhabit and so this was Fischer’s solution to the problem: he formed a new organization to celebrate his upside down reality. He calls it “the American Association of Religious Bigots, the AARB for short.” And he did Governor Christie the dubious honor of making him the charter member.
In his blog post Fischer says,
This Christian teacher expressed her opposition to the school’s celebration of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender history by correctly labeling such behaviors as “perverted.” That may sound harsh, but consider the dictionary definition of “perverted:” “Characterized by sexually abnormal and unacceptable practices or tendencies.” So her assessment is not harsh, it’s just true.
Because he exhibited basic – can I say, Christian? – decency, Christie is now “the pseudo-conservative governor” and is somehow guilty of religious bigotry. Fischer says “You are the chief executive officer of your state, and for you to use the power of your office as an instrument of religious bigotry is unacceptable.”
Apparently the teacher is not a bigot because she is just telling the truth, says Fischer, but that’s from his perspective. From any reasonable person’s perspective, the teacher is guilty of bigotry, and therefore Governor Christie is also only telling the truth. Even if we wish to grant Ms. Knox her First Amendment rights to express her opinion we do not thereby abrogate our own. We have a right to speak too.
But Bryan Fischer wants words to mean one thing for Christians and another thing for everyone else. Remember, this is the same man who says the First Amendment actually establishes Christianity as a state religion. He doesn’t inhabit the same world as the rest of us. What he actually wants – and his actions prove it – is not equal rights for Christians and Christianity but a privileged position in our society, a position that allows Christian belief to supersede the Constitution, which happens to be – and not the Bible or the Ten Commandments – the law of the land.
So here Fischer wants to deny Governor Christie his constitutional right of free speech while claiming he violated the teacher’s freedom of religion, saying as a farewell,
“Welcome, Governor! If you change your tune, and actually defend this Christian woman’s constitutional rights, I will happily revoke your membership. For now, wear it as a badge of shame.”
So…what, we let Fischer back into the human race when he shows respect for everyone else’s constitutional rights? Meanwhile, NJ.com reports that,
Union Chief School Administrator Patrick Martin said the district is investigating the comments. He declined to provide any information about Knox, including the grade level, or subject she teaches, or whether any action has been taken.
“We’re going to do the right thing,” Martin said.
Of course, Christie also took advantage of the brouhaha to go after public school teacher tenures, as NJ.com reports:
Christie, who was asked to comment on the brewing controversy, used as an opportunity to discuss his call to overhaul teacher evaluations and do away with the current tenure system. Christie has called for a review process that includes in-classroom evaluations and standardized tests to re-approve teachers every three years instead of life-time tenure.
“I would like to see an examination of how that teacher conducts herself in the classroom,” Christie said.
Governor Christie has already done the right thing; it is to be hoped the school will be good at their word. The only one not doing or saying the right thing is Bryan Fischer, but then, if that were to happen, the world really would be upside down.
Photo from NJ.com