Bryan Fischer, in his continuing effort to rid the “American Family Association” of any remaining shreds of legitimacy, has been making some rather astonishing statements. Exhibit A might be his recent assertion that, because they failed to convert all Muslim Iraqis to Christianity, the 4,403 US servicemembers who lost their lives in Operation Iraqi Freedom died for nothing. For no reason other than the constitution of Iraq as an Islamic Republic, Fischer calls the conflict “a tragic waste of American blood and American treasure.”
Here he is again, having a hissy fit because a high school football team in Dearborn, Michigan has altered its practice schedule to accommodate the religious practices of Muslim students (who are the majority on the team) during the month of Ramadan. Evidently, the Apocalypse is nigh:
Let’s be clear here. Dearborn, Michigan has now become a Muslim enclave, a Sharia enclave encircled by sovereign U.S. soil.
Really? This might be more convincing if it didn’t sound just like some 1920s screed targeting them dang fur’n Catholics and their treasonous loyalty to Rome. But it does, and to quote Mr. Fischer, it was published on a blog “right here in the United States of America.” Isn’t he fortunate to have our First Amendment protecting his right to say stupid things?
He goes on to explain that Islam “is not a religion so much as an entire, totalitarian ideology that is determined to control every aspect of life, right down to when you can practice football.”
Can you imagine? A faith tradition that actually expects you to think about what you’re doing even when you’re not sitting right there in church? One that requires the faithful to practice certain rituals and diets at certain times of the year, and provides rules for conduct in every aspect of your life? I can only conclude that Bryan Fischer is one of those “Sunday Christians” who doesn’t let his religion interfere with his real life too much (although he seems to have established a career based on letting it interfere with other peoples’). This notion of “separation of church and life” as what defines a bona fide religion as apart from “an entire, totalitarian ideology” will come as a surprise to many Christians, including certainly the ones at my church.
It will also come as a surprise to Christian Nationalists like Michael Farris and Chuck Colson, who I think would argue that their “biblical worldview” is comprehensive and inseparable from their political activism, work and family life. So comprehensive, in fact, that it’s used as justification for being rude to strangers, denying established scientific fact, bearing false witness about legislation, controlling adult children’s dating relationships, physically abusing and silencing young people, crushing academic dialogue, demanding special exemptions from normal job requirements, dehumanizing minorities, and generally using litigation and the legislative process to withhold basic rights from other citizens. There is literally no aspect of life where these busybodies don’t think their religion entitles them to intrude, including inside other people’s bodies. You might even call it an entire, totalitarian ideology.