Bryan Fischer Plays Make Believe

OK, this is no big surprise. The man plays make believe about everything. He is a one-man fantasy factory, if the only fantasies you want are blood-soaked epics where minorities persecute majorities until an angel shows up and sickles people into stadia of blood. But what I always find adorable is when he plays make-believe by pretending to know how the law works, and setting up dialogues that read like a five-year-old’s idea of what a court case looks like.

In his latest piece for Instant Analysis, what used to be called One News Now and is the American Family Institute pretending it has a news service (see? They all like to play these sorts of games there), Fischer tries to make the point that even the DOMA and Prop 8 cases going to trail, especially to the highest court in the land, is a loss for his side of the culture wars. I’m inclined to agree on that point, but then he lays out a hilarious fantasy conversation between a judge, as played by Craig T. Nelson (or Jesus, or him. I’m not sure Fischer knows the difference), and a bumbling lawyer who apparently got his law degree yesterday and is played by Jim Carrey on barbiturates.

But let’s begin with his introduction to this greatest court scene since To Kill a Mockingbird.

We are faced once again with the dreary, dismal prospect that one black-robed tyrant, Anthony Kennedy by name, will decide marriage policy for 315 million Americans.

Our Founders must be rolling over in their muskets and powder, aghast at the servile submission of a once-free people.

I bolded the above sentence because I’m somewhat angry at Fischer. Not because of his backward and horrible beliefs, which do sicken me, but because he makes this way too easy. I mean, Ceiling Cat be praised, this is what we expect a parody of a wingnut to say! “Rolling over in their muskets and powder”? Is this because the Founders were famously all shot out of canons upon their death? Is this an allusion that, like the hymn Jerusalem, the Founders slept with dangerous loaded weapons and were buried the way they lived?

Anyway, we continue.

When Prop 8 was first challenged in federal court, this is how that initial court appearance should have gone.

Judge: “The people of California have amended their own state constitution to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman. Mr. Attorney, I’m looking in vain for that article of the federal Constitution that explicitly grants me any authority whatsoever to disenfranchise 7 million voters and set aside a state constitution I do not like. I have read the Constitution forward, backward, sideways, and from right to left and I still can’t find it. Can you?”

Ohhh! Ohhh! Me! I can!

The judicial Power shall extend to all Cases, in Law and Equity, arising under this Constitution, the Laws of the United States, and Treaties made, or which shall be made, under their Authority

That’s actually the entire purpose of the Supreme Court. That’s why it was ruled in Marbury v Madison  that “an act of the legislature repugnant to the constitution is void.” There is a reason why the vast majority of cases that the Court takes up they end up overturning at least part of the law in question, because if the law is valid, they have no need to grant cert in it in the first place. Only in cases where they are actively seeking to establish precedent on contentious legal matters do they take up laws that they then proceed to uphold.

But in Fischer’s world, courts are only good when they support god’s law, as read by Bryan Fischer.

Anyway, back to Fischer’s Fantasies.

“Well, your honor, it’s implied in there somewhere. Like in the 14th Amendment.”

“Mr. Attorney, I have read the 14th Amendment repeatedly, and I find no mention of the phrase ‘state constitution’ and in particular I find no mention of the word ‘marriage.’”

First of all, see what I mean about our fictional lawyer getting his law degree yesterday? It’s part of this right-wing fantasy that they are automatically smarter than everybody else, but since their reasoning often makes no sense, they have to design their straw men to be so dumb as to no longer be believable. Listen to the recordings from the trial yesterday and tell me if you can imagine Ted Olson (who is a conservative, but arguing for marriage equality) ever saying, “it’s implied in there somewhere”. Also, if you can imagine any judge in the country who hasn’t heard of the ninth amendment and the avalanche of court precedent that a professional reading of any part of the Constitution requires.

“Uh, well, they’re not in there, your honor. But, you know, the Constitution is a living document, so I’m sure it’s grown by now to include all that.”

“Mr. Attorney, I am not interested in some penumbra or emanation, I want chapter and verse. Where does this Constitution explicitly grant the federal judiciary the authority to overturn state Constitutions?”

Well, the above bit where the judicial branch is designed to do just that, and the idea that the federal Constitution is the supreme law of the land, so violations of it, even in state constitutions, are illegal. That one is fish in a barrel.

The funny thing is the line about penumbras and emanations. Conservatives love to rail against this idea, as given name in Griswold v Connecticut that the rights established in the Constitution cover more than just the exact things mentioned in it. However, I think that Fischer would be very upset if, for example, the government said that there is no Constitutional right to attend private schools because Pierce v. Society of Sisters [268 U.S. 510 (1925) was decided by penumbral reasoning. Or that there is no place in the Constitution that says that a court can dismiss a case based on “standing,” which is an entirely penumbral reading of the above quotation from Article III, section 1. How about Sovereign Immunity, which prevents foreign nationals from suing states? All totally penumbral.

He goes on to set out two more entirely hilarious parodies of a court case from his warped imagination, all ending with “get out of my courtroom” Because that’s how the American justice system works. To borrow a phrase, “black-robed tyrants” get to decide on a whim what does and does not get heard at trial. It’s amazing how Fischer promotes capricious decisions by single, unelected people when they’re part of his perverted puppet theater.

We have become so accustomed to the dictatorial actions of unelected fascists on the federal bench that we have failed to see that we are no longer citizens but serfs. We now wait meekly and submissively for nine mini-gods swinging gavels like scimitars to tell us what marriage policy must be, long after we and our elected representatives have settled matters in precisely the manner outlined by our governing documents.
Except for that whole part about the judicial deciding what is and is not Constitutional. Those are also within “the manner outlined by our governing documents.” But, again, that only counts when courts make decisions that Bryan Fischer likes.
Listen, the SCOTUS has made a lot of decisions I dislike. Their abject loyalty to corporate interests really does make my stomach turn, for example, but they are the arbiters of law, not Bryan Fischer and his twisted imagination. I know it’s fun to play make believe, but at one point you really have to step out of your head and deal in the real world where “get out of my courtroom” is not a legal argument and people aren’t nearly as stupid as you wish they were.
Expect to hear a lot of this nonsense in the coming months, especially when the ruling on these two cases comes down, and don’t fall for it. Constitutional literalists are a lot like Biblical literalists: they are absolutely certain that they are reading plain language and, in an effort to make things as simple as possible, just read the parts that give them pantsfeelings about their pre-conceived notions.
Whatever happens in these cases, there is still a lot of work to do. Sometimes, it helps to laugh at Bryan Fischer, just to get a break.

Hit Parade of Stupid

It’s not always easy to keep up with every idiotic thing that gets said these days, but sometimes it’s important to take a moment and reflect on what passes for dialogue this day and age. I want to remind everybody that the people I am quoting are either elected officials, or wield enormous influence.

Shall we begin?

The first on our list is Indiana Right to Life legislative director Sue Swayze who, responding to the Indiana bill that would have legally forced doctors to rape their patients with machines at the behest of the state (it has since been reduced to only one state-mandated rape), sees no problem with sticking ultrasound wands into unwilling women because they’ve clearly had something up there before.

I got pregnant vaginally.  Something else could come in my vagina for a medical test that wouldn’t be that intrusive to me.  So I find that argument a little ridiculous.

Wow. Where to start, where to start…? Well, first of all, Swayze has basically decided that anything that doesn’t bother her shouldn’t bother anyone else. Ok, two can play at that game. I have had a number of medical procedures that weren’t strictly necessary over the years, so I don’t see why somebody else getting one should bother Sue Swayze. Well, since I have no problem with it, guess Sue Swayze can’t either.

Secondly, it’s kind of subtle, but did you catch the slut shaming? Since women have had something up their vagina previously, then that means that they have no right to later say they don’t want something else up their vagina. I mean, what’s the big deal? They’ll have a penis up there, but not an ultrasound wand? Why not? Doesn’t having something up there once, consensual or not, grant communal consent for all of time?

Next on our list is the American Family Association, hate group and purveyors of some of the dumbest and most consistently offensive opinions currently available on the internet. In this case, it’s all about conspiracy theories and spiritual corn storage. (emphasis mine)

The thing that prompted me Bryan is the four groups that are actively working to secularize and destroy America: humanists; atheists; militant homosexuals; and Muslims. All four of these groups got major momentum beginning in the ’60s and ’70s but they dug in their heels and they said: ‘we’re going to work forty years and we’re going to mainstream atheism; we’re going to mainstream militant homosexuality; dare we say it we’re going to see gay marriage legitimized.’ Why can’t God’s people dig in their heels and say: ‘we’re in it for the duration and America will not die on our watch.’
That was AFA radio host Alex McFarland discussing his Project 2026. Just take a look at those four groups, though: humanists, atheists, militant homosexuals, and Muslims. I have two responses to that.
1. Hey! I’m, like two and a half out of four of those! Uh….go me?
2. You forgot feminists, Alex. You’re seriously slipping, man.
This one is endlessly amusing to me since basically he’s saying that in order to combat the shift in culture that’s been happening when people realized how awful the views of people like the AFA are, the AFA needs to be more vocally awful for the next 15 years.
Go ahead and dig in your heels, Alex. That totes won’t turn even more people away.
Oh, spiritual corn, almost forgot. Turns out that earlier generations who were more religious built up good will for us with god, and we’ve been blowing through that by not listening to the mad raving of Bryan Fischer and Alex McFarland. So says Fischer:
So succeeding generations, without even realizing that they are consuming the spiritual seed corn that was accumulated by generations that came before them, have been consuming that moral and spiritual capital and it looks to me Alex like we’re at a place where virtually all of that seed corn is gone and if we don’t once again begin to rebuild that moral and spiritual capital America could be finished.
But it gets worse from there. New Hampshire rep Mark Warden voted yesterday to reduce the punishment for domestic assault in certain cases. Here’s his reasoning:
Some people could make the argument that a lot of people like being in abusive relationships. It’s a love-hate relationship. It’s very, very common for people to stick around with somebody they love who also abuses him or her. … Is the solution to those kind of dysfunctional relationships going to be more government, another law? I’d say no. People are always free to leave.
Yes, because they always have someplace to go and no children to worry about and no fear that their partner will hurt or kill them before they can leave. Mark Warner has no idea what an abuse victim goes through, nor has he ever taken the time to try and imagine it. The world is a simple place to him, and the complex factors that prevent people from leaving abusive relationships are too much brain work for a human defective like him.
Pro-tip: if somebody calls the police about a situation, they are likely displeased by the situation.
Today he apologized, but made it worse.
It was never my intention to minimize the trauma of domestic abuse or in any way demean the victims…how the state gets involved in people’s personal lives is a topic that requires thoughtful debate and should not be reduced to sound bites.
No. No. Fuck you. There is no room for “debate” over whether we should make efforts to stop people from being abused. This kind of libertarian bullshit pisses me off to no end. Another example was Rand Paul who was in favor of blowing up our gas line workers until he realized he was surrounded by moochers who see actual value in human life for some reason, even though it’s not backed by gold or anything.
The problem with people like Paul and Warner is that they have the same view of principle: standing up for what you believe in means letting other people suffer and die for your beliefs.
Finally, in our roundup of stupid, we have Alabama Federation of Republican Women president Elois Zeanah. I saved the best for last. Thanks to Friendly Atheist for transcribing this beauty. Emphasis theirs, but perfect.

Your child or grandchildren won’t be able to escape Common Core materials that are anti-Christian, anti-capitalism, and anti-America. Or that are pro-homosexuality, illegal immigration, unions, environmentalism, gun control, feminism and social justice.


Do you see what’s happening? The Obama administration and progressives have found a way to take away choices from parents and to get rid of competition in education. And to add insult to injury, they’re gonna force us to pay to indoctrinate our own kids.


This is not a novel like 1994. It’s Common Core.

I’m really not sure where to begin? That she addresses what she considers to be a problem by going through the entire right-wing checklist (she didn’t forget feminism, Alex)? Or that she is arguing against education standards by demonstrating that she doesn’t know what the novel 1984 is?

I think I can leave this one on its own. Sort of stands pretty well without me getting in the way.

The thing I need to remind people of at this point is that each of these people, maybe with the exception of Zeanah, holds an incredible amount of power. The only way we can stop people who clearly know nothing about what they’re talking about is to point out when they’re full of shit, don’t let them off the hook, and make sure that they know that what they said and did was wrong. Sunlight is the best disinfectant and all that.