This Week in God

THIS WEEK IN GOD…. First up from the God Machine this week is the latest call from a religious right extremist who, as a celebration of American religion liberty, wants to prevent a major faith group from building houses of worship.

Bryan Fischer, the American Family Association’s unofficial spokesman and the group’s director of issues analysis, writes some rather incendiary stuff. Like most of the people AFA employs, his main area of expertise (and some might legitimately argue, obsession) is in exposing the so-called “radical homosexual agenda.” But Fischer is more than just a less-relevant, grandfatherly version of Tony Perkins. In fact, Fischer’s antics put Perkins to shame. For instance, he has advocated stoning killer whales and even blamed bear attacks on an unwillingness to follow in Jesus’ footsteps.

Like most far-right Christian zealots, Fischer really hates Muslims. Like a lot. Indeed, as Right Wing Watch notes, “Fischer was hating Muslims long before it was the cool conservative thing to do.” In the past, he’s suggested that the “most compassionate” thing to do would be to deport all Muslims back to “Muslim countries.” He’s even managed to fit his two favorite targets into the same conspiracy, theorizing in April that the military is run by “fundamentalist Muslims and homosexual activists.” In a post yesterday, Fischer brings us the crazy yet again, this time calling on the government to prohibit mosques from being built anywhere in the United States. Period.

That’s not an exaggerated characterization. Fischer argued this week that every single proposed mosque in the United States should be blocked — not just in lower Manhattan, but every part of American soil. As the AFA nutjob sees it, all Muslim houses of worship, by definition, are “dedicated to the overthrow of the American government,” and Muslim Americans “cannot claim religious freedom protections under the First Amendment.”

Kyle at Right Wing Watch noted that Fischer declined to endorse the destruction of existing U.S. mosques, which apparently would be excessive. “So you can see how reasonable he is,” Kyle added.

If you’re starting to get the sense that some contingents of the religious right are getting a little too hysterical, we’re on the same page.

Also from the God Machine this week:

* In light of the Roman Catholic Church’s scandal involving the sexual abuse of children, it’s hard to know what the Vatican is thinking: “If Pope Benedict XVI is trying to dig the Catholic Church out of the sex abuse scandal, he only seems to be making the hole deeper. That’s the apparent consensus after it was reported that the pope has rejected the resignations of two bishops in Ireland who asked to quit last December after they were named in an independent report for their lack of diligence and action in the country’s awful history of the sexual and physical abuse of children by priests.” (thanks to reader D.J. for the heads-up)

* Tweeting the Bible may take a long while.

* UCC Minister G. Jeffrey MacDonald laments “the trend toward consumer-driven religion,” which pressures pastors into new roles as entertainers.