THE THREATDOWN IS SUPPOSED TO BE SATIRE…. If you’ve seen “The Colbert Report,” you’re probably aware of the “Threatdown” segment. Stephen Colbert, in a satirical attempt to scare viewers about various dangers, invariably singles out bears as the biggest threat facing America. Indeed, he tends to refer to them as “godless killing machines.”

Of course, Colbert is kidding (at least, I think he is; maybe he really is afraid of bears). When Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association talks about bears, he’s serious.

My friend Kyle at Right Wing Watch noted that Fischer, easily one of the nation’s looniest religious right leaders, didn’t just complain about some recent bear attacks, but also what he thinks the attacks represent. As Fischer put it:

“If it’s a choice between grizzlies and humans, the grizzlies have to go. And it’s time. […]

“God makes it clear in Scripture that deaths of people and livestock at the hands of savage beasts is a sign that the land is under a curse. The tragic thing here is that we are bringing this curse upon ourselves.”

What set Fischer off, apparently, was this LA Times piece on the unusually large number of grizzly attacks in the area around Yellowstone this year. Obviously, the incidents are awful.

But we’ve entered a pretty nutty territory once folks start looking at bears as evidence of America being “under a curse.”

Also keep in mind, as bizarre as Fischer is, he actually enjoys some influence in modern conservatism. Jillian Rayfield noted, “Fischer is a favorite of social conservative Republicans, and even spoke at the Values Voter summit this fall alongside Mitt Romney, Jim DeMint, and other big-name Republicans.”

I’m trying to imagine a liberal activist quite as hysterical as Bryan Fischer, and what kind of influence such an activist might have with the Democratic mainstream. No one on the left seems comparable, but even if there were someone similar, he/she certainly wouldn’t be palling around with Dem leaders.

Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.