The American Family Association's Bryan Fischer isn't wasting any time in the new year. When the conservative radio show host for the AFA returned to the air, he started the year off by stating that those who believe in evolution shouldn't be elected to public office.
We don't share ancestors with apes and baboons. In fact, I would suggest to you that if a politician, if somebody wants to exercise political power and he is an evolutionist, he is disqualified from holding political office in the United States of America.
Coming less than a month after three of the Republican candidates for Texas Lieutenant Governor called for creationism to be taught in public schools, statements like this from the right make the importance of electing progressive candidates ever more clear.
More on Fischer's anti-evolution rant, and full video, below the jump.Fischer's statement, shown in full in the video below, is yet another attempt to push the idea that evolution is somehow equally as questionable as creationism and its partner in crime, intelligent design. When Fischer calls those who recognize science and accept the scientific theory of evolution “evolutionists,” he attempts to present them as a counterpart to “creationists” to place the two ideas on common ground.
This kind of framing lays the groundwork for Republican primaries that push the conversation around important policy issues to the extreme right, and that results in religious arguments being used to support policies that influence everything from public health to the education of Texan children. Though it is certainly easy to dismiss this kind of rhetoric as fringe and extreme, progressives can't discount the impact these extremists with platforms have on public discourse and, in turn, on voters.
If Fischer and his ilk were truly fringe elements with no weight in the conversation, statewide candidates would not be pandering to their primary voters by claiming that religious ideas should be taught in science classrooms. Though he maintained that he did not believe a law should bar those who believe in evolution from seeking public office, he did make the claim that without a religious background, a legislator could not truly understand human worth or fight for civil rights. Clearly, for those like Fischer, human rights are only inalienable if they are endorsed by the right kind of religious practice.