Former Idaho Values Alliance leader Bryan Fischer and the American Family Association (AFA) are the subject of a 21-page report published by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC).
The report quotes former Cole Community Church Pastor Roper on Fischer's departure from the church. It also features Idaho Family Forum founder Dennis Mansfield on why he left the church Fischer subsequently founded, Community Church of the Valley, and how Fischer overtook him as the leading evangelist-politician in Idaho.
Fischer left Idaho in 2009 and now hosts a radio show for the Mississippi-based AFA. On Saturday, Republican presidential front-runner Mitt Romney criticized Fischer for using "poisonous language."
Fischer retorted that Romney's comments were "tasteless and tawdry" and that Romney allowed the SPLC, New York Times and People for the American Way to dictate his remarks at the Values Voters Summit where both men spoke.
The authors of the SPLC report, Boiseans Jody May-Chang and Jill Kuraitis, said Fischer called their story a "hit piece" on his show Monday. In a news release, the writers say they repeatedly attempted to reach Fischer for comment but he never returned their calls emails. Fischer also said, "...it’s just amazing the lies and some of the people I used to trust are the source of these lies.”
The story will be published in the winter edition of SPLC's Intelligence Report, which is targeted to law enforcement officials, the media and academics.
The news release from May-Chang and Kuraitis, which was emailed to the Statesman late Tuesday, follows, in full:
Idaho Journalists Expose Bryan Fischer in National SPLC Report
October 11, 2011
Boise, ID – A report published by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), “THE PROPAGANDISTS: Bryan Fischer, the American Family Association & the Demonization of LGBT People," was released yesterday in Tupelo, Miss., the headquarter city of the AFA.
The Propagandist is an in-depth investigative piece about Fischer’s history in Idaho written for the SPLC by Idaho journalists Jody May-Chang and Jill Kuraitis, both of whom have closely followed Fischer’s activities for many years.
Reacting to the report Monday on his AFA radio show Fischer said, “[This] is sort of a hit piece on yours truly I mean there is one distortion, error, lie after another in this piece, I mean it’s just amazing the lies and some of the people I used to trust are the source of these lies.”
Jill Kuraitis, one of the co-authors of The Propagandist said today, “Multiple attempts were made to get Fischer on the record and present his side. He never returned our calls or emails. Fischer had his chance to weigh in and chose not to.”
“Bryan Fischer has done a lot of damage to LGBT people and their families here in Idaho and is now spreading his poison nationally,” added May-Chang. “For years he has been calling us child molesters, disease spreaders, and sexual deviants with impunity. The truth has finally caught up with him. Our reporting is solid."
The Propagandist will be included in the November issue of the Southern Poverty Law Center quarterly magazine, the Intelligence Report.
Jody May-Chang is an independent journalist specializing in LGBT and social justice issues. She lives in Boise with her wife of 15 years and their son. Jill Kuraitis is a journalist who specializes in human rights and Rocky Mountain West issues. She lives in Boise with her husband of 30 years.
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