AFA: Native Americans Lost their Land for Not Being Christians

Wait, what? Yuh-huh, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center:

In a post published Monday on the Rightly Concerned blog – a project of the AFA – Fischer railed on native peoples for not being Christian, claiming it’s their own fault that they lost their land and were forced onto reservations to cope with terrible living conditions.

“Superstition, savagery and sexual immorality” morally disqualified Native Americans from “sovereign control of American soil,” Fischer said. That, plus the superior battle skills of Europeans gave the latter “rightful and legal sovereign control” of American land through what he delicately described as “the right of conquest.” Fischer went on to blame poverty and alcoholism on Indian reservations on Native Americans themselves, because they “continue to cling to the darkness of indigenous superstition” and refuse to come into “the light of Christianity” and assimilate “into Christian culture.” How Christianity would have helped Native Americans adapt to confinement on reservations is anybody’s guess. Fischer was apparently propelled into his diatribe by the Native American blessing at the memorial for the Tucson shooting victims in January – a blessing that drew mocking commentary from others in the conservative media as well. “The continued presence of native American superstition was on full display” at the service, Fischer wrote. The invocation – “such as it was,” in Fischer’s words – was offered by Carlos Gonzales, a Pascua Yacqui Indian. Fischer complained that Gonzales sought inspiration from the Seven Directions, including Father Sky and Mother Earth, rather than “the God of the Bible.”

The post seems to have been removed, and another perspective went up yesterday under the title “Why we shouldn’t justify killing Indians and taking their land.” At least it did in theory—clicking the link only brought up a blank page for me.

This is a wonderland of bigotry and dizzy logic. Even ignoring the long and tangled web of Native Americans and Christianity—including the conversion of some tribes later removed in the Trail of Tears—how is it, exactly, that a lack of Christian belief translates into justification for deportation, oppression, and forced assimilation? For example:

Regarding what he described as the “sexual immorality” of American natives, Fischer noted that certain tribesmen honored the arrival of the Lewis and Clark expedition in the early 19th Century by offering their wives to expedition members for sex. Fischer didn’t explain why such a practice should justify the tribes forfeiting claim to the land – but not so for the white men who took advantage of it.

If Christ said “steal your neighbor’s land and sleep around with his women,” I must have missed it. Perhaps it was in the book of II Opinions?

Ultimately, I suspect this has less to do with anything most people would recognize as faith than with identity politics. The AFA, and Fischer in particular, are scared half to death by anything that might describe an America comprised of anything other than their version of God-fearing (and victorious) Protestant heterosexuals. Their God blesses and mandates a rigid social structure which in turn justifies and makes sense of the otherwise nonsensical American proposition.

It all comes down to this: the American story that Fischer so vigorously defends never happened. That he continues to spout this stuff has less to do with God than with his need to stay on top of the heap. With the minority population continuing to surge in the US, look for voices like Fischer’s to get ever shriller—and ever less relevant to the beautiful, God-given diversity of our nation.


Pass the popcorn: According to Truth Wins Out, the AFA not only removed Fischer’s blog post, they also spiked the piece by Elijah Friedeman condemning it. Follow the TWO link for a good round-up of reaction to Fischer’s piece, including from conservative Evangelicals.

And Kyle from Right Wing Watch has some excerpts from Friedeman’s post:

[I]n the past Bryan Fischer, when challenged on biblical commands to smite the enemy, has refused to answer, stating that a question like that about the Old Testament should be answered by a Jewish scholar. The sudden decision to embrace God’s command to destroy the Canaanites, when in the past he has avoided it, is interesting to me.

Another point Bryan Fischer offers up as a reason for the indians’ expulsion from their lands is their spiritual belief in something other than Jesus. There are many groups throughout history, and even today, who reject Jesus and the influence of Christians. However, that in no way gives Christians the authority to take their land, kill them, break our treaties, and force them to live on reservations.

Since, as Bryan Fischer points out, the United States of America is immoral, using his standards we deserve to be destroyed. Does that mean we should helping our nation’s enemies bring judgment on America? Absolutely not. Our mission as Christians is to love.

We aren’t here to bring or justify judgment; that’s God’s job. Our duty is to love people, to help others, and to share the gospel of Jesus with everyone around us. Hatred paralyzes life; love releases it. Hatred confuses life; love harmonizes it. Hatred darkens life; love illuminates it.

I don’t go in for TWO’s analysis of why the AFA killed the story. I think it’s enough just to say it was offensive and extreme, even for a group that regularly peddles in offensive and extreme. Yeesh.

More butter for you?