The Fierce Urgency of Sows

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When we last heard from Bryan Fischer, the American Family Association’s issues director was calling for the public stoning of Tillikum the killer whale, for its role in the death of a trainer at Sea World last spring. “When an ox gores a man or woman to death,” Fischer declared, quoting Exodus, “the ox shall be stoned, and its flesh shall not be eaten.”

The whale was not stoned (in fairness, it wasn’t eaten, either) but Fischer seems undeterred in his assault on charismatic megafauna. Here he is yesterday, reacting to a Los Angeles Times article about Wyoming’s threatened grizzlies:

One human being is worth more than an infinite number of grizzly bears. Another way to put it is that there is no number of live grizzlies worth one dead human being. If it’s a choice between grizzlies and humans, the grizzlies have to go. And it’s time.

It’s hardly an isolated incident; earlier this year, Fischer called the grizzly, “a fierce, savage unstoppable killing machine.” This time, he’s offered a solution: “Shoot these man-eaters on sight.”

The larger message we’re supposed to take from all of this, Fischer explains, is that “deaths of people and livestock at the hands of savage beasts is a sign that the land is under a curse.” That sounds plausible. But I think the most noteworthy thing here is that, for a man who spends his days railing against the animal kingdom, Fischer is actually pretty darn influential.

As Stephanie Mencimer noted earlier this year, Fischer’s venom hasn’t kept him from being included in some of the conservative base’s marquee events
like the annual Values Voters Summit, where he was a featured speaker last year. South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint, and Oklahoma Sen. James Inhofe have both recently appeared on Fischer’s radio show; he’s also curried favor with a handful of incoming congressmen.

Anyway, having already declared war on gay teens, gay teachers, gay judges, gay soldiers, Muslims, unmarried women, Hispanics, Spongebob Squarepants, American Girl Dolls, soup, ketchup, sweater vests, and Olympic sprinter Tyson Gay, I suppose the AFA is just running out of targets. So which unsuspecting mammal should Fischer set his sights on next? My vote: Bambi.

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You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

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