Christianity in America is being hijacked. The faith known for Jesus Christ's teaching of "love thy neighbor as yourself" is in danger of being redefined by the far right as: "Hate the gays, Mormons and Muslims."
Just this past weekend, Christian missionaries -- including members of the organization Bible Believers -- traveled to one of the biggest Arab-American festivals in the country to taunt Muslims. These so-called Christians held up a pig's head while spewing hateful words about Islam. In the past, they have also attacked Catholicism as a "false doctrine."
If they were the only Christians spewing hate, they could simply be ignored. But they are not. Alarmingly, some well-known Christian leaders and pastors have articulated thoughts that range from intolerant to truly hateful.
One of the worst offenders is Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association, a Christian organization whose astounding level of anti-gay rhetoric resulted in it being designated as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Fischer recently said on his radio show, "It is altogether right to discriminate against homosexual behavior" because it should not be acceptable to "any rational society." He has called for gays to be disqualified from public office and went so far as to claim that Hitler used gay storm troopers because straight solders would never engage in the brutality of the Nazis.
Toward Muslims, Fischer has called for them to be banned from the U.S. military and proposed that they be required to convert to Christianity before they can become U.S. citizens.
Toward Mormons, Fischer said they are not Christians -- a sentiment echoed by other evangelical leaders such as the Rev. Rick Jeffers, who has called Mormonism "a cult" and "a false religion." Fischer went on to say that Mormons are not entitled to freedom of religion under the First Amendment because that is only for Christians.
Fischer's comments are even more disturbing when you consider that the American Family Association is not some insignificant Christian organization. It boasts more than 2 million supporters. Frequently, well-known Republicans appear on Fischer's show, including Newt Gingrich, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, whom Mitt Romney is considering as a running mate.
Fischer can be matched by Pat Robertson, founder of the Christian Broadcasting Network, who have said that homosexuality is "related to demonic possession" and that non-Christians are "a virus." When asked by a viewer of his TV show if it was OK for a friend to display a Buddhist statue, Robertson's response was: "No, it's not. ... Break it ... destroy it!"
Then there are Christian leaders such as Tony Perkins, head of the Family Research Council, who has labeled gay activists as "intolerant, hateful, vile, spiteful" pawns of the devil who have an agenda that will destroy our society.