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Vander Plaats: Bryan Fischer doesn’t speak for me
Bob Vander Plaats says he won’t denounce the American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer for statements he made about the Medal of Honor being “feminized,” saying the controversial conservative leader and his group “do not speak for me.”
Tuesday, Fischer wrote on his blog that while Army Staff Sgt. Salvatore Giunta of Hiawatha certainly earned the Medal of Honor he was just awarded by President Barack Obama, it was time we stopped rewarding only those who saved lives and also rewarded those who took enemy lives. Giunta earned the medal by rushing into enemy fire to aid fellow soldiers during a harrowing battle in Afghanistan in 2007.
Several Iowa veterans, along with the LGBT-rights group One Iowa, called on Vander Plaats to publicly denounce Fischer for the statements. But despite numerous ties to Fischer and the American Family Association — which includes AFA spending $140,000 on Vander Plaats’ successful campaign to oust three Iowa Supreme Court justices and an appearance by Vander Plaats on Fischer’s radio program — Vander Plaats says he won’t answer for something someone else said.
“As the son of a World War II veteran, I understand the sacrifices those in the U.S. military such as Staff Sgt. Giunta make to preserve our liberties and freedoms,” Vander Plaats said in a statement to The Iowa Independent. “It is disappointing a group would try to settle a score and try to make me accountable for words that aren’t mine. Bryan Fisher and AFA do not speak for me or Iowa For Freedom, and we don’t speak for them.”
Vander Plaats has previously faced criticism for his association with Fischer and the AFA. Last month, a group of religious leaders labeled the AFA an “extremist hate group” and called on Vander Plaats to “denounce hate-filled comments” Fischer has made.
Fischer has said homosexuals should be barred from public office and called gay sex “domestic terrorism.” He said Muslims should be imprisoned because “that’s not religion, that’s treason,” and argued that inbreeding may have done “irreversible damage to the Muslim gene pool, including extensive damage to its intelligence, sanity, and health.” On women, Fischer agrees with U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint that unwed mothers should not be allowed to teach in public schools.