Bryan Fischer Passes Idaho Values Alliance Torch to “Nation’s Abstinence Pastor”

Boise Weekly City Desk Jody May-Chang

By Jody May-Chang
Originally published on Sep. 15, 2010

All traces of Bryan Fischer have been wiped clean from the Idaho Values Alliance website in preparation for Friday’s re-launch of IVA under new president—and abstinence education consultant—Gary N. Brown.

On the website, Brown wrote, “I am known across America as the nation’s Abstinence Pastor, impacting abstinence and marriage-education legislation and policy on every level of government. I have been able to gain the trust of senators and House members, alike.”

Brown told Citydesk he first met Fischer, who left IVA in 2009 for Mississippi-based American Family Association, when he moved to the Idaho panhandle from Atlanta two years ago. Brown left his position as pastor of Coeur d’Alene’s NorthStar Church after 10 months to helm the IVA, saying that he found work like that of IVA’s a better fit for him.

As head of IVA and during his time with AFA, Fischer has been a polarizing figure. Citydesk asked Brown if he shared Fisher’s stance on homosexuality and Islam.

“I am very well aware of some of Bryan Fischer’s positions on issues, and to be honest, I would rather not go there,” he said. “In the future we will have to address issues like that. I mean my goodness, it is a hot button topic … I don’t want any particular issue to take the headlines today.”

Brown plans to recast the focus of IVA toward education and maintains it will have a different focus.

“I am for an open market place of ideas. I will defiantly express opinions in the future, and we may not always agree, but I’ll tell you something: I’ll fight for your right to stand for your beliefs any day.”

Despite Brown’s seemingly greater openness, IVA will remain affiliated with AFA, which currently employs Fischer.

“We are not on a crusade to make everyone Christians, we are on a crusade to help everybody understand the values that went into our Constitution and Declaration of Independence … We are calling on Idahoans to a revival of Americanism,” Brown said.

To Brown, Americanism expresses the values our founders believed in when they wrote the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.

“The Ten Commandments, for example, were huge with the founders and where we get our basic Judeo-Christian Values.”

In one of Brown’s sermons posted online, he talks about speaking to the Pachyderms, a Boise Republican group, about “the church being the gatekeeper of the Constitution” and how he is “looking forward to the day when Christ and his church takes their rightful place again in the nation.”

What is clear is IVA is back. What is not clear is what it will be.