Newly published emails reveal how North Carolina Republican Dan Bishop once compared his efforts targeting LGBTI Americans to Oskar Schindler saving Jewish people in the Holocaust.
Liberal news site Real Facts NC published the emails in June after obtaining them through a public records request.
Bishop exchanged emails in March 2017 with several conservative figures regarding North Carolina’s controversial bathroom bill, HB2.
Some of the people included in the email chain are Kellie Fiedorek, legal counsel for the right-wing Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF); Tami Fitzgerald of the conservative NC Values group; and John Rustin of the NC Family Policy Council.
When HB2 initially passed in 2016, it forced public facilities to compel people to use the restroom corresponding to their biological sex. Following widespread controversy, lawmakers repealed this portion of the bill in 2017.
Bishop and his colleagues debate in the emails how to minimize the impact of the repeal and promote religious exemptions, which in turn promotes LGBTI discrimination.
What Bishop said
In the emails, Fiedorek asked about beneficiaries of religious exemptions: ‘Whom are we attempting to protect here? Just creative professionals?’
‘As Oscar [sic] Schindler said, as many as we can,’ Bishop responded.
During the Holocaust in World War II, Schindler saved 1,200 Jewish people by employing them in his factories in Poland. Bishop’s comment implies he views his mission of exempting people from anti-discrimination laws as comparable.
In another email, he wrote: ‘Define the right too broadly, bad actors go free by cynical claims of religious belief. Define narrowly enough to protect the people likeliest to be targeted by the real haters.’
LGBTI activists and groups are condemning Bishop’s comments.
‘Sen. Bishop’s comparison of his work with designated anti-LGBTQ hate groups to Oskar Schindler’s life-saving work is shameful, misinformed and downright disgusting,’ said HRC Associate Regional Campaign Director Hope Jackson.
‘But equally as troubling are his close ties these released emails show with anti-LGBTQ extremists. In reality, the ADF has advocated for state-sponsored sterilization of transgender people, criminalization of homosexuality and likened LGBTQ people to pedophiles. No amount of self-glorification can hide who Dan Bishop truly is: a homophobic extremist who threatens the most basic values we share as Americans.’
The Southern Poverty Law Center classifies ADF as a hate group.
Bishop is currently running for North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District in a special do-over election. He is running against Democrat Dan McCready, who initially conceded the election befoe he withdrew it after evidence suggested supporters of Republican Mark Harris committed election fraud.
The state board of elections called a do-over, and Harris announced he would not run again.
The election is scheduled for 10 September.