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Republican Likens His Anti-LGBTQ Work to Oskar Schindler Saving Jews

Dan Bishop

The analogy comes from Dan Bishop, the homophobe running in a special congressional election in North Carolina.

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The Republican candidate in a special congressional election in North Carolina has equated his anti-LGBTQ activism with the work of Oskar Schindler, the German industrialist who saved the lives of Jews during the Holocaust.

State Sen. Dan Bishop, who was the architect of North Carolina's infamous House Bill 2, the 2016 legislation that restricted transgender people's restroom access and rescinded LGBTQ rights protections generally, made the Schindler comparison in an email to Kellie Fiedorek, a lawyer with the anti-LGBTQ Alliance Defending Freedom, HuffPost reports. Bishop was seeking to add a "conscience" exemptions clause to a bill that repealed several of the provisions of HB 2 in 2017, after Democrat Roy Cooper succeeded Republican Pat McCrory as governor.

They were discussing how broad to make the exemption, which was designed to shield business operators from discrimination complaints if they had religious or moral objections to serving same-sex couples or other LGBTQ customers. "Whom are we attempting to protect here? Just creative professionals?" Fiedorek asked in an email obtained by a website called Real News NC. Bishop replied, "As Oskar Schindler said, as many as we can." Ultimately, the repeal bill that passed did not include the clause.

Schindler saved more than 1,000 Jews from being sent to concentration camps by employing them at his factories during World War II. He protected them by saying they were essential to the war effort and also by often bribing German officials. Considered a "righteous Gentile" by Jews, he was made world-famous by Thomas Keneally's historical novel Schindler's List, adapted into the Oscar-winning 1993 Steven Spielberg movie of the same name.

A Bishop campaign spokeswoman defended his work on the conscience clause without directly addressing the Schindler comparison. A subsequent email "further explained his thought about the drafting of a religious conscience exemption: '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,'" Jessica Proud told HuffPost.

Bishop is running against Democrat Dan McCready for the U.S. House of Representatives seat from North Carolina's Ninth District, located in and around Charlotte. Another deeply anti-LGBTQ Republican, Mark Harris, narrowly defeated McCready in the race for the seat last November, but state officials nullified that election and called a new one due to evidence of voter fraud by Harris's campaign. Harris decided not to run again, and Bishop easily won the Republican primary in May. Voters will go to the polls September 10 to decide between him and McCready, an entrepreneur and an LGBTQ rights supporter.

This is not the first incendiary analogy made by Bishop. Emails obtained by the Charlotte Business Journal in 2016 showed him likening the LGBTQ movement to the Taliban; the comment came in a discussion of the backlash to HB 2, which included boycotts of North Carolina by businesses and entertainers. In another email, he said the movement "jeopardizes freedom."

McCready strongly condemned Bishop's latest comment. "It's bad enough for Senator Bishop to push his extreme policies that cost North Carolina thousands of jobs, but it's shocking and hurtful for him to compare his work to rescuing Jews from the Holocaust," the Democrat said in an email to The Advocate. "Voters deserve someone who will work for the people, not more hateful attacks. As a dad, a veteran, and a person of faith, I'll keep working to bring us together, to lower health care costs and make our schools stronger. I call on State Senator Bishop to apologize, to end his hateful rhetoric, and talk about the issues that matter for North Carolina families."

The Human Rights Campaign also denounced Bishop's remarks. "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," HRC Associate Regional Campaign Director Hope Jackson said in a prepared statement. "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."

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Trudy Ring

Trudy Ring is The Advocate’s senior politics editor and copy chief. She has been a reporter and editor for daily newspapers and LGBTQ+ weeklies/monthlies, trade magazines, and reference books. She is a political junkie who thinks even the wonkiest details are fascinating, and she always loves to see political candidates who are groundbreaking in some way. She enjoys writing about other topics as well, including religion (she’s interested in what people believe and why), literature, theater, and film. Trudy is a proud “old movie weirdo” and loves the Hollywood films of the 1930s and ’40s above all others. Other interests include classic rock music (Bruce Springsteen rules!) and history. Oh, and she was a Jeopardy! contestant back in 1998 and won two games. Not up there with Amy Schneider, but Trudy still takes pride in this achievement.
Trudy Ring is The Advocate’s senior politics editor and copy chief. She has been a reporter and editor for daily newspapers and LGBTQ+ weeklies/monthlies, trade magazines, and reference books. She is a political junkie who thinks even the wonkiest details are fascinating, and she always loves to see political candidates who are groundbreaking in some way. She enjoys writing about other topics as well, including religion (she’s interested in what people believe and why), literature, theater, and film. Trudy is a proud “old movie weirdo” and loves the Hollywood films of the 1930s and ’40s above all others. Other interests include classic rock music (Bruce Springsteen rules!) and history. Oh, and she was a Jeopardy! contestant back in 1998 and won two games. Not up there with Amy Schneider, but Trudy still takes pride in this achievement.