Moms For Liberty claims to be protecting children by attempting to ban books that they deem “obscene,” but, it turns out that they’ve been harboring a sex offender in their midst.
Moms for Liberty is a group with chapters across the U.S., known for filing complaints and challenges in attempts to prevent children and teenagers from accessing certain books, including those that depict LGBTQ characters or acknowledge systemic racism.
Now it’s revealed that one of the pastors involved in their group is on a sex offender registry.
Phillip Fisher Jr. is a pastor with The Center of Universal Divinity in Philadelphia, an author of a book about being a Christian Shaman, an organizer for Moms for Liberty, and a convicted sex offender for the sexual abuse of a 14-year-old boy, taking place in 2011 when Fisher himself was 25 years old.
One Moms for Liberty chair has responded with concern, acknowledging that their group has directly involved Fisher with several events that bring him into contact with minor children and that she in fact has just been working to obtain certification for him to volunteer at a Christmas event for autistic children.
Fisher claims he was set up and was simply desperate to be released from jail. According to the Philadelphia Enquirer:
“Fisher waived his right to a jury trial 15 months later and was adjudicated guilty on one count of aggravated criminal sexual abuse of a minor between the ages of 13 and 17. The charging documents allege that Fisher had oral and anal sex with the 14-year-old boy in January 2011.”
Moms for Liberty Chair Sheila Armstrong expressed surprise and said that she had just received a certificate through the Department of Human Services stating that there is no state record of Fisher committing acts of child abuse.
The conviction, however, was in another state, and Pennsylvania’s Megan’s Law website does list him as an offender (see below).
Moms for Liberty most recently garnered attention as the Florida chapter sought a police response over a 17-year-old being allowed to check out a novel, Storm & Fury by Jennifer L. Armentrout.
That book opens with a teenage girl fending off unwanted sexual advances from a boy (spoiler: it’s far less about the sex than the supernatural aspect, and her physical strength is a factor).
Though no sex takes place, the complainants argue that the book is “porn.”
Surprise — it’s soon revealed that the school these teens attend happens to be run by a married couple, both men.
That’s a similar thread throughout many of the books the group challenges: There may or may not be any actual sexual content, but there are LGBTQ characters.
It raises an additional level of irony since the victim in their male organizer’s conviction is a male child.Steph Bazzle covers politics and theocracy, always aiming for a world free from extremism and authoritarianism. Follow Steph on Twitter @imjustasteph.
Steph Bazzle is a news writer who covers politics and theocracy, always aiming for a world free from extremism and authoritarianism. Follow Steph on Twitter @imjustasteph. Sign up for all of her stories to be delivered to your inbox here: