This weekend, Religious Right leaders and GOP politicians will gather in Washington for the Values Voter Summit, an annual event that highlights the cozy relationship between Republican elected officials and extreme right-wing groups.
The event is hosted by the Family Research Council, a group with a long record of pushing false anti-gay propaganda. And one of the event’s major sponsors is the American Family Association, whose extreme right-wing views are expressed on a daily basis by its spokesman Bryan Fischer.
On Friday, People For the American Way joined with the Southern Poverty Law Center, Faithful America, GLAAD, the Human Rights Campaign, the NAACP and the National Council of La Raza to send a letter to every public official scheduled to speak at this year’s Values Voter Summit, urging them to withdraw from the event.
Among the scheduled speakers are Sens. Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz and Tim Scott and Reps. Paul Ryan, Randy Forbes, Michele Bachmann, Jim Bridenstine, Louie Gohmert, Jim Jordan, Steve King, Steve Scalise and Scott Turner.
The letter [pdf] reads in part:
We understand that you’ve been invited to speak at the upcoming Values Voter Summit being held in Washington, D.C., from Oct. 11-13. Given the demonizing lies about the LGBT community spread by the host, the Family Research Council (FRC), and another major sponsor of the event, the American Family Association (AFA), we urge you to not lend the prestige of your office to the summit.
The FRC has amassed an extensive record of vilifying gays and lesbians with falsehoods – portraying them as sick, evil, incestuous, violent, perverted, and a danger to the nation. Perhaps its most insidious claim is that gay men molest children at a far higher rate than heterosexual men – a claim refuted by all credible scientific authorities, including the American Psychological Association. Yet the FRC has continued to smear gays and lesbians by claiming that pedophilia, in the words of FRC President Tony Perkins, “is a homosexual problem.”
Perkins also says the “It Gets Better” campaign, an initiative designed to give LGBT students hope for a better tomorrow, is “disgusting” and part of a “concerted effort” to “recruit” children into the gay “lifestyle.” One senior FRC official has even argued that homosexuality should be illegal.
The AFA’s Bryan Fischer, who serves as the group’s spokesman and director of issue analysis, frequently blames homosexuality for the Holocaust and Nazi Party: “Homosexuality gave us Adolph Hitler, and homosexuals in the military gave us the Brown Shirts, the Nazi war machine and 6 million dead Jews.” He also promotes the views of the American architect of the “Kill the Gays” bill in Uganda.
Demonizing the LGBT community has consequences. As FBI data demonstrate, it is one of the groups most likely to be victimized by violent hate crimes. Defaming them publicly day after day – as the FRC and the AFA do – only throws fuel on the fire.
The bigotry of the FRC and the AFA is not limited to gays and lesbians. Fischer, for example, has said that African Americans “rut like rabbits” and argued that women should be kicked out of politics and the military. He’s also stated that Hispanics are “socialists by nature” and come here to “plunder” our country. The FRC’s executive vice president, Lt. Gen. Jerry Boykin, has said Jews must be converted to Christianity and has argued that “Islam is not a religion and does not deserve First Amendment protections” – a statement that is antithetical to American ideals.
In 2011, we urged Mitt Romney not to share a stage with the extremists, and particularly Fischer, at that year’s Values Voter Summit. Although Romney still attended, he also made a point of calling out Fischer’s “poisonous language." This year, Fischer was noticeably not listed as a speaker at the summit, although his employer remains a sponsor.
Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) appeared on Washington Watch yesterday with Family Research Council head Tony Perkins, where he spent most of his time asserting that Republicans have a mandate to defund Obamacare because they did so well in the 2010 midterms and never mind that whole election last November.
After Jordan insisted that the GOP-led House should strip funding from Obamacare by using the budget and debt ceiling debates as leverage, the Religious Right leader came up with a brilliant plan to tell President Obama that Congress will only approve military action against Syria if the money comes out of Obamacare: “You could even take it to the issue of Syria. If the President wants to expend resources in going into Syria, maybe you should have to choose between funding Obamacare and funding a war in Syria, can’t do both.”
Of course, conservative leaders were not as concerned with the trillions of dollars spent in the Iraq war.
Ohio Republican congressman Jim Jordan is joining Sen. Jim Inhofe in endorsing the conspiracy theory that the government is buying up bullets in order to limit their availability to gun owners during an interview yesterday with Family Research Council president Tony Perkins, who was the guest host on Sandy Rios In The Morning.
During the program, Perkins praised people for “buying bricks of ammo” and “buying gold” — even though the price of gold is collapsing — adding that he is “buying my kids ammo instead of saving bonds.” Jordan said that “Americans rightly understand that freedom is under attack in this country,” specifically religious liberty and the Second Amendment.
Jordan agreed with Perkins’ contention that the Department of Homeland Security is “hoarding ammunition” as a “way for the President to keep Americans from having ammo by having the Department of Homeland Security and other government agencies buy it all up” and commended Americans for “purchasing a record level of firearms and ammunition.”
Jordan: The reason so many Americans are concerned is, this agency, the Department of Homeland Security, under the leadership — or I would say, lack of leadership, frankly — of Secretary Napolitano, they just don’t have any credibility, Americans don’t trust them. There have been a number of instances over the last several years and several months that have led to that lack of trust and lack of credibility and that’s why you see the concern and frankly that’s why we had the hearing.
Perkins: We’re talking about a hearing that took place last Thursday with the Department of Homeland Security and their kind of some are saying hoarding ammunition.
Perkins: That’s part of the concern is that this is another way for the President to keep Americans from having ammo by having the Department of Homeland Security and other government agencies buy it all up.
Jordan: Yep. Too things are happening, you are exactly right, Americans are purchasing a record level of firearms and ammunition. I think it points to just the lack of trust they have in this administration and this administration’s attack on our Second Amendment liberties and our Second Amendment rights and Americans are justifiably concerned about that.
Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) talked to Family Research Council president Tony Perkins at a recent FRC summit where Perkins asked the congressman how he viewed the increase in turnout of evangelical voters in the Republican presidential primaries. The congressman, who also chairs the conservative Republican Study Committee, said that the energy among conservative Republican voters this election year is a generational moment that he compared to the Biblical account of Esther delivering the Jews of Persia from genocide, the Founders defeating King George III, the Union Army in the Civil War ending slavery, and the Greatest Generation overcoming the Great Depression and battling the Nazis.
Jordan: There is an anxiousness that American feel about their country, they think there is just something not right and they feel this anxiousness, they know there are real concerns, a real change in direction, a real change from what we view and value of what America has always been so you are seeing people of faith step forward and participate in a big way, which is exactly what we want to see happen. I love the example of the teenage girl, and everyone in this audience knows this story but it’s so important to think about this, the teenage girl who saved her people and the best line in that narrative is when her relative said to her ‘Esther, maybe the only reason you’re at where you’re at is for such a time as this,’ and I think Americans get that, I think Christians get that, they understand, this is a critical time.
John Fund, I heard him give a speech and it’s interesting, and it kind of parallels what Senator Blunt said, he said it’s every third generation that has to do something big in this country. He started with the Founders who put it on the line, lost their lives and many of them lost their business, we remember Franklin, Jefferson and Adams but most of them lost everything, and then it was three generations later when we had this evil of slavery that Americans said ‘we will get rid of this and we will keep the union together,’ three generations later those people in America at that time said we can deal with the Great Depression and we can deal with the evils of Nazism in the Second [World] War and we can with that. And they did it. Now here we are three generations later and it is our turn. It is our turn to do what Esther did way back when, it is our turn to do what they did at the founding, and at the Civil War and at the Second War, it is our turn.
After likening anti-Obama Republicans to such esteemed people, he also told Perkins that the Left is leading an “attack” on the family in order to topple society at large:
Perkins: I think that as I see it the threat is so great because whether the issue is life, whether it’s marriage, whether it’s family, it all hinges on our freedom of religion and our ability to transfer the values that we gained from that faith to our children and to future generations and that seems to be exactly what they are zeroing in on.
Jordan: It’s that and I would also add it’s an attack on the key institution of our culture, the institution that ultimately in my judgment determines the strength of the entire society and it’s the name that you have, Family Research [Council], so it’s an attack on that institution, the family. When you think about it, the first institution that the good Lord put together wasn’t the church, wasn’t the state, it was the family. So if you believe in big government as the answer, sometimes not in a direct way but in an indirect way, sometimes it’s direct even, there is an attack on that fundamental institution, that building block institution to a healthy culture so that’s why you see the Left so adamant about going after family, the bill to school your kids at home, the bill to have school choice, and a host of other things where it’s manifest, but it’s an attack on that key institution.