Tony Perkins frequently tries to rebut the notion that he is anti-gay by showing how much he loves gay people by equating them with drug addicts and alcoholics, and Friday’s edition of Washington Watch was no different. The Family Research Council president asked listeners to pray for gay people just as they would for someone who abuses drugs or is cheating on a spouse.
“Here’s the telling thing about speaking to this issue of homosexuality and I think we got to be very, very careful here,” Perkins said. “First off we need to be praying for those who are bound up in these lifestyles whether it is homosexuality, whether it is drugs, whatever it might be, anything that is outside the design of God for mankind, it could be adulterous relationships, it doesn’t matter.”
“Our goal in speaking about human sexuality is not to win an argument but it is to point people to life, the abundant life.”
While Virginia Republican gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli has been trying to dodge social issues such as abortion rights and marriage equality — likely because his actual views and record are far out of the mainstream — sagging poll numbers and increasing divisions among Republicans have led the candidate to rely on his traditional far-right backers. After campaigning alongside his ultraconservative and homophobic running mate E.W. Jackson, Cuccinelli tonight will attend a fundraiser cosponsored by the Family Research Council’s political arm and the head of a major anti-choice organization.
Tonight’s fundraiser featuring Jeb Bush and a whole host of former GOP politicians-turned-lobbyists is sponsored by FRC Action PAC and Marjorie Dannenfelser, who leads the Susan B. Anthony List.
Cuccinelli has partnered with FRC in the past, addressing at their Values Voter Summit and appearing on the group’s Washington Watch radio program. Dannenfelser’s group, meanwhile, committed at least $1.5 million to boost Cuccinelli.
Dannenfelser and FRC Action hope that Cuccinelli will continue his efforts to close the majority of the state’s abortion clinics. As the Washington Post editorial board noted yesterday, “If Mr. Cuccinelli is elected governor in November, most of the remaining 18 clinics are likely to shut their doors within months.”
The FRC — whose leaders have referred to gays as pawns of Satan, abnormal and destructive while also calling for their criminalization and exportation — can also take pride in Cuccinelli’s anti-gay rhetoric and activism.
The upcoming fundraiser with two of the country’s foremost social conservative groups shows that as much as Cuccinelli would like Virginia voters to forget about his extreme stances, he is, first and foremost, a Religious Right ideologue.
Tony Perkins led the fight against repealing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and runs an organization whose spokesman called on the government to “export” gay people, so it is only natural that now Perkins is fashioning himself as a foe of discrimination…against straight service members.
He is upset that the military — which recognizes same-sex marriages — is allowing gays and lesbians in the military who are stationed in states that ban same-sex marriage to travel to states with marriage equality laws to attain a marriage license:
The new policy, which will take effect by Sept. 3, allows gay and lesbian service members in the U.S. as many as seven days of extra leave to get married, as long as they are stationed more than 100 miles from a state where same-sex marriages are legal or from the District of Columbia, where the marriages are also performed.
Military personnel who are overseas will get as many as 10 days to travel back to the U.S. to get married.
Today on his radio commentary, Perkins said the military has lost “their senses” with its “discriminatory” policies:
For our troops, marriage is becoming the biggest battlefield. Hello, I'm Tony Perkins with the Family Research Council in Washington. Thanks to the Pentagon, taxpayers are giving gay service members quite a wedding gift. According to the Defense Department, homosexual troops are getting some extra incentives to get hitched--including 10 days of bonus leave. The AP says gay and lesbian military members will get as many as two weeks of extra vacation time to travel to states that allow same-sex marriage. Meanwhile, the Defense Department says it "remains committed to ensuring that all men and women who service in the U.S. military... are treated fairly." If that were true, heterosexual couples would be getting the same benefits. See, this special, taxpayer-funded leave isn't just expensive--it's discriminatory. According to the Pentagon, heterosexual couples aren't eligible. How's that for equality? The administration says this perk "level[s] the playing field between opposite-sex and same-sex couples." But when it comes to extra vacation days, the only thing the military is taking leave of is their senses!
Georgetown law professor Cornelia “Nina” Pillard, one of President Obama’s three nominees to fill vacancies on the influential D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, is one of the country’s most renowned women’s rights attorneys. She crafted the argument that convinced a nearly unanimous Supreme Court to open the Virginia Military Institute to women. She worked alongside Bush administration attorneys to successfully defend the Family and Medical Leave Act in the courts. She has opposed government policies that treat men and women differently based on outmoded stereotypes that harm both sexes.
So, of course, conservative activists and their Republican allies in Congress are calling her a “radical feminist" and threatening to filibuster her nomination.
In an interview with the Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins Friday, National Review columnist Ed Whelan called Pillard a “radical feminist law professor” and insisted that she would be “the most left-wing judge in the history of the republic.”
Phyllis Schlafly – who, of course, also opposed the opening of VMI to women and the Family and Medical Leave Act – calls Pillard a “scary feminist.”
The Family Research Council has also gone after Pillard, skewing the meaning of her words and even citing her use of a phrase that was actually written by the late Chief Justice William Rehnquist as evidence of her “militant feminism.”
And just this weekend, right-wing activist "Dr. Chaps" Gordon Klingenschmitt sent out an email to his backers attacking Pillard's support for women's rights, specifically charging that Pillard “attacked and questioned the Virginia Military Institute” when she argued that VMI should admit women.
Senate Republicans have picked up this line of attack. In Pillard’s hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, the committee’s Republicans (all men) latched onto the nominee’s support of reproductive rights. When fellow nominee Robert Wilkins appeared before the committee last week, Sen. Chuck Grassley tried, unsuccessfully, to trick him into dissing Pillard’s writings.
So what exactly is it that makes Pillard such a “radical”/“militant”/“scary” feminist in the eyes of the Right?
In a series of columns last month, Whelan elaborated on what he meant. He takes particular issue with a 2007 law review article in which Pillard argues that many public school abstinence-only sex-ed curricula impose a double standard on girls – hardly a radical observation. She also specifically wrote that she took no position on the abstinence message itself. Nevertheless, Whelan and others have distorted this into the idea that she would strike down all abstinence programs as unconstitutional, which is not at all what she has said. In Pillard’s own words,
[The article] brings into focus those curricula's persistent, official promulgation of retrogressive, anti-egalitarian sexual ideologies-of male pleasure and female shame, male recreation and female responsibility, male agency and female passivity, and male personhood and female parenthood. I argue for a counter-stereotyping sex education that affirms women's and men's desire, sexual agency, and responsibility.
She explained her thoughts further in her hearing before the judiciary committee:
Let me say first, I'm a mother. I have two teenage children — one boy and one girl. If my children are being taught in sex education, I want both my children to be taught to say 'no,' not just my daughter. I want my son to be taught that, too. The article was very explicit in saying I don't see any constitutional objection … to abstinence-only education that does not rely upon and promulgate sex stereotypes.
This argument – that many government-funded sex-ed curricula promote harmful and regressive stereotypes that cheat girls – is what has made right-wing activists go ballistic.
Pillard has also made it exceedingly clear that she knows the difference between testing out legal theories in law review articles and applying them as a judge. As she said in her hearing, “Academics are paid to test the boundaries and look at the implications of things. As a judge, I would apply established law of the U.S. Supreme Court and the D.C. Circuit” – a sentiment that many Republican senators echoed when they were defending Bush nominees who had in the past expressed opinions not consistent with existing law.
To put it simply, what conservatives object to about Pillard is that she believes in women’s equality and that she’s really, really good at making the legal case for it. In 2013 in the Republican Party, that’s what it takes to qualify as a “scary,” “radical” and “militant” feminist.
Author Jonathan Cahn has become a star in Religious Right circles over his new book, The Harbinger, which basically claims that biblical prophecy regarding ancient Israel applies to the United States today. Cahn states that the September 11 attacks were a warning from God to repent and prophesied in the Bible. Instead of repenting, however, America is increasingly rebelling against God and Cahn predicts that such defiance will lead to the country’s ultimate destruction.
He appeared on Washington Watch with Tony Perkins yesterday to mark the anniversary of 9/11 and discuss a recent prayer gathering in the Capitol, where Michele Bachmann delivered a Cahn-like speech about how 9/11 and the Benghazi attack represented divine judgment. Cahn also spoke at the event.
After Perkins asked Cahn if the US is “responding to these warning signs of the Lord” appropriately, since Cahn of course knows exactly how God views America, Cahn responded that while America is in spiritual decline, the good news is that lots of people are buying his book!
The End Times author reiterated his claim that members of Congress are reading The Harbinger, including members he met at the Capitol prayer summit.
Unfortunately, America is still going downhill thanks to gay marriage and the re-election of Obama, so we may all be doomed anyway.
What I’ve experienced is there’s a lot of people—The Harbinger’s been spreading across the country, it’s even been reaching Capitol Hill. You and I were there on that night of prayer and several congressmen came up to me about it, so it’s been spreading on one hand. So we’re seeing prayers, we’re seeing repentance; we’re seeing much of that. But, on the other hand, as a nation since The Harbinger came out, America has continued its descent, its moral descent, rapidly. And this has affected the church. I believe, when I look back at it, it came out in 2012 and 2013, this is a real tipping point time where for the first time you have more Americans in favor of gay marriage, you have a president who was re-elected after declaring this, you have states coming forward, you have so many tipping points. I think there’s a reason why The Harbinger came out at that time because it’s a warning and it’s a wakeup call. What happens with a tipping point is things accelerate, unless there’s an intervention of God, things accelerate and I believe we’re really watching an acceleration; the Supreme Court just came out with its decision, I mean so much.
When gay rights advocates criticized Chick-fil-A for the company’s financial support of anti-gay organizations, the Family Research Council decried their “gaystapo tactics.” Apparently, the FRC believes that boycotts are only acceptable if they are organized by conservative groups.
Today on his daily radio commentary, FRC president Tony Perkins urged listeners to also boycott Betty Crocker and offered a link to the National Organization for Marriage’s campaign at DumpGeneralMills.com.
Perkins was outraged that Betty Crocker donated custom cakes to three gay Minnesota couples who were married after the state legalized same-sex marriage, and upset that a company spokesman said that “Betty celebrates all families.” Perkins warned that Betty Crocker’s “latest promotion is a recipe for disaster” and claimed that it is offensive to a majority of Americans who have already “made it tough on companies like Target, Starbucks and JC Penney” for not opposing gay rights.
“When you’re at the store, think outside the Betty Crocker box!”
At Betty Crocker, the only thing they're mixing up is their priorities. Hello, I'm Tony Perkins with the Family Research Council in Washington. If you ask conservatives, Betty Crocker's latest promotion is a recipe for disaster. This summer, the famous dessert line decided to jump on the same-sex marriage bandwagon and bring cakes to celebrate. In Minnesota, where parent company General Mills is headquartered, Betty Crocker decided to donate wedding cakes to the first homosexual couples who exchanged vows on the first day that counterfeit marriage was legal. "Betty celebrates all families…. We don't want to be old fashioned," the company explained. Unfortunately for General Mills, the majority of Americans think natural marriage is anything but old fashioned. And they've made it tough on companies like Target, Starbucks, and JC Penney who disagree. Know where your money is going. When you're at the store, think outside the Betty Crocker box!
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.
The fear-mongering in the Family Research Council’s latest mailing starts on the envelope: “Beginning THIS MONTH…they don’t want any American child to escape. Read how we can STOP them.”
“They” turns out to be “government-run schools” and the “radical” teachers that infest them.
If a foreign enemy had plotted to infiltrate America, I’m not sure an army of undercover subversives could have done more damage than our government-run schools….
Leftists don’t want a single American child to escape their thought control. And they are crowding out true education.
Of course, Perkins has a skewed idea about what a “true education” includes. He complains that America used to be the tops in science – after all we put a man on the moon. But not any more:
Today’s science classes often feature big-government political propaganda, taking time and focus away from true science. Not to mention attacks on the Bible and arrogant censoring of any theories like intelligent design that challenge their Darwinism.
Yes, nothing will boost American students’ science scores faster than a little the-universe-is-6000-years-old Creationism. Perkins doesn’t say exactly what big-government propaganda he’s talking about. Evolution? Astronomy? Climate change?
Even worse, says Perkins, “the federal government has endorsed and sponsored an ‘anti-bullying program’ created and run by Dan Savage, a radical homosexual activist…” Perkins thinks sex education is all about promoting promiscuity and homosexual behavior. “This obsession with liberal sex ‘education’ shows how the minds and souls of our young people are being deliberately sabotaged.”
Accompanying Perkins’ letter is a “Protect America’s Children Survey” which asks whether their local schools are experiencing a range of problems, including “Positive portrayals of homosexuality or negative portrayals of those who don’t affirm homosexuality,” “Not enough teaching of the Christian roots of America,” “Absence of presentation of intelligent design theory,” and “Not enough teaching on the virtues of limited government and free enterprise.”
There is hope, says Perkins, bragging that he was able to “assist” Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal in passing “one of the most family-friendly school choice laws in America.” Jindal’s privatization scheme has resulted in public money being diverted into often unaccountable schools wasting taxpayer dollars and teaching Religious Right curricula – no wonder Perkins loves it.
Even though only thirty-four percent of Americans want to repeal health care reform (and even fewer support shutting down the government in order to do so), Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-OK) confidently predicted that Americans — Republican and Democrat alike — will treat GOP members of Congress as “heroes” is they shut down the government over Obamacare funding.
“We would be heroes,” Bridenstine said while speaking with Family Research Council head Tony Perkins, “you know somebody was showing me polling about government shutdown this and government shutdown that, we don’t want to shut down the government, we want to fund the government, we just want to have a limitation amendment that defunds Obamacare.”
The congressman’s remarks echoed those of Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), who believes that President Obama is actually the one threatening a government shut down because he won’t bend to his demands to defund the health care law.
Bridenstine added that Obama should be grateful that Republicans would support any resolution funding the government at all: “Look, we’re willing to reluctantly fund all of the rest of the government; all we’re asking for is this one item.”
A new fundraising pitch from Family Research Council President Tony Perkins comes in a black envelope with a photo of a door cracking to allow light into the darkness and the message, “URGENT: God has opened a door to STOP America’s decline.” The letter inside, dated July 1, portrays the “scandals” surrounding the Obama administration – including the discredited IRS and Benghazi “scandals” hyped by right-wing media and GOP members of Congress – as an act of God:
The opportunity we have prayed for may be here . . . if we seize it.
As I witness the astounding scandals exploding within President Barack Obama’s administration, I believe Almighty God—who founded America and saved us through trials before—may be giving the American people an opportunity to stop today’s tyranny.
I believe He may be giving us an open door to turn back the plans of today’s arrogant big government: a secularist, anti-faith tyranny that is trying to snuff out religious freedom and biblical influence in the United States.
The letter calls for abolishing the IRS and opposing the enforcement of “ObamaCare,” and urges donations to help FRC:
Work with Congress and government officials to stop “hidden scandals” such as the Obama administration’s attempt to drive Christian values and religious freedom out of the military . . . impose the principles of the Employment non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) which attack Christians in the workplace who refuse to affirm immoral sexuality . . . and more.
Perkins’ letter hypes the now-disproven claims that the IRS was waging jihad against conservatives:
We now know that the IRS was selectively auditing—harassing a growing number of ministries, conservative groups, Tea Party groups, and others who opposed President Obama.
The IRS threatened to remove the tax-exempt status of these citizens! These attacks by the IRS threatened to financially cripple them, costing them untold sums of money just to defend themselves against the IRS agents. The common link: ministries and organizations targeted for audits had stood against President Obama’s secularist, antireligious freedom agenda.
Actually, what we know is quite the opposite. The IRS “scandal” has evaporated as more evidence has some to light. Even some Republican officials have admitted as much. According to the New York Times, “Senator Roy Blunt, Republican of Missouri, said that in retrospect, suggestions that Mr. Obama had orchestrated an I.R.S. attack on his political enemies were unwarranted.”
In addition, Perkins’ letter says a State Department “cover-up” in connection with the assassination of American officials in Benghazi, Libya “might have saved the election for President Obama. Yet it might render him paralyzed in his second term.”
Perkins says that FRC intends to “turn the tide of the past five years.”
The scandals will help show Americans why the Bible is right when it cautions against big government. Because of sin, power corrupts, and concentrated power corrupts completely. Bit government will always see God as a rival and try to replace Him, attacking God’s people and Biblical values and principles.”
Actually, as journalist Jonathan Chait wrote in New York magazine in late June, “the entire scandal narrative was an illusion.” It lives on, of course, in the world of far-right activists and conspiracy theorists like Tony Perkins.
With the Employment Non-Discrimination Act scheduled for a Senate committee vote this week, here’s a look at Right Wing Watch’s collection of recent – and classic – claims from the Religious Right about ENDA. Because ENDA is common-sense civil rights legislation that would expand federal employment protections against discrimination to include sexual orientation and gender identity, the Right cannot gain much traction by opposing ENDA on its merits. Instead, resorting to fear-mongering and lies, they contend that ENDA will lead to everything from the end of religious freedom to sexual assault and death.
Here are highlights of Right Wing Watch’s reporting on right-wing opposition to ENDA:
5. Tony Perkins: ‘Totalitarian Homosexual Lobby’ Out to Destroy Religious Freedom with ENDA (March 2013)
“Like a B-grade 1950’s horror-movie, ENDA is coming back from the dead,” warned Family Research Council President Tony Perkins in a recent mailing. Perkins said President Obama is working with the “totalitarian homosexual lobby” to sneak ENDA into law, and if that happens, “Our freedom of religion will be destroyed.”
“In fact,” says Perkins in his letter, “under ENDA biblical morality becomes illegal.”
Read the full article here.
4. Steve Crampton: ENDA is Insanity (June 2012)
Speaking about a Senate hearing on ENDA, Liberty Counsel’s “Faith and Freedom” radio host Steve Crampton marveled that a transgender person was actually allowed to testify on behalf of the legislation and complained that ENDA is not about “equal rights” but rather “special rights” for gays and cross-dressers.
Crampton stated that if ENDA passed, he could come into work – “God forbid,” he said – wearing a dress and would be allowed to use the women’s restroom. “In years past,” Crampton said, “we had another word for this: it’s called insanity.”
Read the full article here.
3. Andrea Lafferty Cites CT School Shooting to Rally Opposition to Non-Discrimination Policies (December 2012)
Andrea Lafferty of the Traditional Values Coalition used the school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, in order to bolster her campaign against ENDA. While speaking to Janet Mefferd about the Orange County, Florida, school system’s new non-discrimination policy that is similar to ENDA, Lafferty said that just as parents are upset about the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting and are concerned about keeping their children safe, they should also be worried about ENDA’s “devastating effects” as schools will have “people with some real issues playing out their personal problems in the classroom.”
Lafferty maintained that ENDA is part of the left’s “open season” on Christians on behalf of “fringe minorities and people that are truly sick.” She warned that Chick-fil-A restaurants may soon be “forced” to hire “weirdos” seeking to undermine Christian businesses, warning that transgender people are committing “the ultimate act of self-hatred” and need “special medical treatment” rather than job protections.
Read the full article here.
2. Bryan Fischer: Businesses Threatened by ‘Flaming Homosexual’ Job Applicants and the ‘Return of Jim Crow Laws’ (January 2013)
American Family Association spokesman Bryan Fischer warned in a blog post that “ENDA would represent the return of Jim Crow laws.” On his radio program Focal Point, Fischer warned that if ENDA is signed into law businesses will be faced with a barrage of “flaming homosexual” job applicants. “The homosexual lobby,” Fischer said, “will send a guy in there wearing stilettos, a dress and dangly earrings” in order to provoke Christian business-owners “not to hire him.”
Read the full article here.
1. Mat Staver: ENDA Will Result in the 'Death of Some Individuals' (June 2012)
Liberty Counsel chairman Mat Staver is ratcheting up the rhetoric in opposition to ENDA, even going so far as to say that if passed the legislation may lead to child molestation, sexual assault, and death. Staver told Jim Schneider of VCY America on Crosstalk that ENDA “will put individuals at risk and ultimately result in significant damage and even death of some individuals”:
Staver: So you can go into these restrooms or changing rooms, if you’re a man, and want to go in and molest, or watch, or sexually assault young girls. So, I mean, the absurdity of this is just beyond understanding how someone could be in favor of it. This will ultimately, in addition to colliding with religious liberty, in addition to forcing a radical agenda on people, this also will put individuals at risk and ultimately result in significant damage and even death of some individuals.
Read the full article here.
The Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins has already called the Supreme Court’s ruling striking down the anti-gay Defense of Marriage Act “absurd,” and warned that it presents “a clear and present danger to the freedom of speech and the freedom of religion in our country” and pushes America further down the road to becoming Sodom and Gomorrah.
In a member email today, Perkins elaborates on his outrage, claiming that the Supreme Court’s DOMA decision means “the landscape has been fundamentally altered in a society where the rule of law is slowly unraveling.” In guaranteeing that legally married same-sex couples are treated as married by the federal government, Perkins writes, the Supreme Court requires the government to provide benefits to married gay couples that “until yesterday, were reserved for real spouses.”
And, of course, Perkins added that we are on our way to legalized polygamy, which he claims is a part of the liberal “agenda.”
That said, the landscape has been fundamentally altered in a society where the rule of law is slowly unraveling. Twelve states can now force taxpayers to supply more than 1,100 benefits which, until yesterday, were reserved for real spouses. And both the court and rogue leaders like Jerry Brown have, in the words of Justice Antonin Scalia, "declared open season on any law that... can be characterized as mean-spirited." In a nation where our own President feels no obligation to defend the law, it's no wonder the Human Rights Campaign thinks it can impose same-sex "marriage" on every state in five years.
When the Left fell short of their goals yesterday, it gave our movement the most valuable commodity of all: time to persuade the country of the consequences. But it also meant that the waves of attack will keep coming -- stronger and more vicious than ever before. Emboldened by Justice Anthony Kennedy's sharp rebuke of our side, liberals aren't even bothering to hide the rest of their agenda. Polygamists popped the corked on a little champagne of their own after Wednesday's rulings, as they wait their turn for nationwide acceptance.
On Washington Watch today, Family Research Council head Tony Perkins said that while this morning’s Supreme Court decisions represent “major setbacks for marriage, for family and for freedom,” conservatives can take relief in knowing that “our zip code has not yet been changed to Sodom and Gomorrah, at least not yet.”
Perkins called on anti-gay activists to imitate the prophets of the Old Testament in warning people about the imminent demise of society, which will occur if people refuse to “turn from their destructive and harmful activities.” He continued: “When the bottom fell out, the people had no excuse and they had no one to blame but themselves, because they had been warned.”
Perkins later chatted with Rep. Joe Pitts (R-PA), who said that marriage equality will threaten religious freedom and the wellbeing of children by “changing the form of families.” The congressman said that same-sex unions won’t provide children with a “stable loving family” and as a result “the cost of our social service welfare programs are going to be greatly impacted by this negative consequence of a social experiment that is less in age than the iPhone. This is the leftist redefinition that is happening here on our watch.”