Is Tony Perkins the Most Disingenuous Person on the Planet?

Well, in a world that includes Paul Ryan, maybe not.  But Perkins ensured his standing near the top of the list with his performance at the National Press Club on Wednesday.  Perkins heads an organization that excels in the kind of incendiary rhetoric he denounced from the podium.   I kept thinking about Bill Clinton’s recent characterization of Ryan: “It takes some brass to attack a guy for doing what you did.”
 
Perkins heads the Family Research Council, one of the Religious Right organizations that has been designated a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center for a long record of smearing LGBT people with false and denigrating rhetoric.  Perkins used his press club appearance to repeat his charge that it was irresponsible for SPLC and other groups to describe his organization that way.  He suggested that FRC’s critics had created a climate that contributed to the recent violence at FRC headquarters in downtown D.C.
 
Let me say that it was genuinely sobering and moving to hear Perkins describe the incident, in which a security guard who may have saved the lives of many FRC employees was shot while disarming a gunman.  No one should be put in the position of being hunkered down in their office in fear for their life.  No one should be subjected to violence for participating in the public arena.  At the time of the shooting, progressive and gay rights leaders immediately and unequivocally denounced the attack on FRC.
 
It is true that irresponsible and hateful speech can poison our public discourse. But in today’s political climate, that speech is most likely to come from right-wing groups and their allies.  I remember feeling nervous as well as outraged when Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson, two days after the 9-11 attacks, blamed People For the American Way by name, as well as feminists, liberals, and others.  And the right’s rhetorical extremism has become supercharged since the election of President Obama.
 
The First Amendment does protect hateful and irresponsible speech.  But being free to participate in the public arena does not meaning being exempt from criticism.  And calling hateful speech hateful is not the same as actually promoting hatred toward a particular group of Americans.  We have noted before how quickly Perkins moved to exploit the shooting in an effort to discredit his opponents and deflect attention from his own group’s extreme record and rhetoric:
 
You don't have to look far.  Last year Perkins called gay-rights activists vile, hateful, pawns of Satan.  In 2010, Perkins responded to President Obama's call for civility on the issue of homosexuality by slamming the president for criticizing Uganda's kill-the-gays bill. Perkins described the infamous law as "enhanced penalties for crimes related to homosexuality" and an effort to "uphold moral conduct."  FRC spokespeople have supported laws criminalizing homosexuality overseas and here in the U.S.  
 
What does it even mean for Perkins to make a public commitment to advocate with civility and compassion when his guests at the head table include rhetorical bomb-throwers like Bishop Harry Jackson, who has said that gay rights advocates are trying to recruit young people “just like during the times of Hitler” and that gay marriage is part of a “satanic plot” to destroy the family, and Rep. Louie Gohmert, who participated in the McCarthyite smear of Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin and who says that President Obama “wants a dictatorship?” Or when he recently hired as his executive vice president retired Gen. Jerry Boykin, who has called for limits on American Muslims’ religious liberty and accuses Obama of using the health care reform law as cover to create a private army of Brownshirts?
 
Perkins also used his speech to promote this weekend’s Values Voter Summit, which is co-sponsored by organizations whose leaders regularly spout rhetoric that is often even more extreme than FRC’s -- about LGBT Americans, Muslims and other non-Christians, supporters of church-state separation and more.  Among the worst are the American Family Association, whose spokesman Bryan Fischer is such a torrent of bigotry that it cannot be easily condensed, and Liberty Counsel, whose Matt Barber purveys loathsome attacks on his political opponents, charging that satanic gay rights activists are “running interference for pedophiles” and charging that groups supporting church-state separation, like People For the American Way, are enemies of religious freedom.
 
Calling for civil discourse on the eve of the Values Voter Summit sounds like nothing more than a bad joke.  If Tony Perkins is at all sincere about his call for civility, this weekend would be a good time to start.
 

Who's Who at the Values Voter Summit 2012

This weekend Republican and conservative leaders, including GOP vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan, are set to address the Religious Right's Values Voter Summit in Washington, D.C.

Boykin: FRC Didn't Kill the Shooter, So How Can it Be a Hate Group?

Today's episode of "WallBuilders Live" was dedicated entirely to attacking the Southern Poverty Law Center with David Barton repeatedly (and falsely) claiming that the SPLC had placed him on its "hate list" while guest Jerry Boykin reiterated his claims that the SPLC was “anti-American," "anti-Christian," and "anti-Semitic."

The most interesting revelation was when Boykin, along with Barton and co-host Rick Green, wondered how an organization like the Family Research Council could be classified as a hate group when, during last month's shooting at FRC headquarters, the building manager did not kill the shooter after he had disarmed him because God told him not to:

Boykin: Let me tell you a quick thing you may not even know; the day that the shooter came in here and shot our building manager who just happened to be sitting at the reception desk that day. The building manager, after being shot, wrestled him to the ground with one arm, took his pistol away from him, bleeding profusely and started to shoot him and he said to us "God told me not to kill that man."

Now I want you to think about that. We're the hate group but he said "God told me not to kill him." And he could have justifiably killed that guy right there that had just shot him.

...

Green: What a great response by that guy at FRC. I didn't realize ... man what a witness that he did the way that he responded.

Barton: The Lord said don't shoot him and we're the haters? Nobody would have said a thing if he had shot that guy that had just shot him and shattered his arm, he was under attack, self defense, he's got a perfect right, he's an officer, he can do that and the Lord says "hey, don't shoot that guy." And somehow we're the haters in this thing. How crazy is that?

E.W. Jackson and Jerry Boykin Call for a 'Mass Exodus' of Christians from the Democratic Party

On Monday, fringe Religious Right activist and failed Senate candidate E.W. Jackson hosted a press conference to "call for a mass Exodus of Christians from the Democrat party."

And Jackson kicked things off by doing just that, declaring that all Christians and Jews must leave the Democratic Party because "it has turned its back on us; it is time that we turn our back on it."  As proof, Jackson cited the plank supporting marriage equality in the party platform, saying that by including this, the Democratic Party has declared that the Bible is a lie and the God is a liar:

Jackson was immediately followed at the podium by none other than Jerry Boykin, who declared that the fact that the Democrats even had to debate whether to include any mention of God in the platform "should be something that wakes us all up to realize that we cannot be part of that; we will stand and be accountable if we support that."  Boykin went on to say that he will never endorse a party that supports marriage equality because the idea itself is "evil":

Jews Must Be Converted: FRC Vice President

Bad news for Eric Cantor. He’s speaking tomorrow at the Values Voter Summit, but he’s apparently still going to hell. Let me explain.

Jerry Boykin is the Executive Vice President of the Family Research Council and Tony Perkins’ right-hand man. FRC is hosting the far right conference that the House Majority Leader, who is Jewish, plans to address tomorrow.

Boykin, much like Bryan Fischer, has a penchant for saying exactly what’s on his mind – things which others know not to say, even when they’re thinking the same thing. While you may know Boykin from his prolific Muslim-bashing, he also has some interesting things to say about Jews.

In a 2009 speech on “Why We Must Stand with Israel,” Boykin spoke out against pastors who say that “the Jews don’t have to come to know Jesus,” complaining that those pastors were “destroying the efforts” to lead Jews to Christ:

Last year, Boykin said that “one of the most disgusting things I hear is for people to call Hitler the extreme Right” because he was “an extraordinarily off the scale leftist.” He then lamented that “many Jews in America, for example, can't identify with the Republican Party because they're called the party of the Right, when in fact nothing could be further from the truth."

Boykin also said that President Obama is creating a Hitler-sytle Brownshirt army to force Marxism on America. And in 2003, then-Lt. Gen. Boykin said that the U.S. was fighting a war “in the name of Jesus,” prompting a rebuke from the ADL and President Bush.

To be sure, the Religious Right hasn’t always had the best relations with American Jews. Jerry Falwell sparked a controversy in 1980 when he said that God “does not hear the prayers of unredeemed Gentiles or Jews.” He was speaking at a press conference in defense of the president of the Southern Baptist Convention, who had proclaimed that “God Almighty does not hear the prayer of a Jew.”

More recently, however, Religious Right leaders have been careful to stress Judeo-Christian values and avoid explicit attacks. Boykin, however, doesn’t have any use for such niceties.

Yet Boykin was able to meet recently with Mitt Romney, and he has three speaking slots during the conference. He’s even leading a panel on Israel with his good friend Kamal Saleem. Saleem, who is considered to be a fraud, describes himself as a former terrorist who “completed his first bloody terror mission into Israel for the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) at the age of seven.”

All of this makes me wonder if Cantor’s folks did their homework before agreeing to speak tomorrow. Perhaps something will come up, and he’ll have to decline FRC’s invitation, much like Ann Romney and Cardinal Dolan have done. We’ll find out tomorrow.

 

Right Wing Round-Up - 9/12/12

Right Wing Leftovers - 9/12/12

  • For those who missed it, FRC has posted the video and a transcript of the iPledge Sunday prayer rally.
  • Jerome Corsi has moved on from trying to prove that President Obama was not born in America to now trying to prove that he is gay.
  • So Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer doesn't want to be seen with a candidate who says Middle Eastern immigrants should be banned from the U.S but will appear at the Values Voter Summit sponsored by an organization that says the same thing?
  • Gary Bauer blasts President Obama's response to the attacks in Libya and Egypt: "What a shameful statement of appeasement on the anniversary of 9/11."
  • Finally, Sen. Roger Wicker appeared on Bryan Fischer's radio show today, proving once again that there is seemingly nothing that Fischer can say that will cause the GOP to shun him.

Ann Romney Joins Cardinal Dolan In Declining Values Voter Summit Invitation

After we reported yesterday evening that Ann Romney was being touted on the Values Voter Summit lineup alongside Paul Ryan, the Romney campaign moved quickly to distance her from the event. They first disputed our report, which was entirely accurate and based on the Values Voter Summit website, and then denied that Ann Romney was ever planning to speak there in the first place. 

It certainly seemed to strike a nerve. Apparently a gay-bashing conference is just fine for Paul Ryan but off-limits for Ann Romney.
 
That begs the question of why Ann Romney was listed in the first place. As I wrote yesterday, Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan were listed for weeks on the speakers page, as were many others. When Cardinal Dolan made it clear that he would not be attending, his photo was removed. Ann Romney, however, was never listed on that page.
 
With the conference less than a week out, the Family Research Council posted the schedule and pushed highlights to daybooks for press planning purposes. And suddenly there was Ann Romney closing out the kickoff session with Paul Ryan.
 
An FRC spokesman told Buzzfeed that Ann Romney had been invited but was not confirmed. I, for one, find it hard to believe that FRC pushed out Ann Romney’s name to the media without, at the very least, an understanding with the campaign, but we can’t know for sure.
 
What we do know is that Ann Romney declined the invitation, perhaps as recently as last night, and the Romney campaign went into overdrive to distance her from the event. Late last night, her name was removed from the conference website.
 
Meanwhile Paul Ryan and Eric Cantor are still speaking on Friday.

 

Fischer Demands Mass Public Executions in Response to Libya Attack

On his radio program today, Bryan Fischer declared that the attack on the US Consulate in Libya in which the US Ambassador and three staff were killed was nothing short of "an act of war," proclaiming that President Obama's declaration that justice will be done means nothing "until every member of the mob that killed these Americans in cold blood is hung from the nearest bridge by the neck until dead": 

Once Again, David Barton Rewrites Modern History

A few weeks back, we wrote a post noting that David Barton's supporters and defenders had been saying that the criticism of his pseudo-scholarship simply boiled down to disagreements over matters of interpretation. We agreed and pointed out that Barton's documented inability to accurately "interpret" events and information is precisely the problem.

And today Barton again demonstrated the fundamental disregard he has for facts or accuracy when he and co-host Rick Green welcomed Rep. Louie Gohmert onto "WallBuilders Live" to defend the witch hunt that he and several other Republicans members of Congress launched against Huma Abedin under the guise of investigating the Muslim's Brotherhood's infiltration of the government.

Here is how Barton framed it:

And so what happened is you have some really high people in the State Department that, it turns out, man they've got some real direct ties to the Muslim Brotherhood.

And so what happens is Louie [Gohmert,] and Michele [Bachmann,] and Trent Franks and some others write a letter and say "have you guys actually investigated these ties?" And so all they did was ask a question and of course the administration when they got that letter, instead of answering the question, they released it to the media and said "look what these guys are doing, it's a witch hunt."

And so they suddenly get attacked for having accused a person of being a part of the Muslim Brotherhood and that's clearly not what the letter said, the letter is out there, easy to read.

On one level, Barton is correct: the letter is out there and easy to read ... but not because the administration leaked it to the media, but because Michele Bachmann posted it on her website!

As a matter of fact, Bachmann and crew sent five different letters to the Inspectors General of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the Department of Defense, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Justice and the Department of State in which they named several high-ranking advisors who are alleged to have "extensive ties to the Muslim Brotherhood."

So it seems that Barton's "interpretation" of events is pretty accurate - except for the two central claims of his statement.

As we have said several times before, if Barton cannot be relied upon to accurately "interpret" information pertaining to recent events that anyone with access to Google can easily check and verify,  why should anyone trust anything that he says about complex events in early American history?

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