After trying to blame the Southern Poverty Law Center for the deplorable shooting that occurred at the Family Research Council’s office this week, FRC president Tony Perkins today also implicated the Obama administration in the shooting. While speaking with Rick Santorum today on Washington Watch Weekly about the Obama administration’s “attack on religious freedom,” Perkins said that what “we witnessed this past week at the Family Research Council” is “clearly linked to that same atmosphere of hostility that’s created by the public policies of an administration that’s indifferent or hostile to religious freedom.” This shameful attempt to connect the Obama administration to the shooting is just the latest sign of the FRC’s attempt to exploit the tragedy for political purposes.
Perkins: What I would call an attack on religious freedom is trickling down in our country. It’s not just isolated to the administration but it’s as if the President and his administration’s indifference towards religious freedom has really created an open season all across this country. In fact next week down in Tampa as the Republican National Committee begins its work on its platform we’ll be working with Liberty Institute and we’ll be releasing a study that shows this increased hostility towards religious freedom in this country and I believe Rick in large part it’s driven in large part by the policies of this administration.
Santorum: When you look at what happened with the whole Chick-fil-A incident and across the country you see government officials, mayors of large cities, wanting to use the power of the government to force, to drive out Dan Cathy and the folks at Chick-fil-A from their cities. This is really unprecedented and you’re right it creates an atmosphere that when the government now is saying you folks are so evil that we can deny you access to participate in business within our city it leads to a lot of things that are going to not just constrict religious liberty but I think threaten a lot of other areas of our lives.
Perkins: Well I think as we witnessed this past week at the Family Research Council, clearly linked to that same atmosphere of hostility that’s created by the public policies of an administration that’s indifferent or hostile to religious freedom and groups like as I mentioned the Southern Poverty Law Center that recklessly throws around labels giving people like this gunman who came into our building a license to take innocent life.
Dana Milbank writes in a column in today’s Washington Post, “Hateful speech on hate groups,” that the Southern Poverty Law Center “should stop listing a mainstream Christian advocacy group alongside neo-Nazis and Klansmen.” He’s talking about the Family Research Council, which he describes as “a mainstream conservative think tank founded by James Dobson and run for many years by Gary Bauer” which “advocates for a full range of conservative Christian positions, on issues from stem cells to euthanasia.” Going further, Milbank says it’s “reckless” for groups like SPLC to designate FRC as a “hate group.”
While reading all of this, I couldn’t help but wonder why a “mainstream conservative think tank” would defend a bill in Uganda that would put gays and lesbians in prison for life and put them to death for “serial” offenses, among other things. If Milbank had done his homework before writing his column, he would’ve been wondering this same thing.
The reality is that FRC is not a “mainstream conservative think tank.” That’s why FRC is one of only a handful of the many, many groups that oppose equality for gays and lesbians to be designated a “hate group” by SPLC. There’s a big difference between being conservative and being an extremist, but many in the media are missing the distinction. Kyle and Peter have already written about FRC’s history of extremism and SPLC’s criteria (here and here), but I’d like to focus on one particularly outrageous example here.
Back in June of 2010, FRC president Tony Perkins praised the infamous “kill the gays” bill in Uganda, referring to it as an effort to “uphold moral conduct that protects others and in particular the most vulnerable.” The bill that Perkins defended called for life in prison for having sex, even once, with a member of the same sex, or touching someone of the same sex with the intention of having sex.
The bill went further, calling for the death penalty for “aggravated homosexuality.” To be clear, Perkins defended a bill that called for people to be put to death for the following (among other things):
having sex with someone of the same sex multiple times (a “serial” offender)
having sex with someone of the same sex who is your employee, student, or otherwise under your authority
having sex with someone of the same sex who is under the age of 18 (regardless of the age difference, e.g. a 19-year-old and a 17-year-old)
having sex with someone of the same sex that you got drunk
having sex with someone of the same sex who’s blind or deaf
having sex with someone of the same sex if you’re HIV+, even if you use protection and the virus is not transmitted
You can read the text of the bill here. I’m not exaggerating one bit.
When President Obama criticized the bill, Perkins devoted his weekly radio alert to attacking him over it, citing Obama’s “preoccupation with defending homosexuality.” He went on to mischaracterize the bill, claiming that it only called for the death penalty in instances like “intentionally spreading HIV/AIDS,” and was notably silent on life imprisonment for a single homosexual “act.”
FRC was eventually caught lobbying Congress on a resolution to denounce the “kill the gays” bill. They took pains to say they did not support the bill or the death penalty and were merely lobbying Congress to make the resolution “more factually accurate regarding the content of the Uganda bill, and to remove sweeping and inaccurate assertions that homosexual conduct is internationally recognized as a fundamental human right.”
Ok, so FRC didn’t support the “kill the gays” bill. Instead, FRC’s president devoted his weekly commentary to defending and praising the “kill the gays” bill and attacking President Obama for criticizing it. And FRC lobbied Congress to make sure that the “kill the gays” bill wouldn’t be mischaracterized.
At the recent National Prayer Breakfast, President Obama took the podium calling for greater civility in Washington, which in my opinion is a laudable goal. However, his comments quickly turned to his preoccupation with defending homosexuality.
The President criticized Ugandan leaders for considering enhance penalties for crimes related to homosexuality. The press has widely mischaracterized the law which calls for the death penalty, not for homosexual behavior which is already a crime, but for acts such as intentionally spreading HIV/AIDS, or preying upon vulnerable individuals such as children, which has been a problem in Uganda for years because the large number of orphans.
The President said that “We may disagree about gay marriage, “but surely we can agree that it is unconscionable to target gays and lesbians for who they are.” Mr. President as long as you characterize efforts to uphold moral conduct that protects others and in particular the most vulnerable, as attacking people, civility will continue to evade us.
(1) A person commits the offence of homosexuality if-
(a) he penetrates the anus or mouth of another person of the same sex with his penis or any other sexual contraption;
(b) he or she uses any object or sexual contraption to penetrate or stimulate sexual organ of a person of the same sex;
(c) he or she touches another person with the intention of committing the act of homosexuality.
(2) A person who commits an offence under this section shall be liable on conviction to imprisonment for life.
3. Aggravated homosexuality.
(1) A person commits the offense of aggravated homosexuality where the
(a) person against whom the offence is committed is below the age of 18 years;
(b) offender is a person living with HIV;
(c) offender is a parent or guardian of the person against whom the offence is committed;
(d) offender is a person in authority over the person against whom the offence is committed;
(e) victim of the offence is a person with disability;
(f) offender is a serial offender, or
(g) offender applies, administers or causes to be used by any man or woman any drug, matter or thing with intent to stupefy overpower him or her so as to there by enable any person to have unlawful carnal connection with any person of the same sex,
(2) A person who commits the offence of aggravated homosexuality shall be liable on conviction to suffer death.
(3) Where a person is charged with the offence under this section, that person shall undergo a medical examination to ascertain his or her HIV status.
On today's radio commentary, Linda Harvey called on Christians to exercise spiritual discernment when it comes to the "high intensity big media repetition of lies" on issues like homosexuality and abortion, because Satan is "weaving a bit of truth with extremely convincing lies" in order to take "the compassionate nature of Christians and use it against us" in an effort to silence them and turn people away from God.
Harvey also lashed out at the "lies by vicious bloggers that are told about me" as well as the "cyberbullying that is going on every day by anti-Christian, deliberately deceitful writers" who are seeking to "draw people away from Christ." We wonder who she could possibly have in mind?
Our spiritual enemy is doing just what he did to temp Jesus in the desert, weaving a bit of truth with extremely convincing lies that many will have trouble rejecting. It's hateful to say anything against homosexual behavior, we hear. Yes, people can be unkind about many things but God has still said it's a grave sin and we can still see the clear evidence of that fact if we look.
How clever is this, taking the compassionate nature of Christians and using it against us? If we don't speak up, young people especially will deceived. The spells some people fall under who become enchanted by sin is hard to break and so they go down destructive roads and their eyes are blinded, possibly for their whole lives and they spend eternity separated from God because they denied him over and over.
It's hard enough to take the lies by vicious bloggers that are told about me, but I have a great support network and God has been more than gracious, so I feel extremely blessed. But that doesn't justify the cyberbullying going on every day by anti-Christian, deliberately deceitful writers and the enormous damage it's doing to draw people away from Christ.
Liberty Institute’s Kelly Shackelford appeared on Today’s Issues yesterday with Tony Perkins and Tim Wildmon to discuss Missouri’s Amendment 2, the so-called “right to pray” amendment which may allow students to refuse to study any topic they deem to conflict with their religious beliefs, like evolution. Schakelford said the amendment was needed “to really bring their state back to full religious freedom like we had in this country until a decision about twenty to thirty years ago that came down from the Supreme Court.”
While Shackelford did not say which Supreme Court case apparently curtailed the freedom of religion, saying that we had “full religious freedom” only until two decades ago ignores periods in American history when the people of minority faiths and even certain Christian denominations sometimes faced hostility from the state. Ironically, Shackelford was speaking to the leader of the American Family Association, whose own Director of Issues Analysis wants to ban mosques, bar Muslims from the military, deport Muslim-Americans and convert all immigrants to Christianity. He went on to say that the health care reform law is creating a “totalitarian” government that undermines the freedom of religion.
What we did is we came up with the idea that states need to go and pass religious freedom amendments to really bring their state back to full religious freedom like we had in this country until a decision about twenty to thirty years ago that came down from the Supreme Court. And a number of states have started to present those and pass those. It’s like the atomic bomb to the left because we noticed anything they’re after, the thing they can’t handle is religious freedom. I mean whether it’s Obamacare or anything else, when the government wants to take over everything they can’t handle religious freedom because that means people are actually going to be able to stick with their own religious conscience, express their own religious beliefs and that kind of lack of unanimity for the state is something they can’t allow.
You know a government that is totalitarian, the one thing it will never allow is citizens who have allegiance to one higher than the government. So you will see as soon as the government takes over something the first thing that will have to go is religious freedom. Obamacare is a great example; as soon as we have it what do we have right after that, the HHS regulations. When the government is trying to touch its citizens directly and it has what it thinks is a good and noble cause it will not allow anyone to get in the way, including intermediary institutions like the church.
Janet Mefferd hosted Peter LaBarbera of Americans for Truth about Homosexuality yesterday to discuss the deplorable and unconscionable shooting at the Family Research Council’s headquarters. Mefferd criticized the Human Rights Campaign for posting an article the day before the shooting “that was very inflammatory about the Family Research Council, ‘they want to export homosexuals from the US’ and ‘they equate homosexuals with pedophiles’ and all this stuff,” and wished there would be “public pressure on some of these gay rights organizations to tone it down”:
Mefferd: I was reading through for example what the Human Rights Campaign had posted the day before the shooting and they had a whole list there that was very inflammatory about the Family Research Council, ‘they want to export homosexuals from the US’ and ‘they equate homosexuals with pedophiles’ and all this stuff. I thought: if you were somewhat of an unstable person and you read this sort of stuff and you were in line with what they believe I think it could drive somebody to violence. So we’re back to the question of, to what degree should there be public pressure on some of these gay rights organizations to tone it down?
LaBarbera: Well I think it has to come from people holding them accountable and we know that the left-wing, the liberal media is basically now a cheerleader for the gay cause so it comes down to I guess alternative media, the internet. Certainly in the Chick-fil-A situation the gay activists were beaten back a bit and they know it in the sense that they overreached. But in this case, this idea of this hate proposition, where the SPLC just went for it and started ticking off every pro-family group out there. Except they keep Focus on the Family off the list, I think intentionally to say ‘hey those are the good Christians,’ of course Focus on the Family has deemphasized politics in the last few years so maybe that’s why they’re not on the SPLC’s list because the SPLC is trying to marginalize the FRC’s and the Americans for Truth’s out there, they want them out of the picture, they want them to have less power so that their pet cause, which happens to be homosexuality, will grow in power. That’s what this is all about; it’s all about helping gay activists win their goal, one of which is same-sex so-called marriage.
First to LaBarbera’s point: Kyle noted yesterday that FRC received the designation “because of its dissemination of false and demonizing propaganda about gays and lesbians,” not due to their opposition to marriage equality.
As for Mefferd, it is absurd to claim that HRC or any other organization is wrong to point out exactly what the FRC has said about homosexuals. Here’s FRC senior fellow Peter Sprigg explicitly stating that he prefers to “export homosexuals from the United States”:
And here is Sprigg and FRC president Tony Perkins linking homosexuality to pedophilia (0:52):
To say that it is “inflammatory” to report on exactly what the FRC says and believes is patently absurd. If the FRC is proud of its anti-gay rhetoric, then they and their allies should stand by it and not criticize others for simply pointing out their attacks on the LGBT community.
As we noted yesterday, Glenn Beck is doing his best to address the current controversy over David Barton's shoddy scholarship by pretending to be searching for the truth while simultaneously doing all he can defend his close friend's reputation.
Thus, Beck' The Blazeran a long piece that purported to independently examine the claims made by Barton along with the criticism of those claims and which found that, in every instance, the claims made by Barton were inaccurate, at best. But The Blaze simply could not bring itself to actually acknowledge Barton's untruths and instead bent over backwards to avoid reaching any conclusions.
Last night, Beck dedicated his entire program to "clearing the air" on the controversy ... by letting Barton make his case, unchallenged, for an entire hour.
Just how hard-hitting was this interview that Beck conducted with Barton? Why don't you take a look at these excepts we grabbed from Beck's ten minute opening monologue where he positively gushed about Barton while casting aspersions on this "campaign against one of America's most respected people" and just take a guess:
Beck says that he has never seen Barton "insist that he is right when the facts demonstrate otherwise," but we are assuming that that is because Beck never actually asks Barton to show him where the Constitution directlyquotes the Bible "verbatim":
Religious Right groups have publicly seethed at the Southern Poverty Law Center's decision a couple of years ago to designate several of them as hate groups for consistently spreading false, inflammatory, and defamatory propaganda about LGBT people. It is now clear that Religious Right leaders are hoping to exploit this week's shooting at the Family Research Council to try to damage the SPLC.
FRC's Tony Perkins said this week that the SPLC gave the shooter "license" to attack the organization by calling it a hate group. Liberty Counsel's Matt Barber accused the SPLC of having blood on its hands. The American Family Association and Traditional Values Coalition were among others who blamed SPLC for the attack. Religious Right groups have long equated any criticism of their positions or tactics as attacks on their freedom of speech and religion; now they are taking it a step further to say that critics must stop calling out their hateful rhetoric and naming it as such.
It is important not to let Religious Right groups exploit this violence - which was quickly and unequivocally condemned by progressive movement leaders, including People For the American Way President Michael Keegan - to divert attention from the Religious Right's anti-gay extremism. As Right Wing Watch has noted, FRC was not labeled a hate group because of a simple policy disagreement, as FRC's backers would have you believe; the SPLC cited very specific examples of FRC's wildly inflammatory anti-gay language.
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.
Perkins, of course, has lots of company in the anti-gay right who are now joining in the attack on SPLC.
One of them is Brian Brown of the National Organization for Marriage, who went on CNN on Thursday to say it is "totally irresponsible and unacceptable" to call FRC a hate group. But Brown was flummoxed when CNN anchor Zoraida Sambolin confronted him with an actual example of FRC rhetoric claiming that "one of the primary goals of the homosexual rights movement is to abolish all age of consent laws and to eventually recognize pedophiles as the 'prophets' of a new sexual order." Brown repeatedly refused to acknowledge that such rhetoric is hateful, exposing his call for "civility" as nothing but empty political posturing.
Speaking of civility, Brown has presided over at least one anti-gay rally at which a fellow speaker said gays were worthy of death. And NOM welcomed onto its board author Orson Scott Card, who had written that the advance of marriage equality was tyranny worthy of revolution:
How long before married people answer the dictators thus: Regardless of law, marriage has only one definition, and any government that attempts to change it is my mortal enemy. I will act to destroy that government and bring it down, so it can be replaced with a government that will respect and support marriage, and help me raise my children in a society where they will expect to marry in their turn. [...] American government cannot fight against marriage and hope to endure. If the Constitution is defined in such a way as to destroy the privileged position of marriage, it is that insane Constitution, not marriage, that will die.
Bryan Fischer is using yesterday's shooting at FRC headquarters as an opportunity to demand that the Southern Poverty Law Center remove "both FRC and AFA from its hate group list."
Anti-Mormon ativist Steven Andrew says Robert Jeffress must "repent for disobeying Scripture by endorsing Mormon Mitt Romney."
Jerome Corsi seems to have now become utterly fixated on proving that President Obama is gay.
Bishop EW Jackson says that "if leftists want to find racism, they can look in the mirror to see the paternalistic face of modern racism in America."
James Dobson declares that Romney has to start talking about social issues in order to motivate the Religious Right because "our country will never recover from four more years with Barack Obama at the helm."
Finally, are you sometimes confused about whether the videos we post to YouTube deserve a thumb's up or a thumb's down? You are not alone:
Today, the Family Research Council's Tony Perkins held a press conference to comment on the shooting that took place at the organization's Washington, DC headquarters yesterday.
While Perkins put the blame for the attack on the shooter, he declared that the Southern Poverty Law Center was also responsible for the attack, saying the gunman "was given a license to shoot an unarmed man by organizations like the Southern Poverty Law Center that have been reckless in labeling organizations 'hate groups' because they disagree with them on public policy."
Perkins claims that SPLC labeled FRC a "hate group" back in 2010 simply because "they disagree with [us] on public policy," and many in the media have parroted the claim. But it’s utter nonsense. As the SPLC explained, FRC received the designation "because of its dissemination of false and demonizing propaganda about gays and lesbians" and even produced a report chronicling FRC's long history of biased anti-gay activism complete with a collection of the sorts of claims made by the organization:
“Gaining access to children has been a long-term goal of the homosexual movement.”
— Robert Knight, FRC director of cultural studies, and Frank York, 1999
“[Homosexuality] … embodies a deep-seated hatred against true religion.”
— Steven Schwalm, FRC senior writer and analyst, in “Desecrating Corpus Christi,” 1999
“One of the primary goals of the homosexual rights movement is to abolish all age of consent laws and to eventually recognize pedophiles as the ‘prophets' of a new sexual order.”
-1999 FRC pamphlet, Homosexual Activists Work to Normalize Sex with Boys.
“[T]he evidence indicates that disproportionate numbers of gay men seek adolescent males or boys as sexual partners.”
— Timothy Dailey, senior research fellow, “Homosexuality and Child Sexual Abuse,” 2002
“While activists like to claim that pedophilia is a completely distinct orientation from homosexuality, evidence shows a disproportionate overlap between the two. … It is a homosexual problem.”
— FRC President Tony Perkins, FRC website, 2010
Obviously, the attack on FRC yesterday was deplorable and has been roundly denounced by a variety of LGBT groups. Political disagreement is never a justification for violence, but FRC should not seek to exploit this tragedy in an attempt to gloss over the organization's long and documented record of anti-gay extremism.