The organization and its leader, Tony Perkins is still steaming over the anti-gay hate group designation given to it and several other religious right groups by the Southern Poverty Law Center. This week, the organization ran full page ads in Politico and the Washington Examiner calling the designation into question but conveniently not directly addressing the charges that they deliberately spread anti-gay propaganda and junk science to smear the lgbt community.
The ads also had the signatures of over 150 conservative leaders, including over 20 members of Congress.
Yesterday during an interview with Tucker Carlson's Daily Caller, FRC's Perkins made an interesting comment:
“We’re not afraid to debate the issues,” Perkins said in a phone interview. “We are not running from the debate. We are confident on the issues we advocate for based on empirical, peer-reviewed research.”
The comment is highly ironic seeing that the last time Perkins did have a debate on the issue - on the news program Hardball with the SPLC's Mark Potok - he distorted data to make the inaccurate claim that pedophilia and homosexuality is connected. He also cited an organization, the American College of Pediatricians. It was later discovered that the ACP is not a legitimate medical organization but a sham group created to push religious right distortions about the lgbt community.
Hardball's host, Chris Matthews, was forced to give a clarifying statement regarding the ACP on a later broadcast.
Since that time, Perkins has pretty much avoided debates, appearing on "friendly" news programs such as Fox and Friends. Nor has he been directly addressing SPLC's charges.
That seems to have been left up to the other anti-gay groups listed by SPLC. But unfortunately, their spokespeople haven't been doing such a good job.
This week during an interview with the Concerned Women for America's Martha Kleder, Peter LaBarbera (head of Americans for Truth, another organization cited as a hate group) actually admitted to citing bad studies in order to smear the lgbt community.
Meanwhile, Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association (yet another group cited by SPLC's for its spreading of anti-gay propaganda) has made statements during interviews and columns that have, to many, justified SPLC for calling his organization and several others out.
During the same Daily Caller interview, Perkins said the organization plans to go on a nationwide tour to get more signatures for its letter. He also said:
. . . Despite the claims made in today’s statement, the SPLC’s listings are not in any way intended to suppress these groups’ free speech. We’re not asking that these groups be silenced or punished in any way. What we are doing is calling them out for their lies. There is nothing wrong with labeling an organization a hate group based on what they say. A simple example illustrates the point: If a neo-Nazi group said all Jews are “vermin,” no one would argue with our characterizing it as a hate group.
Neither are we mounting an attack on individuals or “groups that uphold Judeo-Christian moral views,” as today’s statement suggests. In fact, as we say in our article dissecting the views of these groups, “Viewing homosexuality as unbiblical does not qualify organizations for listing as hate groups.” Instead, as we explained there, “the SPLC’s listings of these groups is based on their propagation of known falsehoods — claims about LGBT people that have been thoroughly discredited by scientific authorities — and repeated, groundless name-calling.”
Personally, I am all for FRC taking their letter on tour. That would give the lgbt community the opportunity to ask them several questions such as:
Please explain how the following statements are an example of upholding "Judeo-Christain" moral views:
•Gays should be exported from the country;
•The federal government must be overthrown if it allows gay marriage;
•"Moral perverts" need to be kept out of the military;
•There is nothing "conservative" about "one man violently cramming his penis into another man’s lower intestine and calling it 'love'";
•Homosexual behavior ought to be outlawed;
•Gay sex ought to carry criminal penalties;
•Gays ought to be prohibited from serving in public office;
•Gay sex is domestic terrorism;
•"Hitler recruited around him homosexuals to make up his Stormtroopers ... [because] homosexual soldiers basically had no limits [to] the savagery and brutality they were willing to inflict."
Hat tip to People for the American Way's Right Wing Watch.
* Even though SPLC didn't respond to the Daily Caller's request for a quote, the site had an obligation to at least report the fact that SPLC did address FRC's letter. That's what a credible journalist would have done. Or have I answered my own question in terms of why the Daily Caller didn't report on SPLC's reponse to FRC?