Friday, November 30, 2012

Hate group exploits Ugandan anti-gay bill to attack press, liberals

Recently, the Family Research Council came under fire because its president, Tony Perkins, sent out the following tweet:

Many of us took it to mean that Perkins was supporting Uganda's anti-gay bill, a bill which has generated a lot of negative press.

Yesterday, Perkins attempted make the claim that folks were overreacting and thus mistaking his tweet:

 With fewer journalists able to separate the news from their personal politics, groups like FRC are no longer fighting bias--but outright deception. If you read Monday's Update or follow me on Twitter, then you know that FRC was highly complimentary of Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, who took the bold step of leading his country in a public prayer of confession for a multitude of sins Uganda committed over the last 50 years, including the genocide of Idi Amin. "We want Uganda to be known as a nation that fears God and as a nation whose foundations are firmly rooted in righteousness and justice..." Not surprisingly, the U.S. media wasn't nearly as impressed by this gesture as FRC--a fact I alluded to in a tweet that same day. "American liberals are upset that Ugandan Pres is leading his nation in repentance--afraid of a modern example of a nation prospered by God?"

Fair enough for Perkins. However, there are two things wrong with this:

1. Why did Perkins wait so long to give an explanation about the tweet?
2. Most importantly, the tweet itself was inaccurate. Many of us "American liberals" were not aware of Museveni's prayer. So how could we have gotten upset over it? The controversy itself speaks to that.  If we had knowledge of Museveni's prayer, how could we have mistaken Perkins' support of it as support for that dreadful bill?

But leave it to Perkins to milk the situation:

 . . . as we learned two years ago, if you want to get the press's attention, just say the word "Uganda" and wait for the firestorm. For years, the African nation has been condemned for its severe laws criminalizing homosexuality. Despite allegations to the contrary, FRC has never supported that policy--or any policy that imposes the death penalty on homosexuals. What we do oppose is the suggestion that gay and lesbian acts are universal human rights. So when Congress introduced a resolution in 2010 denouncing Uganda's punishment for homosexuality, FRC fought--at the request of some Members--to strike the pro-homosexual "human rights" language from the final measure. Several liberals, including David Weigel at the Washington Post, chose to misrepresent our involvement as an indication that we opposed the entire bill! "Family Research Council Lobbied against Resolution Condemning Uganda Anti-Homosexuality Law," Weigel's headline read. It was a convenient storyline for extremists like the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) who resort to demonizing FRC when they can't compete with us ideologically. Although Weigel later posted a retraction, the damage had already been done. Now, more than two years later, the lies about FRC's position have resurfaced. After Monday's story, HRC had the audacity to post that by applauding President Museveni, FRC was "praising the 'kill the gays' bill." I challenge anyone with a half a brain to read my tweet or Update story and conclude that FRC is any way supporting the death penalty of homosexuals. But gay activists have their hooks so deeply in the mainstream media that reporters no longer bother to check their facts.

As Right-Wing Watch points out, Perkins is obviously misrepresenting FRC's position on the bill:

 . . . in 2009 the FRC admits to having spent thousands of dollars lobbying for Congress trying to revise and muddy the resolution condemning the bill because they said it would entail “pro-homosexual promotion.” “We didn’t necessarily lobby against or for the resolution but tried to work with offices to make the language more neutral on homosexuality,” FRC’s Tom McClusky said at the time, “the original language was incorrect on what Uganda was doing as well.”  

And there are two things wrong with Perkins's present explanation:

1. The current legislation still contains the provision about the death penalty for gays.
2. And regardless of that provision, Perkins didn't say a word about the other awful provisions of that bill, including the portion which makes homosexuality itself a crime for which Ugandans can receive life in prison.

Lastly, Perkins really takes the cake with the following statement:

Americans need to understand that this cozy relationship between the liberal media and unreliable sources like HRC is fostering a culture of hatred and violence--that same culture that led to the attempted mass murder of the entire FRC office. 

 The sad irony is that if Perkins was not so invested in exploiting that near tragic situation, he would have more of an understanding as to how real cultures of violence and hatred are fostered, such as how the idea for that awful bill in Uganda came to being via American religious right activists.

As it is now, Perkins either has no idea or simply do not care.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

This is an illustration of something vey annoying that seems to be getting more common in America: Jerks like Tony pretending they don't know how language works. Acting like subtelty and innuendo don't exist and that as long as they never explicitly say ____, they never meant ____.

That tweet was praising Uganda for killing gay people. That's what he meant, that's how his supporters read it. If he'd actually meant it being about a big public prayer he would have mentioned that prayer in it.

However he knows that "Yay for killing gays!" is too honest, that while his fans might eat it up the majority of the country finds it repulsive, so he has to hide the real meaning. He'll blatantly imply something disgusting and offensive, like this post praising Uganda when the only story in the media about Uganda right now is them killiung gays,but as long as he never explicitly saya he wants us dead he can backpedal and claim he was talking about something totally different and the meanie liberals are distorting his words.

The presidential campaign was one giant example of this. We all know what they really meant when they called Obama a spearthrowing not-a-real-American welfare queen who doesn't appreciate our anglo-saxon heritage, but as long as they never explicitly say what they really mean they're able to claim that they weren't implying what they were obviously implying.