Why Was Tony Perkins Smiling At A White Supremacist Meeting?
October 9th, 2009
Tony Perkins, as President of the Family Research Council, is often called upon to “defend traditional family values” by the mainstream media. But given his background, it’s fair to ask exactly which traditions he’s motivated to defend. This clipping from a Council of Conservative Citizens newsletter called the Citizen’s Informer shows Tony Perkins appearing before the Louisiana CCC on May 17, 1997. He was a state representative at the time. According to a 2007 Media Matters for America post quoting from two sources, the Boston Herald and the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Intelligence Report, Perkins spoke again before the Louisiana Council of Conservative Citizens on May 19, 2001.
The CCC, according to the SPLC, is a White Nationalist group which is a direct descendant of the racist White Citizens Councils which were common in the 1950s and 1960s. The CCC still harbors many of those beliefs, according to their statement of principles:
(2) We believe the United States is a European country and that Americans are part of the European people. We believe that the United States derives from and is an integral part of European civilization and the European people and that the American people and government should remain European in their composition and character. …We also oppose all efforts to mix the races of mankind, to promote non-white races over the European-American people through so-called “affirmative action” and similar measures, to destroy or denigrate the European-American heritage, including the heritage of the Southern people, and to force the integration of the races.
And while the statement on “cultural, national, and racial integrity is very carefully crafted, its historical and cultural context is unmistakable.
8) Cultural, national, and racial integrity. We support the cultural and national heritage of the United States and the race and civilization of which it is a part, as well as the expression and celebration of the legitimate subcultures and ethnic and regional identities of our people. We oppose all efforts to discredit, “debunk,” denigrate, ridicule, subvert, or express disrespect for that heritage. We believe public monuments and symbols should reflect the real heritage of our people, and not a politically convenient, inaccurate, insulting, or fictitious heritage.
And among those symbols which “reflect the real heritage of our people” is the Second Third (and final) Confederate Flag you see behind Perkins. Also known as the “Blood-Stained Banner,” it was adopted in 1865 and was based on the unofficial battle-flag, which we today are more likely to misidentify as the Confederate Flag. The Confederate Congress didn’t identify what the white field was supposed to represent. Some suggested that it was meant to represent the purity of the southern cause. But others believe that it was also meant to represent the white race.
Whatever the flag’s white field may have been meant to represent at the time, at the hands of the CCC today, the entire flag’s meaning is clear. On one page of the CCC’s web site, “Why are we unique? Because we’re effective!“, the CCC brags that they are the “only group advocating for ‘white rights’ that attracts elected figures as speakers.” Tony Perkins claims that he didn’t know what the CCC was all about when he spoke to them in 1997 and 2001. I find that hard to believe.
According to the Media Matters 2007 post, Several Louisiana papers printed dozens of articles in 1998 and 1999 describing the CCC as a racist group. In fact, a 1999 Associated Press article reported that Republican National Committee chairman Jim Nicholson asked party members to sever all links to the Council of Conservative Citizens because “it appears that this group does hold racist views.” This was after Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-MS) and Rep. Bob Barr, (R-GA) created a national furor after it was revealed that they had spoken at CCC meetings.
But there’s Tony Perkins, all smiles and laughter in front of the Second Confederate Flag, speaking to an organization that is proud to promote “White Pride.”
[Hat tip: Carlo Baca]
Addendum: This isn’t the only dealings that Perkins has made with White Supremacists. Max Blumenthal wrote in The Nation that in 1996, Perkins paid former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard David Duke $82,000 for a copy of his mailing list. Perkins was then the campaign manager for Louis E. “Woody” Jenkins, a Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate in Louisiana. The Federal Election Commission fined the Jenkins campaign $3,000 for its role in hiding the money paid by Perkins to Duke.