Why Was Tony Perkins Smiling At A White Supremacist Meeting?

Jim Burroway

October 9th, 2009

Perkins speaking before the CCCTony 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.

Third and last Conferederate Flag, also known as the "Blood Stained Flag"

Third and last Confederate Flag, also known as the "Blood Stained Flag"

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.

Perkins Closeup

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.

Burr

October 9th, 2009

And this is why anti-gays are bigots. You are bigoted one way, you are bigoted many other ways. Stop trying to hide it. Take a cue from us, have some PRIDE, asshats.

KZ

October 9th, 2009

I wonder what Tony Perkins REALLY thinks of former presidential and Illinois sematorial candidate Alan Keyes.

SharonB

October 9th, 2009

Not to quibble, but I think the flag in the background is actually the 3rd and last flag adopted by the Confederacy in March of 1865. It was, according to Wikipedia, called the “blood stained banner.” It incorporated a red bar across the end so that when hanging limp, it would not be mistaken for the white flag of surrender, as the so-called “stainless banner” could be if the Southern Cross in the upper left was hidden by the draped white.

I am sure this is roundly deserving of a “whatever,” by all but the most historically pedantic.

Jim Burroway

October 9th, 2009

SharonB, quibbling is welcome, especially when you have such a sharp eye like yours. Great catch. Now that I look at the close-up image more closely, I can see the banner extend downward beyond where the white field ends. I have updated the post accordingly.

Buffy

October 10th, 2009

It’s rare you find a bigot who hates only one group. Homophobes are typically also racists and, at least to some extent, misogynists.

SharonB

October 12th, 2009

Gee, Jim, and just as I was thinking my military history major was so, well, impractical :)

ALee

March 19th, 2010

You can’t say that Tony Perkins knew about the CCC’s racism just because it was written about in the papers. After all, he’s a conservative AND a Christian evangelical – and we all know that means he doesn’t, and probably can’t, read anything that isn’t 90% pictures of naked women.

Thomas

August 6th, 2014

A Response to False Claims made by The Nation
June 15, 2005

In an article in The Nation (“Justice Sunday Preachers” April 26, 2005), Max Blumenthal falsely asserts, “In 1996 Perkins paid former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard David Duke $82,500 for his mailing list. At the time, Perkins was the campaign manager for a right-wing Republican candidate for the US Senate in Louisiana.”

Tony Perkins was the manager of the 1996 U.S. Senate campaign of Republican Woody Jenkins in Louisiana where Impact Media was contracted to make pre-recorded telephone calls for the campaign. In 1999, an unrelated federal investigation uncovered that David Duke had a financial interest in the company, which he did not report to the IRS, resulting in his conviction on federal tax evasion charges. This connection was not known to Mr. Perkins until 1999. Mr. Perkins profoundly opposes the racial views of Mr. Duke and was profoundly grieved to learn that Duke was a party to the company that had done work for the 1996 campaign.

These facts have been widely reported in Louisiana and the reports appearing now in various partisan media are not accurate. In 2003, Mr. Jenkins published a letter in the major daily in Baton Rouge responding to a critical article that resurrected the same distortion. “t is unfortunate,” Jenkins wrote, “for you to smear a good man like [then-] Rep. Tony Perkins. There is absolutely nothing about the matter that should taint Rep. Perkins. His intentions were entirely honorable, and neither he nor I have ever been ‘in bed’ with David Duke as you so crudely and unjustifiably allege.”

The assertions made by Mr. Blumenthal are untrue and a distortion of the facts.

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