Where Do You Begin With Something Like This?
May 22nd, 2015
How about with a little bit of snark? Throughout the Family “Research” Council’s 32-year history, it has promoted the lie that gays and lesbians were far more likely to molest children, even though it is not and never has been true. In fact, we now know that, at least as of yesterday, it’s FRC leaders who are statistically much more likely to molest kids than pretty much any other group.
That fact came to light after Josh Duggar, the executive director of FRC Action, the group’s political lobbying arm, resigned amid allegations that he had molested at least five girls between 2002 and 2003.
Josh Duggar joined the Family “Research” Council in 2013 to become their rock-star anti-gay activist. Last December, he led successful effort to defeat an LGBT nondiscrimination ordinance in Fayetteville, Arkansas. He charged that the ordinance would pose a threat to children, an argument that his mother, Michelle Duggar, repeated in a robocall to voters. ThinkProgress has a pretty good round-up of examples of Josh Duggar’s lectures on family values. As FRC’s superstar political executive, he campaigned on behalf of ultra-conservative candidates in Kansas, Virginia, and Mississippi, and he’s had so many photos and selfies taken with GOP presidential aspirants that there’s an entire Tumbler dedicated to them.
Josh Duggar reached his rock-star status as the scion of the humongous Duggar clan, headed by Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar. The family follows a strict form of conservative Christianity which includes the Quiverfull and Christian Patriarchy movements. The names of those movements are suggestive. The Quiverfull movement eschews birth control so that families can raise up large numbers of children as foot soldiers for Christ, while the Christian Patriarchy movement teaches that families must follow a strict patriarchal order. Millions of viewers have become familiar with these movements through the Duggars’ TLC reality series “19 kids and counting.” It had debuted as “17 Kids and Counting” in 2008. That series grew out of a series of TLC specials, including “14 Children and Pregnant Again!” (2005), Raising 16 Children” (2005), and “16 Children and Moving In” (2005), in which they move into a 7,000 square-foot house that was partly built by TLC.
But it was at about that time when Springdale, Arkansas, police had opened a felony investigation against the Duggar’s oldest son, Josh. The scandal magazine InTouch Weekly broke the story yesterday, that Springdale police opened their investigation following a tip from Oprah Winfrey’s Harpo Studios, which had received an email from an un-named Arkansas resident detailing some of Josh’s molestations. The Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette added that at the same time Harpo Studios passed on the email to authorities, Springdale police were notified about a letter “containing allegations of improper touching in the Duggar home. The report says the letter, written 31/2 years earlier, had been found in a book lent by a family friend of the Duggars to someone else.”
Police followed up and interviewed Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, who said that they learned in March 2002 that Josh, then 14, had, on multiple occasions, touched another girl’s breasts and genitals while she slept. Their reaction? They “disciplined (Josh) after this incident,” but otherwise kept quiet.
Then nine months later, they found out that “there was another incident” — actually incidents, as multiple girls were involved. This time, Jim Bob consulted church elders — none of whom reported the abuse to authorities — and promised to send Josh to a “program [that] consisted of hard physical work and counseling.” That “program” appears to have been little more than helping out a family friend in the remodeling business for three months, although new reports are emerging that the family friend, Harold Walker, was a former leader at the Little Rock-based Institute in Basic Life Principles Training Center. The faith based and unaccredited center was founded by Bill Gothard, who resigned after more than thirty young women and teenagers claimed they were sexually harassed by Gothard.
After Josh returned from Arkansas, Jim Bob took him to family friend and Arkansas State Trooper, Jim Hutchens, who gave Josh a “very stern talk,” but otherwise took no official action. Hutchens, it turns out, is serving a 56-year prison on child porn charges. When police asked to talk to Josh, the Duggars lawyered up — after two lawyers refused to take the case — and refused to cooperate further. The investigated ended in late 2000 because the statute of limitations ran out. The Democrat-Gazette reports however than investigators filed a “family in need of services” affidavit in Juvenile Court, which resulted in a trial in 2007. The records of that trial are sealed.
Well, now that this has come to light, TLC has announced that they are pulling “19 Kids and Counting” from their schedule. That was after having unwisely run a three-hour “19 Kids and Counting” marathon last night, which provoked a giant social media backlash. Another seven-hour marathon had been scheduled for tonight.
Immediately following Josh Duggar’s resignation, the Family “Research” Council issued the following statement:
“Today Josh Duggar made the decision to resign his position as a result of previously unknown information becoming public concerning events that occurred during his teenage years.
“Josh believes that the situation will make it difficult for him to be effective in his current work. We believe this is the best decision for Josh and his family at this time. We will be praying for everyone involved,” concluded (FRC President Tony) Perkins.
You can bet that this statement is a very far cry from the one they would have released had it been the oldest son of a famous same-sex couple who had been accused of molesting children. It’s also interesting that FRC posted the statement to its front page where it will likely disappear over the weekend, instead of to a dedicated press release where it might remain available for future reference. Meanwhile, the Dugger family — Jim Bob and Michelle, Josh, and his wife Anna — posted these three statements on Facebook:
From Jim Bob and Michelle:
Back 12 years ago our family went through one of the most difficult times of our lives. When Josh was a young teenager, he made some very bad mistakes and we were shocked. We had tried to teach him right from wrong. That dark and difficult time caused us to seek God like never before. Even though we would never choose to go through something so terrible, each one of our family members drew closer to God. We pray that as people watch our lives they see that we are not a perfect family. We have challenges and struggles everyday. It is one of the reasons we treasure our faith so much because God’s kindness and goodness and forgiveness are extended to us — even though we are so undeserving. We hope somehow the story of our journey — the good times and the difficult times — cause you to see the kindness of God and learn that He can bring you through anything.
Twelve years ago, as a young teenager I acted inexcusably for which I am extremely sorry and deeply regret. I hurt others, including my family and close friends. I confessed this to my parents who took several steps to help me address the situation. We spoke with the authorities where I confessed my wrongdoing and my parents arranged for me and those affected by my actions to receive counseling. I understood that if I continued down this wrong road that I would end up ruining my life. I sought forgiveness from those I had wronged and asked Christ to forgive me and come into my life. I would do anything to go back to those teen years and take different actions. In my life today, I am so very thankful for God’s grace, mercy and redemption.
I can imagine the shock many of you are going through reading this. I remember feeling that same shock. It was not at the point of engagement, or after we were married – it was two years before Josh asked me to marry him. When my family and I first visited the Duggar Home, Josh shared his past teenage mistakes. I was surprised at his openness and humility and at the same time didn’t know why he was sharing it. For Josh he wanted not just me but my parents to know who he really was — even every difficult past mistakes. At that point and over the next two years, Josh shared how the counseling he received changed his life as he continued to do what he was taught. And when you, our sweet fans, first met me when Josh asked me to marry him… I was able to say, “Yes” knowing who Josh really is – someone who had gone down a wrong path and had humbled himself before God and those whom he had offended. Someone who had received the help needed to change the direction of his life and do what is right. I want to say thank you to those who took time over a decade ago to help Josh in a time of crisis. Your investment changed his life from going down the wrong path to doing what is right. If it weren’t for your help I would not be here as his wife — celebrating 6 1/2 years of marriage to a man who knows how to be a gentleman and treat a girl right. Thank you to all of you who tirelessly work with children in crisis, you are changing lives and I am forever grateful for all of you.
Do you notice what’s included in these statements? God has forgiven him and so should you. Also, they’re closer to God now. (Is that supposed to make it okay? I wonder how Josh’s victims feel.) And lots of concern for Josh’s well-being in this “difficult time” — but don’t worry. He’s moved on and is much better now.
Notice what’s missing? Any mention of his victims or their difficult times, which must undoubtedly stretch back at least a dozen years and is being revived all over again today. How are they doing today? Are they thankful for their “journey”?
This is more than mere hypocrisy. That word is far too trivial to use here. This is abusive, both in the original acts of molestation, and in the parents unconscionable decision to turn their entire family into a public spectacle. Because here’s the thing: At least one of the victims was a daughter of Jim Bob and Michelle.* That fact right there, which they well knew at the time and were busy sweeping under the rug, makes their decision to turn their entire family reality TV starts all the more revolting. For the sake of their pride and the opportunity to become big-time TV stars and culture war activists, they coerced at least one sexual abuse victim in their own family to smile and pretend that nothing was wrong. I can’t imagine too many things more vile than that.
* A number of other sites have reported this detail about Josh’s victims, and it’s not too difficult to find out more, including the precise numbers and other details. I recognize how important it is to keep sexual abuse victims’ details private, and I struggled with whether to provide this information here. But I decided to include this because it is particularly germane to a broader issue of abuse that goes beyond Josh’s activities and the parents’ egregious response. Please do no disclose any further details about the victims in the comments. They will be deleted, without exception.
Tony Perkins: “Winning!”
October 6th, 2014
Family “Research” Council’s Tony Perkins has cornered the market on rose-colored glasses this afternoon:
If liberals should be anything, it’s worried. When it comes to marriage, time is not on their side. Deep down, the Left knows it needed the Court to force same-sex “marriage” on America before more people saw the fallout for Christians like Aaron and Melissa Klein. Or sportscasters like Craig James. Or CEOs like Brandon Eich. Ask them if same-sex “marriage” is just about two people who love each other. For them, it was about losing their business, their livelihood, and their freedom.
If the Supreme Court thinks America isn’t ready for same-sex “marriage,” they’re right. As more states are forced to recognize it, people will see the ensuing attacks on religious freedom. They’ll feel the wedge driven between parents and their children when school curriculum is changed to contradict the morals moms and dads are teaching at home. They’ll shudder as more people lose their jobs because they refuse to celebrate (not just tolerate) same-sex “marriage.” Maybe then they’ll realize that the true goal is not about the marriage altar — but fundamentally altering society.
As disappointing as the Supreme Court’s silence is, the good news is that the debate over same-sex “marriage” will continue. With 92 cases on marriage flooding the courts, conservatives have a chance to push back and demand that Congress step in where SCOTUS has not. By refusing to get involved in a mess it helped create, the justices are leaving our laws vulnerable to rogue judges on the lower courts. With the exception of one district court, the benches have been filled with black-robed tyrants who insist on substituting their radical ideology for history, legal precedent, and the consensus of voters and the law. That has to stop.
Working Through the Five Steps of Grief
October 6th, 2014
The first step in the Kübler-Ross model is denial and the second step is anger, but leave it to anti-gay activists to go through the steps in the wrong order. They hit anger first, but now they’re backtracking to denial:
— FRC (@FRCdc) October 6, 2014
— Peter Sprigg (@spriggfrc) October 6, 2014
And Concerned Women for America’s Penny Nance:
“It is important to note that the Supreme Court has not ruled on the constitutionality of same-sex ‘marriage.’ They have merely declined to address the issue at this point in time, and that is actually better than imposing their view of marriage on the whole country. Americans are having a robust debate on this important issue, and for the Supreme Court to interrupt that debate and decide the issue for the country would be disastrous.”
And then there’s this, from the Family Policy Institute of Washington:
However, this is certainly not the final word on this subject either in the courts or in the culture. In the courts, there are several other cases working their way up through the system. The Supreme Court could be waiting for one of those cases to delay their final decision a couple of years. Culturally, the conversation over this issue is just getting started. In one sense, proponents of redefining marriage are just finishing their opening argument. Time will afford the chance for a rebuttal.
…In thirty years, it is the children of same-sex relationships who will be arguing most forcefully on our behalf. That is not because those children will hate the same-sex couples who raised them but because they will be immune to the argument that the only possible reason to support natural marriage is because you hate gay people. They will also have a perspective that those who deal only in theory and never in practice will have no response for.
The other steps are bargaining, depression and acceptance. I’m not sure where delusional falls into the scheme of things.
October 6th, 2014
— Peter LaBarbera (@PeterLaBarbera) October 6, 2014
The Supreme Court, by doing nothing, just issued the de facto Roe v. Wade ruling of sodomy-based marriage.
— Bryan Fischer (@BryanJFischer) October 6, 2014
SCOTUS refuses to issue stays, redefined marriage soon in UT, WI, IN, VA and OK. Religious freedom under greater threat now. Here we go…
— Thomas Peters (@AmericanPapist) October 6, 2014
— Peter Sprigg (@spriggfrc) October 6, 2014
The Family “Research” Council’s Tony Perkins says the sky is falling:
“Unfortunately, by failing to take up these marriage cases, the High Court will allow rogue lower court judges who have ignored history and true legal precedent to silence the elected representatives of the people and the voice of the people themselves by overturning state provisions on marriage. Even more alarming, lower court judges are undermining our form of government and the rights and freedoms of citizens to govern themselves. This judicially led effort to force same sex ‘marriage’ on people will have negative consequences for our Republic, not only as it relates to natural marriage but also undermining the rule of and respect for law.
“The Court decision ensures that the debate over natural marriage will continue and the good news is that time is not on the side of those who want to redefine marriage. As more states are forced to redefine marriage, contrary to nature and directly in conflict with the will of millions, more Americans will see and experience attacks on their religious freedom. Parents will find a wedge being driven between them and their children as school curriculum is changed to contradict the morals parents are teaching their children. As more and more people lose their livelihoods because they refuse to not just tolerate but celebrate same-sex marriage, Americans will see the true goal, which is for activists to use the Court to impose a redefinition of natural marriage on the entire nation.
Ryan T. Anderson is not throwing in the towel:
This is an unfortunate setback for sound constitutional self-government and a setback for a healthy marriage culture. …Declining to review these cases does not speak one way or the other to the merits of the cases. But it does leave in place bad rulings from lower courts—and it will make it harder for courts to do the right thing in the future.
Nevertheless, as citizens, we must rally in support of our constitutional authority to pass laws making marriage policy. We must insist that law and culture promote the truth about marriage.
Neither is NOM’s Brian Brown:
…[G]iven what the Supreme Court has allowed to happen, the only alternative to letting unelected judges impose their view of marriage on Americans across the country is to pursue a process that will allow the American people to decide for themselves what is marriage. It is critical not only to marriage but to the republican form of government in this country to amend the Constitution to reaffirm the meaning of marriage. We therefore call on the US Congress to move forward immediately to send a federal marriage amendment to the states for ratification.
“We call upon Americans vigorously to contest this development by turning to the political process, starting with the upcoming mid-term elections. We urge voters to hold politicians accountable and demand to know if they will accept the illegitimate act of attempting to redefine marriage or whether they will stand with the American people to resist. In particular, we urge Republicans to hold their party leaders to account, and to demand that they remain true to their belief that marriage is the union of one man and one woman which was a pillar of the party’s founding in 1856, and remains essential to society’s well-being today.
Alliance Defending Freedom (formerly the Alliance Defense Fund), which is defending several of these states’ marriage bans, is doing all it can to keep that lipstick on the pig:
US Supreme Court holds off on taking up marriage issue
Monday, October 06, 2014
The following quote may be attributed to Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel Byron Babione regarding the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision Monday declining to hear cases involving marriage laws in several states, including petitions ADF attorneys filed in defense of Oklahoma’s and Virginia’s marriage laws:
“The court’s decision not to take up this issue now means that the marriage battle will continue. Several federal courts – including those in the 5th, 6th, 8th, and 11th circuits – still have cases working their way to the Supreme Court. ADF will continue to remain a leader in the critical effort for the freedom of the people. The people should decide this issue, not the courts.”
GOP Slams Brakes On Rebranding Effort
April 11th, 2013
The Republican National Committee is meeting in Los Angeles over the next three days beginning today, and one of the first items on the agenda for consideration is a resolution that states:
WHEREAS, the institution of marriage is the solid foundation upon which our society is built and in which children thrive; it is based in the conjugal relationship that only a man and a woman can form; and
WHEREAS, support for marriage has been repeatedly affirmed nationally in the 2012 Republican National Platform, through the enactment of the Defense of Marriage Act in 1996, signed into law by President Bill Clinton), and passed by the voters of 41 States including California via Proposition 8; and
WHEREAS, no Act of human government can change the reality that marriage is a natural and most desirable union; especially when procreation is a goal; and
WHEREAS, the future of our country is children; it has been proven repeatedly that the most secure and nurturing environment in which to raise healthy well adjusted children is in a home where both mother and father are bound together in a loving marriage; and
WHEREAS, economically, marriage is America’s greatest weapon against child poverty no matter what ethnic background individuals are; and, based on the facts of stunning recent articles, marriage is the best way for society to get out of poverty and raise emotionally healthy children; and
WHEREAS, The U.S. Supreme Court is considering the constitutionality of laws adopted to protect marriage from the unfounded accusation that support for marriage is based only on irrational prejudice against homosexuals; therefore be it
RESOLVED, the Republican National Committee affirms its support for marriage as the union of one man and one woman, and as the optimum environment in which to raise healthy children for the future of American; and be it further
RESOLVED, the Republican National Committee implores the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold the sanctity of marriage in its rulings on California’s Proposition 8 and the Federal Defense of Marriage Act.
The GOP platform last summer was probably the most anti-gay platform in the party’s history. After Barack Obama won re-election in a campaign which included support for marriage equality, there were some suggestions that the Republican Party should soften its anti-gay positions. But after RNC Chairman Reince Priebus issued the official “autopsy” of the 2012 presidential elections which called on the party to become more “inclusive and welcoming,” a coalition of social conservatives responded with a letter to GOP leadership warning that “an abandonment of its principles will necessarily result in the abandonment of our constituents to their support.” The letter writers also protest that their anti-gay stance does not mean the party can’t can’t attract gay voters:
Many homosexuals are active in the GOP because they agree with Republicans on economic issues. The fact that the Party is strongly committed to traditional marriage has not prevented their involvement through GOProud or Log Cabin Republicans. We deeply resent the insinuation that we have treated homosexuals unkindly personally.
And we would like to point out that in the four blue states where voters narrowly voted for same sex marriage in 2012, Mitt Romney, who refused to discuss the issue, lost by an average of five points more than the state initiatives to preserve marriage.
Republicans would do well to persuade young voters why marriage between a man and a woman is so important rather than abandon thousands of years of wisdom to please them.
…Real and respectful communication is needed with our organizations. Alleged gaffes by candidates in 2012 on social issues could have been avoided if Party leadership had consulted us, the experts on how to articulate those positions.
Those so-called “experts” who signed the letter were:
- Gary Bauer, President, American Values
- Paul Caprio, Director, Family-Pac Federal
- Marjorie Dannenfelser, President, Susan B. Anthony List
- Dr. James Dobson, President and Founder, Family Talk Action
- Andrea Lafferty, President, Traditional Values Coalition
- Tom Minnery, Executive Director, CitizenLink
- William J. Murray, Chairman, Religious Freedom Coalition
- Tony Perkins, President, Family Research Council
- Sandy Rios, VP of Government Affairs, Family-Pac Federal
- Austin Ruse, President, Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute
- Phyllis Schlafly, President, Eagle Forum
- Rev. Louis P. Sheldon, Founder, Traditional Values Coalition
- Tim Wildmon, President, American Family Association
According to Politico, the anti-gay resolution is expected to pass overwhelmingly tomorrow when it goes before the full committee, although it’s not clear whether the resolution’s final form will be the same as the version that has circulated today.
Family “Research” Council Blames “Bullies” For Boy Scout Policy Change
January 28th, 2013
This email went out moments ago under the subject line, “Will the Boy Scouts stand up to bullies?”
For decades, the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) have heroically withstood attacks from homosexual activists. Now, officials from the organization have indicated that this may be about to change. The BSA says that it is “discussing potentially removing the national membership restriction regarding sexual orientation.”
“Be prepared.” The motto of the venerable organization that has helped develop countless boys into men, preparedness is not only an aspiration, but a descriptor. Thus far they’ve been prepared to withstand the constant bullying by those who work to bring down all that the millions of dedicated Scouts and Scout leaders stand for.
A departure from their long-held policies would be devastating to an organization that has prided itself on the development of character in boys. In fact, according to a recent Gallup survey, only 42 percent of Americans support changing the policy to allow homosexual scout leaders.
As the BSA board meets next week, it is crucial that they hear from those who stand with them and their current policy regarding homosexuality. Please call the Boy Scouts of America at 972-580-2000 and tell them that you want to see the organization stand firm in its moral values and respect the right of parents to discuss these sexual topics with their children.
Please call the Boy Scouts at 972-580-2000!
Oh yes, do please call the Boy Scouts at 972-580-2000 — that’s 972-580-2000! — and thank them for opening Scouting up to those who have been bullied the most. Operators are standing by.
Tony Perkins Reacts
November 7th, 2012
This was supposed to be the morning when Americans got up and shook off the nightmare of the last four years. Instead, they awakened to a new one: a profound drubbing of the Republican Party that is supposed to be the guardian of the conservative vision our nation so desperately needs. On every level–presidential, congressional, social–it was a bruising day for our movement that no amount of spin can improve…
Among the more demoralizing losses yesterday were the outcomes in Maryland, Minnesota, Washington, and Maine, where natural marriage lost for the first time in America by popular vote. It was a significant moment for the radical Left, which was helped to victory by the most pro-gay President in American history. But contrary to what the Left will say, the narrow margin for victory in these four states offers plenty of evidence that a solid majority of Americans still opposes same-sex “marriage.” Despite being outspent 8-to-1 in some of the most liberal states in the country, we witnessed record-setting petition efforts that crossed every racial, party, and socioeconomic divide. And while homosexuals may be celebrating an end to our movement’s perfect record, they still have a long way to go to match the 32 states where Americans voted overwhelmingly to protect the union of a man and woman. And that includes North Carolina, where President Obama’s endorsement of same-sex “marriage” likely cost him the state’s electoral votes.
In a glimmer of good news on the marriage front, the support for marriage in these four states actually out-polled Mitt Romney, who won 48% of the popular vote. In the weeks and months ahead, we’re confident that as voters see and experience the consequences of redefining marriage, many will reconsider their support. How can I be so certain? Forty years after Roe v. Wade, the nation is more pro-life, and the abortion issue is far from settled. As with same-sex “marriage,” the Left can make it legal, but they can never make it right.
FRC seeks to refute that they are a hate group by illustrating that they are
August 23rd, 2012
Family Research Council released this “clarification” of the reasons that they are (correctly) listed as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center:
Does FRC claim that “gay people are child molesters?”
FRC has never said, and does not believe, that most homosexuals are child molesters. However, it is undisputed that the percentage of child sex abuse cases that are male-on-male is far higher than the percentage of adult males who are homosexual. This suggests that male homosexuality is a risk factor for child sexual abuse. Homosexual activists argue that men who molest boys are not actually “homosexual;” but scholarly evidence undermines that claim. It also cannot be disputed that there is a sub-culture within the homosexual movement that advocates “intergenerational” sexual relationships. FRC’s writings on this topic–unlike the SPLC’s–have been carefully documented with references to the original scholarly literature.
We have illustrated clearly that the “scholarly evidence” refutes rather than supports FRC’s claims.
As for there being some sub-culture that advocates intergenerational sexual relationships, they must be very sub-culture indeed. So sub that no one knows who they are nor are we aware of any such advocacy.
These blatantly false claims alone would qualify FRC as a hate group.
Does FRC want to “criminalize” homosexuality?
FRC has made no effort to reinstate sodomy laws since the U.S. Supreme Court struck them down in the 2003 case of Lawrence v. Texas. In a 2010 interview on a different topic, the question of whether we should “outlaw gay behavior” in U.S. civil law was raised not by an FRC spokesman, but by MSNBC’s Chris Matthews. The spokesman affirmed that FRC (like three Supreme Court justices) believed Lawrence was wrongly decided; but the interview left some viewers with the mistaken impression that “re-criminalizing” homosexuality is a policy goal for FRC. It is not.
You will notice that they do not deny that they want to criminalize homosexuality. Because they do. It’s simply not a stated “policy goal”.
This bolsters their case for qualification as a hate group.
Does FRC want to kick homosexuals out of the country?
Just days after an interview was posted online in 2008, an FRC spokesman publicly apologized on the FRC website for having used the words “import” and “export” as metaphors for voluntary immigration and emigration by homosexuals. The interview related to legislation which would grant special preference in immigration to foreign nationals who are the homosexual partners of American citizens.
Well, now, where I come from we call that a lie. Rather than “metaphors for voluntary immigration and emigration”, what Peter Sprigg actually said was:
I would much prefer to export homosexuals from the United States than to import them into the United States because we believe homosexuality is destructive to society.
I see nothing “voluntary” in that statement. And, frankly, lying about the original statement makes the subsequent apology somewhat suspect.
Does FRC support the execution of homosexuals in Uganda ?
This charge was refuted as soon as it appeared in 2010. FRC has publicly opposed the much-publicized bill (never adopted) in Uganda that would have imposed criminal penalties for various offenses related to homosexual conduct, and the death penalty for something known as “aggravated homosexuality.” We responded to requests from Congressional offices for advice on the wording of a resolution condemning the Uganda bill–then reported those contacts as “lobbying,” as is required by law. FRC did not “lobby” against the resolution; our advice was limited to suggestions for language that would accurately describe the Uganda bill and the state of international law.
I wasn’t in the room. But I’ll let you guess whether I believe they are telling the truth.
FRC Shooter Indicted
August 22nd, 2012
Floyd Lee Corkins II, 28, was indicted on Federal and D.C. charges today in connection with last week’s shooting of an unarmed security guard at the Family Research Council’s Washington D.C. headquarters. The Federal charge is the interstate transportation of a firearm and ammunition from his home in Virginia to the District of Columbia. The D.C. charge is assault with intent to kill while armed. Corkins is scheduled to appear in court on Friday for a joint preliminary hearing and detention hearing.
Tony Perkins: “I Wrote” GOP Platform
August 21st, 2012
The Log Cabin Republicans yesterday were all kinds of proud over the impact they had in helping to shape the Republican platform this week. LCR chief R. Clarke Cooper told BuzzFeed’s Chris Geidner that the draft platform’s preamble approved yesterday morning includes the statement, “We embrace the principle that all Americans have the right to be treated with dignity and respect,” which they took as some kind of an olive branch to the gay community. Bless their little hearts. And they also sold themselves a little short. I managed to find another reference to dignity and respect in the main body of the draft platform. Maybe you can find it too.
The Institution of marriage is the foundation of civil society. Its success as an institution will determine our success as a nation. It has been proven by both experience and endless social science studies that marriage is best for children. Children raised in intact married families are more likely to attend college, and are physically and emotionally healthier, are less likely to use drugs or alcohol, are less like to to engage in crime, and are less likely to get pregnant outside of marriage. The success of marriage directly impacts the economic wellbeing of individuals. Furthermore, the future of marriage affects freedom. The lack of family formation not only leads to more government costs, but also more government control over the lives of its citizens in all facets. We recognize and honor the courageous efforts of those who bear the many burdens of parenting along, even as we believe that marriage, the union of one man and one woman must be upheld as a national standard, a goal to stand for, encourage, and promote through laws governing marriage. We embrace the principle that all Americans should be treated with respect and dignity.
Marriage and the Judiciary
A serious threat to our country’s constitutional order, perhaps even more dangerous than presidential malfeasance, is an activist judiciary, in which some judges usurp the powers reserved to other branches of government. A blatant example has been the court-ordered redefinition of marriage in several States. This is more than a matter of warring legal concepts and ideals. It is an assault on the foundation of our society, challenging the institution which, for thousands of years in virtually every civilization, has been entrusted with the rearing of children and the transmission of cultural values.
Defense of Marriage
That is why congressional Republicans took the lead in enacting the Defense of Marriage Act, affirming the right of States and the federal government not to recognize same-sex relationships licensed in other jurisdictions. An activist judiciary usurps the powers reserved to other branches of government and endangers the foundation of our society. We oppose the Administration’s open defiance of this constitutional principle — in its handling of immigration cases, in federal personnel benefits, in allowing same-sex marriage at a military base, and in refusing to defend DOMA in the courts — makes a mockery of the President’s inaugural oath. We commend the United States House of Representatives and those State Attorneys Generals who have defended these laws when they have been attacked in the courts. We reaffirm our support for a constitutional amendment defining marriage as a union of one man and one woman. We applaud the citizens of the majority of States which have enshrined in their constitutions the traditional concept of marriage, and we support the campaigns underway in several other states to do so.
That doesn’t sound like a platform influenced by the Log Cabin Republicans. It sound much more like — actually, virtually identical to — something that would have come out of an email blast from the Family “Research” Council:
Family Research Council president Tony Perkins told BuzzFeed: “You should read the entire plank on marriage, which I wrote. I feel very happy about it. I feel pretty optimistic about the outcome here.” [Emphasis added]
Ordinarily, whenever you read someone claiming sole credit for something, you can usually be safe in ignoring the boast. But when you go back and read these sections again, especially the first one, Perkins’s boast appears to be well-founded. Just try to find one iota of difference between these platform statements and the daily blasts from the Family “Research” Council. I mean, hell, even the FRC can include a throw-away line about dignity and respect for all Americans.
Michelangelo Signorile Challenges FRC’s Tony Perkins To Debate
August 20th, 2012
Radio host and Huffington Post Gay Voices editor Michelangelo Signorile is tired of the Family Research Council’s attempt to pin the blame for last week’s shooting on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s ranking the FRC as among just twenty-six anti-gay hate groups. Signorile has penned an open letter to FRC’s Tony Perkins challenging him to a discussion about hate and its consequences:
But let’s be clear about why FRC is in that category. After all, there are thousands of conservative and religious groups across the country that are opposed to marriage equality, many of which also believe homosexuality to be a sin, but the SPLC does not deem them all hate groups. It’s only a tiny handful of conservative groups that have been given that distinction by the SPLC. They are listed as hate groups “based on their propagation of known falsehoods — claims about LGBT people that have been thoroughly discredited by scientific authorities — and repeated, groundless name-calling.” Also, two years ago, an FRC official said “homosexual behavior” should be outlawed. You wouldn’t repudiate him. It was also revealedthat the FRC contributed $25,000 to stop a congressional resolution to condemn the “kill the gays” bill in Uganda, which would have made homosexuality punishable by death. You worried that the resolution could make it appear as if homosexuality is acceptable. If that Ugandan bill, and even tacit approval of it, isn’t “hate,” what is?
Perhaps you recall that in July 2008, a man armed with a shotgun went on a shooting rampage inside a church in Knoxville. The Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church, like many Christian churches and denominations across the country, is welcoming of LGBT people. The gunman killed two people and severely wounded several others. Police said that the killer’s motive was to target gays and liberals. “This isn’t a church, it’s a cult,” the killer wrote in a four-page letter he had left behind. “They embrace every pervert that comes down the pike…. [T]he only way we can rid ourselves of this evil is kill them in the streets, kill them where they gather.”
I wouldn’t claim, as you did with regard to the SPLC, that the FRC gave that killer a “license to shoot.” No one knows what’s inside the mind of a premeditated killer. But I would ask: Where do people like this killer get the distortions and ugly mischaracterizations that convince them that gay people are evil? More so, where do others who wouldn’t engage in gun violence but who do harm to LGBT people in other ways — firing them from their jobs, throwing them out of their homes, bullying them in schools — get their misinformation about gay people? They get it from a wide array of sources that contribute to a culture that demonizes LGBT people. And you and the Family Research Council are among those who feed into that culture.
If We Don’t Call it “Hate,” What Shall We Call It?
August 17th, 2012
One of the best lessons I ever got in professionalism came from a boss who said, Don’t just bring me a problem. Bring a solution, too. Great advice. Suggesting a solution — even if it’s unworkable, a mere starting point for discussion — shows you’ve thought seriously about the problem, and you’re not just an alarmist hack or concern troll.
That advice comes to mind now that some pundits, both conservative and liberal, want the SPLC to drop its “hate group” terminology. Go ahead and make that case, but if you want to us to take you seriously, you have to answer this: What term should we use?
I agree no one should be accused of hate merely for opposing same-sex marriage. Fortunately, neither I nor the SPLC has ever called labeled anyone a hate group on those meager grounds. For instance, here’s why SPLC named the Family Research Council a hate group:
The Family Research Council (FRC) bills itself as “the leading voice for the family in our nation’s halls of power,” but its real specialty is defaming gays and lesbians. The FRC often makes false claims about the LGBT community based on discredited research and junk science. The intention is to denigrate LGBT people in its battles against same-sex marriage, hate crimes laws, anti-bullying programs and the repeal of the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy.
Also at that link, you’ll find a damning list of quotes from FRC leadership, especially the blood libel that gays are after your kids.
More generally, the hate groups identified by the SPLC are guilty of one or more of the following:
- Distorting scientific research to demonize gays, even over the researchers’ objections. (FRC has done this)
- Calling for the criminalization of homosexuality. (FRC has done this)
- Accusing gay men of recruiting children and being more likely to molest them than straights. (FRC has done this)
- Advocating the death penalty for gays.
- Holding gays responsible for Nazi Germany and the Holocaust.
If we are not to call these groups hate groups, then what are we to call them?
That’s not a rhetorical question. These organizations fall in the same genre. Their work belongs in the same oeuvre. They are a collection of groups who employ aggressive dishonesty in open pursuit of an overriding goal: denying basic civil liberties to LGBT folk. What shall we call that genre?
Christian? No, their fundamental strategy of bearing false witness disqualifies them; so does their violation of Christ’s dictum to love your neighbor; besides, too many Christians abhor these groups.
Anti-gay? No, that doesn’t go far enough.
How about Groups that distort scientific research to demonize gays, callforthecrimininalizationofhomosexuality-accusegaymenofrecruitingchildren-andbeingmorelikelytomolestthemthanstraights-advocatethedeathpenaltyforgays-andholdgaysresponsibleforNaziGermanyandtheHolocaust?
But we do need a term. It’s not enough to call out these transgressions one by one. They are not isolated misdeeds. They represent a pattern of behavior, and we need a name for that pattern.
If you don’t want that term to be “hate,” then what do you prefer? I’m open to suggestion. Just show me you’re serious by doing more than bemoaning a problem. Tell me your solution.
Gang Style Chicken
August 17th, 2012
As much as I’d like to ignore it, Floyd Lee Corkins, II, has forced me to think once more about Chick-fil-A and the food fight between the left and the right. Dan Cathy’s remarks several weeks ago opened up a fault line – suddenly, instead of staying safely within our left-wing and right-wing echo chambers, Americans are debating the First Amendment and boycotts and marriage rights. Many in the LGBT community report that once-silent family members are now sending them emails, proudly posting pictures of chicken on Facebook, and calling them late at night to quote Bible verses about death and destruction. Just two days ago, Mr. Corkins shot a security guard at the Family Research Council and fifteen Chick-fil-A sandwiches were found in his backpack; it’s safe to assume he wasn’t delivering Tony Perkins’ lunch.
Although food has loomed large in touching off historical debate (see the Boston Tea Party, Gandhi’s march to the sea to make salt, or four college students sitting implacably at a Woolworth’s lunch counter), the food is only a foil for a larger, more important debate – what constitutes our community’s values, how do we define those values, and which of those values can bring us together rather than tear us apart? The single common denominator throughout all these “food fights” is that in each instance a community stood up to protest its second-class status. The same holds true for today’s debate.
The question at hand is this – can LGBT people and the unions they form, the children they raise, the families and community bonds they form, be truly accepted into American society? Can the American dream accommodate a group once pegged by the majority as alien and subversive? Now that, in 2012, it seems clear that the majority has begun to respond with a resounding yes, how do we deal with the not-insubstantial minority that is left angry and upset? How do we deal with those within our own ranks, as it appears Mr. Corkin was, whose rage at those who refuse to “see the light” may translate unforgivably into violence?
In 2010, the Southern Poverty Law Center designated several anti-gay groups as “hate groups” for the first time. Their research of FBI documents over the previous fourteen-year period revealed a little-publicized fact: LGBT people are overwhelmingly the largest target of physical attacks inspired by hate in the U.S. Our status as second-class citizens is second to none. Coming from a conservative family background as I do, my first reaction when I heard that Mr. Corkins had attacked an organization labeled as a “hate group” was this – is that label helpful in any way?
Reading up on how the FBI discusses groups that inspire violence it became clear that labeling the Family Research Council and other organizations like it as hate groups is simply a recognition that the violence occurring against the LGBT community has a real, concrete source and a real, concrete voice. When Tony Perkins talks about the “homosexual agenda” and Dan Cathy triumphantly says “guilty as charged” when asked about the millions of dollars he contributes to anti-LGBT causes, their words fall dangerously close to the dividing line the FBI has established between rhetorical violence on the one hand and physical violence on the other. Identifying seven distinct stages along this spectrum, the last stage between rhetoric and physical violence is Stage Five when
“the hate group attacks their target without weapons . . . prowling their turf seeking vulnerable targets.”
This is what America saw on Mike Huckabee’s “Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day”: a community rallied together to attack the idea that the LGBT community – our unions, our families, our places of gathering, our places of worship – is worthy of first class citizenship. Chick-fil-A restaurants and its packaging has become home turf, a veritable gang sign, and Mr. Corkins’ deplorable attack two days ago was simply a confirmation of that fact.
In our national gang-style fever, calling out hate is not only justifiable but critically important. Keeping up the fight for marriage equality, for equal protection laws, for first class citizenship in a calm, rational manner is the most effective way to take the long view and play it out in full. In the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, pictured above eating fried chicken with his family,
“It may be true that the law cannot make a man love me, but it can stop him from lynching me, and I think that’s pretty important.”
Thoughts on how my words have consequences
August 16th, 2012
I cringed when I first heard about the shooting at the extremist anti-gay group Family Research Council. I’d like to say that it was out of concern for those who work there, and I was concerned, but truthfully I was more afraid of the political fallout of the situation and desperately hoped it wasn’t someone gay who was the culprit.
By the time we learned that Floyd Corkins was not only gay but also a volunteer at an LGBT center, I’d calmed down enough to realize that while this event was jarring, it didn’t exactly come as a surprise to me. Nor would I have been shocking if it had been, as it so often has, an attack on a LGBT person or organization by a deranged person on the far right.
A suicide bomb. A place of worship defaced. An innocent kid shot in a drive-by. A racist epithet hurled at a politician. A shooting at FRC.
These things get attention and news space. They get public outcry and denunciation. As they should. And I am proud that my community spoke with one voice in denouncing the violence yesterday. It was the only appropriate response.
But these are not events that occur in a vacuum. No one wakes up one day and decides – purely on whim – to shoot up a Sikh temple because it was the first building they happened upon. No one steps aboard an airport bus full of Israelis with a bomb because he thought it had the best air conditioning.
And it was not purely out of happenstance that Floyd Corkins walked into the lobby of the Family Research Council.
I don’t know Corkins’ intentions yesterday. Perhaps he left the house thinking that he would confront someone at FRC and tell them off or throw a chicken sandwich at them. Or perhaps he thought that he would go make a brave act of political assassination and be hailed as a hero who took out someone who doesn’t deserve to live. Perhaps we will eventually know, perhaps not.
But we do know that Corkins took a gun with him and we can surmise that his intentions were to do harm. And if not, I think it’s fair to say that if it wasn’t Corkins, it would have eventually been someone, some gay person who believed that violence against the Family Research Council was justified.
And that is what Corkins believed. Because that is the message that Corkins heard.
Oh, I doubt anyone ever said to him, “Tony Perkins should be shot!” But I’m certain that during his volunteer work at the center he heard plenty about how Perkins was a H8ter and a ReTHUGlican and a Christer. I’m sure that he learned that the Family Research Council consisted of people who hate him and who would see every gay person dead if they could get away with it.
Cartoon villains. Single faceted characters without any redeeming qualities. Evil personified.
The world would be better off without them.
How do I know Corkins heard that message? Because I’ve heard it; you have too. And sometimes I’ve used language about our political opponents that failed to recognize their humanity. I’ve allowed my contempt of someone’s beliefs and advocacy result in contempt of them as a person.
Of course I feel no hesitation about opposing bigotry and discrimination. I believe that it is not only justified but necessary to call the Family Research Council what it is: a hate group. Nor will I wrap Tony Perkin’s efforts to diminish our lives in the false piety of “love” and “religious opinion”. Lies are lies and Perkins is a liar.
I’m comfortable with that. I know that most people who read here would never ever see anything that might cause them to think that violence towards Perkins, or any of our adversaries, is in anyway encouraged or acceptable. Most people know that “it goes without saying” that such a response would condemned without exception.
But for some people, it doesn’t go without saying. For some people, it has to be said. Some people have to be told that we will not see them as heroes if they take – or even threaten – the life of someone else.
Do I say it enough?
In our culture, in which one half of the population seems to be engaged in war with the other half, a lot is said. A lot is insinuated. A lot is claimed. And a lot of it has basis in nothing more that the dehumanization of people with whom we disagree.
We see it so often that we don’t even hesitate. Today I read that only a “privileged white lady” would call and ask police to base their actions on her religion. And that because of Republican victories in 2010 that it wouldn’t be surprising if someone called for a constitutional amendment declaring women as property. And I shrugged. It’s just hyperbole.
Of course it comes from the other direction as well. And in our community we document and expose the crazy rantings of Bill Donahue and Bryan Fischer. As we should.
And we decry the failure of those who claim that they are only trying to protect the family and love the homosexual but look away when their allies call us child molesters who shake our fists in God’s face. And yes, it absolutely is odious that NOM’s Brian Brown would dare to self-righteously claim to have “condemned all violence and vilification” when he’s often their number one cheerleader.
But I think that – more often than I care for – I allow their attitude to dictate my own. Because NOM says heinous things, I can say them back. Because they are H8TERS, I’m justified in hating them.
But does it really matter “who started it”? Is my own sense of morality so unstable that the words or behavior of someone else should justify doing or saying something that I know to be wrong?
And every bit as important, can I let stand outrageous things that others say? I know that if I too aggressively chastise “my side” for extreme language then I become an aider and abettor, a kapo, a quisling, and lose any power to impact the conversation.
But do I go far enough? Or do I look away while those who disagree with me are depicted as fascists, racists, and misogynists?
And I know that writing this commentary runs risks. Some readers will see this only in terms of whether I’m blaming our community for Corkins’ actions. I’m not. Some who advocate for anti-gay political positions and are cynically capitalizing on this tragedy might claim that I’m validating their outrageous assertions. Of course I’m not.
But does that mean it shouldn’t be said? Should I wait for someone else who can better articulate or who will be better received?
And I also know that I can too quickly make this about “them”, the ones on the right or left, gay or anti-gay who “go too far” and leave the wrong impression. I can get lectury and lay out a sermon about what “we” could have done when I really mean what “you” could have done. Because it’s a lot easier to see others’ errors than one’s own.
Do I really own this problem to the extent that I think I do? Or am I being all self-congratulatory and better?
I don’t have answers. I’m not even sure I have the right questions. But I do know that I will try and pay more attention. I’ll try to to be aware that that which “goes without saying” doesn’t. And I’ll try to remember that my words – not just those of Tony Perkins and Linda Harvey and Brian Brown – have consequences.
Dear Brian Brown: When it comes to violence and vilification, NOM is there.
August 16th, 2012
Dear Brian Brown,
After Wednesday’s shooting at the Family Research Council, you quickly leveraged the event into a self-serving denunciation of the Southern Poverty Law Center. I can’t fault you for that. After all, in the wake of Gabrielle Giffords’ shooting, I denounced Sarah Palin for lacking the decency to take down her “target map” with its Giffords crosshairs as the Congresswoman struggled through intensive care. However…
However, you’d be more persuasive if you didn’t exploit this crime to lie about yourself and your organization.
NOMblog reports your statement:
Today’s attack is the clearest sign we’ve seen that labeling pro-marriage groups as ‘hateful’ must end. The Southern Poverty Law Center has labeled the Family Research Council a ‘hate group’ for its pro-marriage views, and less than a day ago the Human Rights Campaign issued a statement calling FRC a ‘hate group’—they even specified that FRC hosts events in Washington, DC, where today’s attack took place.
NOM has always condemned all violence and vilification connected to our ongoing national debate about the meaning and definition of marriage.
Please, Brian, this event is too important for casual deception. NOM has long, long history, not just of failing to condemn violence and vilification, but of promoting it.
- When Reverend Ariel Torres Ortega stood on your stage as your guest at your rally and proclaimed that gays are “worthy to death,” NOM was there. But you didn’t condemn it at the event, on your website, or on your blog.
- When Bishop Robert Evans announced gay marriage represents “the evil modern day works of Satan,” NOM was there to spread the message.
- When Kirk Cameron called same-sex marriage a threat to civilization, NOM was there to create a video helping him spread his views and dubbing him a “champion of marriage.”
- When Chik-Fil-A president Dan Cathy said marriage equality activists “are inviting God’s judgment on our nation,” NOM was there to suggest a weekly appreciation day for him.
- When Fox News asked NOM founder Maggie Gallagher about a pageant contestant who said gays “shall surely be put to death and their blood shall be upon them,” Maggie was there, not to condemn the call for violence, but to praise “her courage in coming forward.”
- When commenters on your own blog responded to your complaints about incendiary rhetoric by by claiming homosexuality is “a perverted act, just like pedophilia,” and saying they understand why a country like Uganda would want to punish gays with the death penalty? Maggie Gallagher was there — but to defend her own self, not to condemn violence and vilification.
NOM is there. Over and over, when gays are demonized, vilified, and threatened with violence, NOM is there. Whatever history you have of condemning such rhetoric is dwarfed by your history of sponsoring it.
The shooting at FRC was deplorable. Violence has no place in this debate. We can look at this shooting, as well as the people who are killed every year just for being gay, and agree on that. You certainly say you agree. So please, live up your own press release: stop supporting the very thing you claim to condemn.