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Posts tagged "Tony Perkins"



Tony Perkins fancies himself to be a GOP presidential candidate kingmaker, so it will be interesting to see if any not entirely crazy Republicans will join the above careening clown car crowded with the cavalcade of crackpots who failed in 2012, some of whom (Paul, Perry, Santorum) are expected to make a 2016 run. Ted Cruz won last year’s Values Voters Summit presidential straw poll with 42% of the vote, the largest margin ever seen in that poll’s history and light years ahead of runners-up Frothy Mix and Ben Carson, who barely landed in the double digits.

H/T: Miranda Blue at RWW


The Anti-Defamation League (ADL), an organization dedicated to combatting anti-Semitism, condemned Family Research Council (FRC) president and regular Fox News and CNN guest Tony Perkins for his “deeply offensive” comments comparing LGBT non-discrimination protections with the Holocaust.

On June 6, Perkins blasted a Colorado Civil Rights Commission ruling finding that a baker had violated the state’s anti-discrimination law by refusing to bake a cake for a gay couple,  asking on his radio program Washington Watch,  ”I’m beginning to think, are re-education camps next? When are they going to start rolling out the boxcars to start hauling off Christians?” Perkins’ remarks echoed his statement in April that the LGBT movement “reminds me of Nazi Germany.”

In a June 10 statement, ADL President Abraham Foxman denounced Perkins’ comments, calling them “offensive and inappropriate”:

Tony Perkins’ invocation of the Holocaust in his statement referring to a judge’s finding that a baker unlawfully discriminated against gay customers is offensive and inappropriate.

There is no comparison between contemporary American political issues and the actions of Hitler’s regime during the Holocaust. Such inappropriate analogies only serve to trivialize the Holocaust and are deeply offensive to Jews and other survivors, as well as those Americans who fought valiantly against the Nazis in World War II.

We urge Perkins to apologize and to refrain from using Holocaust imagery to make his point.

Extreme anti-LGBT rhetoric has defined Perkins’ career, and the FRC’s defamatory attacks on the LGBT community led the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) to designate it an anti-gay hate group in 2010.

Despite that record, Perkins and FRC are frequent fixtures on CNN and Fox News. Fox’s Megyn Kelly in particular has given Perkins the star treatment, inviting him onto The Kelly File to attack basic non-discrimination policies and to champion anti-LGBT business discrimination.

Given his reputation, Perkins isn’t likely to take the ADL’s advice to heart. But media outlets might want to reconsider whether it’s wise to provide him a forum to continue peddling his apoplectic attacks on LGBT equality. 

h/t: Luke Brinker at MMFA

h/t: Miranda Blue at RWW

From the 06.05.2014 edition of FRC’s Washington Watch:  

H/T: Brian Tashman at RWW

h/t: Brian Tashman at RWW

h/t: Brian Tashman at RWW

Megyn Kelly was supposed to be a harbinger of Fox News’ “gay rights revolution,” but she’s used her primetime spot to enable some of the country’s most extreme anti-LGBT activists.

At the height of the controversy over Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson’s homophobic remarks in a December 2013 interview with GQ magazine, Kelly invited GLAAD consultant Jeremy Hooper to appear on The Kelly File and weigh in on the firestorm.

She also invited Tony Perkins, president of the notorious anti-gay hate group the Family Research Council (FRC), to appear immediately afterward.

During his segment,Hooper urged Kelly to hold Perkins accountable for his extensive history of bigoted rhetoric. “What specifically? Because I’ll ask him,” Kelly promised. Hooper pointed to Perkins’ endorsement of a Ugandan bill that would have imposed the death penalty for homosexuality, his claim that gay people face “eternal damnation,” and his comparisons of gay people with terrorists.

In the segment that followed, however, Kelly didn’t ask Perkins to explain his virulent anti-gay rhetoric. Instead, she introduced him as the leader of “a group whose mission is to advance faith, family, and freedom in public policy and culture from a Christian worldview”:

Kelly’s failure to hold Perkins accountable is a case study in her broader habit of mainstreaming anti-gay hate.

In the seven months since The Kelly File launched in October of 2013, Fox’s 9 p.m. hour has been a friendly forum for some of the country’s most odious anti-gay extremists, including Perkins, the far-right legal group Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), and, most recently, the Benham brothers, the home renovators whose rabidly anti-gay activism led HGTV to cancel their planned reality show.

Since Kelly’s promotion to Fox’s prime-time lineup, she has hosted Perkins six times. (Filling in for Kelly on the December 27 edition of the program, Shannon Bream hosted Perkins an additional time.) Perkins has used his appearances to condemn Gov. Jan Brewer’s (R-AZ) veto of her state’s license-to-discriminate bill, champion anti-LGBT discrimination, opine on openly gay NFL draftee Michael Sam, and lambaste HGTV for cancelling the Benham brothers’ planned show.

Kelly’s willingness to grant Perkins a platform isn’t a recent development. As a daytime host on Fox’s America Live, she provided Perkins the opportunity to peddle anti-gay talking points with impunity - and often parroted the same talking points herself, asking Perkins why gay rights activists are so intolerant and defending him and other “openly religious” leaders against charges of bigotry.

Meanwhile, Kelly has invited ADF to defend anti-gay business discrimination on her program. While other cable news anchors have exposed ADF’s anti-gay extremism - including its international work to criminalize homosexuality - Kelly gave the group the same treatment she afforded Perkins, failing to hold ADF to account for its disturbing work.

The Benham brothers could also count on Kelly to downplay their history of strident anti-gay and Islamophobic activism, including condemning homosexuality as “demonic" and "destructive.” On the May 19 edition of her show, she called the backlash to their activism “incredible,” asking them to enlighten viewers on their “more traditional views”:

One group that hasn’t had the chance to convey its message on The Kelly File is the American Family Association (AFA), an anti-gay hate group whose spokesman believes gay men were responsible for the Holocaust and has assailed Kelly herself as “resentful,” “angry,” “hostile,” and “bitter.” But the AFA was actually slated to be featured on the October 16 edition of the show, an appearance bumped by breaking news coverage of Congress’ 11th-hour resolution to its debt ceiling standoff.

At a network that all too often conflates homophobia and Christianity, whitewashing of anti-gay extremism hardly stands out. But Kelly is supposed to be a different kind of Fox anchor. Breaking with many of her colleagues, Kelly has staked out pro-LGBT positions, prompting BuzzFeed to herald Kelly in 2012 as a sign of how “the gay rights revolution” had arrived at Fox News (a premise that continues to prove flawed).

What makes Kelly arguably the best friend an anti-gay extremist could have on Fox isn’t that she agrees with people like Perkins on every issue. In fact, it’s just the opposite. It’s precisely because Kelly isn’t seen as an anti-LGBT hack that her willingness to elevate groups like the FRC and ADF to positions of respectability  makes her so dangerous.

The more that groups like the FRC can convince people like Kelly to take them seriously, the easier time they’ll have billing themselves as credible organizations, their records notwithstanding. As a self-professed straight shooter, Kelly shouldn’t fall for such ploys. It’s one thing to treat viewers to spirited debates on issues of current affairs and public policy. It’s quite another to treat toxic homophobic activists as legitimate participants in those debates. Megyn Kelly may have earned accolades for her occasional pro-LGBT commentary, but her willingness to cozy up to some of the country’s most fanatical anti-LGBT bigots will leave a much bigger stain on her legacy at Fox News.


Equality Matters searched news transcripts provided by LexisNexis for “Tony Perkins” between October 13, 2013 - the launch of The Kelly File - and May 21, 2014.

H/T: Luke Brinker at MMFA


h/t: Brian Tashman at RWW

H/T: Peter Montgomery at RWW


“I agree with your assertions that there is a serious problem when it comes to faith and the Christian religion in this country but it isn’t anti-Christian persecution. It’s how some people exploit Christianity to lie, bear false witness against their neighbor, act extremely obnoxious, self-righteous, nasty, hateful, and vindictive, but then suddenly take the form of Job counting his calamities when called to explain their actions.”

By now, many of you are aware that the HGTV network was going to launch a new reality television show starring the sons of a notorious North Carolina pastor:

Last month, the HGTV network announced that it will launch a new reality TV show, “Flip it Forward,” starring David and Jason Benham. The twin brothers will “leverage their good-natured sibling rivalry to help families find a fixer-upper and transform it into the dream home they never thought they could afford.” What the announcement didn’t mention is that at least one of the Benhams is not just a real estate dealer but also a dedicated right-wing activist in the mold of his father, Flip Benham, who has headed the abortion-clinic protest group Operation Save America ever since it split from the militant anti-choice group Operation Rescue.

As leader of OSA, Benham has condemned the interfaith Sandy Hook memorial, protested in front of mosques while shouting “Jesus Hates Muslims” and blamed the Aurora shooting on the Democratic Party, which he said promotes a “culture of death.” He has also protested LGBT pride events, interrupted church services during a sermon by “sodomite Episcopalian bishop” Gene Robinson and was found “guilty of stalking a Charlotte abortion doctor after passing out hundreds of ‘wanted’ posters with the physician’s name and photo on it.” OSA* even blamed the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on abortion rights.

David and Jason are in the same mold as their father:

Flip’s son, David Benham, led a prayer rally — Charlotte 7:14 — outside of the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina in 2012, which he told conservative radio host Janet Mefferd was needed to stop “homosexuality and its agenda that is attacking the nation” and “demonic ideologies tak[ing] our universities and our public school systems”


In a January 2012 interview, Benham explained his “love” for homosexuals when he suggested that gay people are under the control of “demonic forces,” arguing that once he succeeds in recriminalizing abortion, he will next defeat the “homosexual agenda” and Islam.


David equated fighting marriage equality with fighting Nazis, and at a City Council meeting in protest of a local pride parade, David and his twin brother, Jason, referred to homosexuality as “destructive” and a “tragedy;” asserted that Jesus “refuses to leave [homosexuals] that way;”and Jason concluded by telling the council to “deny them every permit they ask for.”

When all of this came to the attention of HGTV, the network pulled the show.  And naturally, the same group of folks whining about how gays want to discriminate  against Christians have come out of the woodwork:

And Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council said the following:

As sons of a preacher, the brothers have never shied away from their beliefs, which led them to back the North Carolina marriage amendment — a stance the brothers seem to now be paying for, thanks to radical pro-homosexual activists like GLAAD, whose only answer to real diversity is harassment. Now, the same cultural elitists that tried to bully the likes of “Duck Dynasty” are back to silencing anyone who expresses biblical values — even if those values are expressed outside the workplace.

Last but not least, the brothers themselves said the following:

“As Christians we are called to love our fellow man. Anyone who suggests that we hate homosexuals or people of other faiths is either misinformed or lying … we do not, nor will we ever discriminate against people who do not share our views.”

I’m of the feeling that the network made a business decision. Some may agree and others may disagree. I say if we are to have a debate, let’s have that debate.

But to Perkins, Starnes, the Benham brothers, and whoever else may support them, I say something else:

You are not fooling anyone. It’s not accidental that none of you went into detail as to just how the so-called faith of the Benham brothers was expressed. Why do you believe that you can act like a gigantic ass and somehow be absolved from the consequences of your actions by simply claiming that “you are acting in accordance to your faith?’ This is not an issue of persecution. It’s an issue of a network deciding that it didn’t need the headache of attaching itself to the noxious reputations of two very mouthy, very extreme anti-gay, anti-choice, Islamophobic individuals.

I agree with your assertions that there is a serious problem when it comes to faith and the Christian religion in this country but it isn’t anti-Christian persecution. It’s how some people exploit Christianity to lie, bear false witness against their neighbor, act extremely obnoxious, self-righteous, nasty, hateful, and vindictive, but then suddenly take the form of Job counting his calamities when called to explain their actions.

The Benham brothers got what they deserved and the deliberate attempt to soft pedal their extreme behavior only proves that point.  It all goes back to the old adage that if you act like a decent human being, you will be treated like one.

You act like an extreme fool and you have no business to expect anything but to be treated like one.

Fox News host Megyn Kelly invited anti-gay hate group leader Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council (FRC) to comment on HGTV’s decision to cancel a program that would have starred a rabid anti-gay extremist, pushing the FRC’s own talking points to baselessly frame HGTV’s decision as an attack on Christians.

On May 6, Right Wing Watch reported that David Benham, who along with his brother Jason was slated to star in a fixer-upper reality show called Flip It Forward, had an extensive record of anti-choice, anti-gay, and anti-Muslim activism. David Benham explained to far-right radio host Janet Mefferd in 2012 that he and his brother had participated in a protest of the Democratic National Convention to take a stand against “homosexuality and its agenda that is attacking the nation,” abortion, divorce, and “demonic ideologies” circulating in the education system. Benham has also compared the anti-gay marriage fight to the struggle against Nazi Germany and highlighted Leviticus’ prescription of death for gay sex.Benham’s views on Muslims are no kinder; he has declared that “Islam takes life and enslaves it” and protested in front of mosques while shouting “Jesus Hates Muslims.”

Faced with a public outcry, HGTV announced on May 7 that it had “decided not to move forward” with Flip It Forward.

During the May 8 edition of The Kelly File, Kelly asked Perkins to weigh in on the controversy. Kelly suggested that while HGTV would have been condemned for cancelling a show featuring gay stars, the Benhams were being punished because, unlike gay people, Christians’ rights aren’t as “protected and recognized in this country”:

KELLY:  If HGTV had a couple of hosts who are about to launch a TV show and it came out that they were gay and then they pulled the plug on them because they’re gay, the backlash would be enormous in this country, and that’s because gay rights are more and more protected and recognized in this country. Christian beliefs and Christian rights, not so much.

That kind of rhetoric wouldn’t be out of place at the FRC, branded a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center for its pattern of spreading malicious smears about LGBT people. In his own blog post on the controversy, Perkins wrote that the Benham brothers, former baseball players, “were used to a level playing field. In Hollywood, they’re finding out that for Christians, there’s no such thing.” Of course, it was the vehemence of Benham’s bigoted comments, not his Christian faith, that led HGTV to cancel the show.

From a legal standpoint, Kelly and Perkins’ argument is transparently ridiculous. Religion is a federally protected class — as former attorney Kelly certainly knows — but sexual orientation and gender identity lack federal protection. Not only do gay couples lack the right to marry in 33 states, but they can be fired because of who they are in 29 states. Transgender workers can be fired based on their gender identity in 33 states. LGBT people are also disproportionately targeted for hate crimes.

To her credit, Kelly noted the extreme tone of Benham’s anti-gay rhetoric, even as she completely ignored his attacks on the Muslim community. As she noted, invoking the Levitican prescription of death for gays would strike many people as “extremely alienating.” But after Perkins dodged that point by baselessly attacking Right Wing Watch as “about as reliable as the Obamacare website,” Kelly ended the interview without pushing back.

Despite his long history of anti-LGBT bigotry, Perkins has been a frequent guest on Kelly’s show in recent months. Perkins has smeared gay men as people who prey on children to “recruit” them into the gay “lifestyle,” condemned the LGBT movement as “evil,” and applauded a 2009 bill that would imposed the death penalty for homosexuality in Uganda. Kelly, who has carefully cultivated the image of a hard-hitting news reporter beholden to no faction, has nevertheless failed to call out Perkins’ extremism; rather, she has continued to provide him a platform to spew misinformation and smears. That this ostensibly non-ideological anchor has helped legitimize Perkins is precisely why she’s arguably the most dangerous person on Fox News.

h/t: Luke Brinker at MMFA

From the 05.05.2014 edition of FRC’s Washington Watch:

Oh, please shut the fucking hell up, Tony Perkins!!

h/t: Brian Tashman at RWW