Dana Millbank: The Family Research Council is “A Mainstream Conservative Think Tank.”

If Tony Perkins is “mainstream,” we’re all in deep trouble

In his latest column, Dana Millbank takes the Village journalists’ “both sides do it” routine to such irrational extremes that he loses all credibility.

Human Rights Campaign [HRC], the nation’s largest gay rights organization, posted an alert on its blog Tuesday: “Paul Ryan Speaking at Hate Group’s Annual Conference.”

The “hate group” that the Republicans’ vice presidential candidate would be addressing? The Family Research Council [FRC], a mainstream conservative think tank founded by James Dobson and run for many years by Gary Bauer.

The day after the gay rights group’s alert went out, 28-year-old Floyd Lee Corkins II walked into the Family Research Council’s Washington headquarters and, according to an FBI affidavit, proclaimed words to the effect of “I don’t like your politics” — and shot the security guard. Corkins, who had recently volunteered at a gay community center, was carrying a 9mm handgun, a box of ammunition and a backpack full of Chick-fil-A — the company whose president recently spoke out against gay marriage.

Mercifully, the gunman was restrained, and nobody was killed.

Apparently Millbank made the logical leap of assigning cause and effect to two unrelated events that are close in time. Corkins must have read the HRC website and rush out to shoot someone. Or maybe Corkins was browsing the internet and came across the Southern Poverty Law Center website where the FRC is listed as a hate group.
Millbank says

Human Rights Campaign isn’t responsible for the shooting. Neither should the organization that deemed the FRC a “hate group,” the Southern Poverty Law Center, be blamed for a madman’s act. But both are reckless in labeling as a “hate group” a policy shop that advocates for a full range of conservative Christian positions, on issues from stem cells to euthanasia.

I disagree with the Family Research Council’s views on gays and lesbians. But it’s absurd to put the group, as the law center does, in the same category as Aryan Nations, Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, Stormfront and the Westboro Baptist Church. The center says the FRC “often makes false claims about the LGBT community based on discredited research and junk science.” Exhibit A in its dossier is a quote by an FRC official from 1999 (!) saying that “gaining access to children has been a long-term goal of the homosexual movement.”

Millbank seems to believe that the FRC is “mainstream” because it has been headed by Tony Perkins and Gary Bauer, and with his exclamation point after “1999” he seems to be implying that there is some kind of statute of limitations on hate speech.

I can’t follow his reasoning at all. He’s twisting himself into a pretzel in order to defend an organization that clearly works overtime to drum up hate, not only against the LGBT community, but also against women and anyone involved in providing family planning or abortion. Perkins has even argued against anti-bullying policies in schools, claiming they are part of the “homosexual agenda” to “redefine families.”

Millbank even quotes the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) to support his arguments!

The National Organization for Marriage, which opposes gay marriage, is right to say that the attack “is the clearest sign we’ve seen that labeling pro-marriage groups as ‘hateful’ must end.”

Here’s a little background on the NOM from Mother Jones:

Spokespeople for the National Organization for Marriage, such as Rev. William Owens, who exaggerated his civil rights background to justify his opposition to same sex marriage, have compared homosexuality to bestiality and child abuse. NOM’s man in Maryland, Bishop Harry Jackson, has compared gay rights groups to Nazis whose actions recall “the times of Hitler.” Most of NOM’s more high-profile spokespersons are more careful with their words, but beyond rhetoric, NOM has argued that gay judges should be barred from ruling on LGBT rights issues and embraced junk science to argue that gays and lesbians make worse parents.

I guess “Pro-marriage” is like “pro-life”–supporting certain kinds of marriage like the anti-abortion crown supports only fetal life.

Millbank may not want to actually blame the SPLC for the shooting, but Tony Perkins didn’t hesitate to do so.

The Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins accused the Southern Poverty Law Center — a civil rights organization dedicated to fighting hate and bigotry — of providing “license” for a man to shoot a security guard in the arm on Wednesday.

“Floyd Corkins was given a license to shoot an unarmed man by organizations like the Southern Poverty Law Center that have been reckless in labeling organizations hate groups because they disagree with them on public policy,” Perkins declared during a press conference on Thursday afternoon. “I believe the Southern Poverty Law Center should be held responsible that is leading to intimidation of what the FBI has characterized as domestic terrorism.” Corkins has since been charged for assault with a deadly weapon and could soon face federal charges. The guard, Leo Johnson, is in stable condition.

Asked by reporters why he thought the shooter was motivated by his distate for the group rather than mental incapacity, Perkins quipped, “How many unhinged individuals walk around with 15 Chick-fil-A sandwiches?”

So does that make the FRC responsible for the murders of abortion doctors like George Tiller?

Here are just a few examples of statements from the FRC on gays and lesbians. You can go to the links to read more.

Mother Jones: What the Right Gets Wrong about the FRC Shooting.

Perkins’ Family Research Council has practically cornered the market on anti-gay junk science. The Southern Poverty Law Center’s classification of the FRC as a hate group stems from FRC’s more than decade-long insistence that gay people are more likely to molest children. Spokespeople for the FRC have said that homosexual sex should be outlawed, and Perkins himself has said as recently as 2010 that “the research is overwhelming that homosexuality poses a danger to children.” Research from non-ideological outfits is actually firm in concluding the opposite. Some of the FRC’s more outrageous “studies,” such as the 1999 paper claiming that “one of the primary goals of the homosexual rights movement is to abolish all age of consent laws and to eventually recognize pedophiles as the ‘prophets’ of a new sexual order,” have been scrubbed from the group’s website, but the FRC has not disavowed their contents.

Anti-gay quotes from the FRC compiled by Mathew Shepard Online Resources.

Gays are like a gun to the head of America

“That’s what we’re talking about whenever you’re talking about gay rights. You’re talking about giving somebody a gun to put at the head of anybody who disagrees with them, whether it’s the Boy Scouts, whether it’s a local dry-cleaning establishment or a giant corporation like Shell Oil.” – Robert Knight, http://www.frc.org/net/st96d2.html

Gays oppose monogamy

“one thing that has been interesting to me is the gay literature has come right out and said we can’t keep monogamy in our definition of marriage. We may have a significant relationship we’ll call marriage, but things like monogamy and fidelity, faithfulness, and lifetime kind of till-death-do-us-part commitments are a little unrealistic. So we want it to be marriage, but we don’t want it to be monogamous.” – Kristi Hamrick , http://www.frc.org/net/st96d2.html

Gay parents lead to prison, voyeurism

“I know a guy who has just entered jail, tragically, because he grew up in a lesbian household. He still loves his mother and doesn’t really blame her, but he said, ‘You know, as a boy in a lesbian environment where it was intensely anti-male’ — that’s all he heard, this bitterness toward men — he said that he felt totally disenfranchised, began having sexual problems. He eventually became a voyeur, and he is in on a peeping Tom charge. He was so curious about how normal people have sex. We have other people that are cases like this.” – Robert Knight, http://www.frc.org/net/st96d2.html

See also this “Refresher on Tony Perkins’ Anti-Gay Hits.”

The SPLC posted a response to Perkins on its website, calling the FRC claims “outrageous.”

Perkins’ accusation is outrageous. The SPLC has listed the FRC as a hate group since 2010 because it has knowingly spread false and denigrating propaganda about LGBT people — not, as some claim, because it opposes same-sex marriage. The FRC and its allies on the religious right are saying, in effect, that offering legitimate and fact-based criticism in a democratic society is tantamount to suggesting that the objects of criticism should be the targets of criminal violence.

As the SPLC made clear at the time and in hundreds of subsequent statements and press interviews, we criticize the FRC for claiming, in Perkins’ words, that pedophilia is “a homosexual problem” — an utter falsehood, as every relevant scientific authority has stated. An FRC official has said he wanted to “export homosexuals from the United States.” The same official advocated the criminalizing of homosexuality.

Perkins and his allies, seeing an opportunity to score points, are using the attack on their offices to pose a false equivalency between the SPLC’s criticisms of the FRC and the FRC’s criticisms of LGBT people. The FRC routinely pushes out demonizing claims that gay people are child molesters and worse — claims that are provably false. It should stop the demonization and affirm the dignity of all people.

The Family Research Council is an extreme right wing organization. Dana Millbank should hang his head in shame. Perkins is trying to make his group look like the victim of bigotry instead of the proponent of it, and Millbank is working overtime to help him do it.

36 Comments on “Dana Millbank: The Family Research Council is “A Mainstream Conservative Think Tank.””

  1. Thank you for writing about this Dak, I wanted to mention this but didn’t feel like I could do the job properly. Thanks again!

  2. NW Luna says:

    “…research is overwhelming that homosexuality poses a danger to children.”

    Except that research is actually more overwhelming that it’s heterosexual males who pose the most danger to children.

    • dakinikat says:

      Why Would a ‘Mainstream Conservative Think Tank’ Praise the ‘Kill the Gays’ Law?


      While reading all of this, I couldn’t help but wonder why a “mainstream conservative think tank” would defend a bill in Uganda that would put gays and lesbians in prison for life and put them to death for “serial” offenses, among other things. If Milbank had done his homework before writing his column, he would’ve been wondering this same thing.

      The reality is that FRC is not a “mainstream conservative think tank.” That’s why FRC is one of only a handful of the many, many groups that oppose equality for gays and lesbians to be designated a “hate group” by SPLC. There’s a big difference between being conservative and being an extremist, but many in the media are missing the distinction. Kyle and Peter have already written about FRC’s history of extremism and SPLC’s criteria (here and here), but I’d like to focus on one particularly outrageous example here.

      Back in June of 2010, FRC president Tony Perkins praised the infamous “kill the gays” bill in Uganda, referring to it as an effort to “uphold moral conduct that protects others and in particular the most vulnerable.” The bill that Perkins defended called for life in prison for having sex, even once, with a member of the same sex, or touching someone of the same sex with the intention of having sex.

      The bill went further, calling for the death penalty for “aggravated homosexuality.” To be clear, Perkins defended a bill that called for people to be put to death for the following (among other things):

      having sex with someone of the same sex multiple times (a “serial” offender)
      having sex with someone of the same sex who is your employee, student, or otherwise under your authority
      having sex with someone of the same sex who is under the age of 18 (regardless of the age difference, e.g. a 19-year-old and a 17-year-old)
      having sex with someone of the same sex that you got drunk
      having sex with someone of the same sex who’s blind or deaf
      having sex with someone of the same sex if you’re HIV+, even if you use protection and the virus is not transmitted

      You can read the text of the bill here. I’m not exaggerating one bit.

      When President Obama criticized the bill, Perkins devoted his weekly radio alert to attacking him over it, citing Obama’s “preoccupation with defending homosexuality.” He went on to mischaracterize the bill, claiming that it only called for the death penalty in instances like “intentionally spreading HIV/AIDS,” and was notably silent on life imprisonment for a single homosexual “act.”

      FRC was eventually caught lobbying Congress on a resolution to denounce the “kill the gays” bill. They took pains to say they did not support the bill or the death penalty and were merely lobbying Congress to make the resolution “more factually accurate regarding the content of the Uganda bill, and to remove sweeping and inaccurate assertions that homosexual conduct is internationally recognized as a fundamental human right.”

      I would think if you’re trying to get at people that are trying to kill you it would be self defense.

  3. Allie says:

    Dana “Mad Bitch Beer” Milbank – remember that? Good times.

    A day doesn’t go by that I don’t read at least one article, usually more, about the loons who are hired by major media outlets to “analyze” current events. Bob Somerby is especially effective pulling the curtain back on the NYTimes. Charlie Pierce has some funny comments today about Politico’s Rich Lowry (Out on the Weekend post).

    And that goes for the A-list BloggerBoyz, too!

  4. ANonOMouse says:

    JMG reminds us that Tony Perkins managed a campaign that did business with David Duke

    “The FEC originally fined the campaign $82,600, the same amount of the payment to David Duke, but the fine was reduced after mediation. The fine, it should be noted, was for attempting to cloak the payment on federally required campaign expenditure forms. It is not against the rules to buy mailing lists from the KKK or anybody else. You just have to say you did.”

    Who the hell buys anything for a political campaign from Duke or from any business connected to David Duke? Tony Perkins and his cohorts, that’s who.

    The FRC works tirelessly to marginalize the LGBT community and to deny women autonomy over their own bodies. Shame on Dana Millbank, he needs to spray himself down with Lysol

    • bostonboomer says:

      I think Tony Perkins actually supported David Duke. I’ll have to double check. Anyway, Perkins has definitely been associated with KKK and white supremacy groups.

  5. bostonboomer says:

    Right wing evangelical group to file 100 million lawsuit against SPLC.

    Bill Keller, the world’s leading Internet Evangelist and the founder of LivePrayer.com, with over 2.4 million subscribers worldwide reading the Daily Devotional he has written every morning for 13 years on the issues of the day from a Biblcial worldview, is planning to file a $100 million defamation lawsuit against the Southern Poverty Law Center for labeling him and his ministry as a “hate group.”

    In an exclusive interview, Keller said, “The sad shooting the other day at the Family Research Council by a man who supports the radical homosexual agenda, was clearly fueled by the left wing group, the Southern Poverty Law Center. I receive at least 4-5 death threats a month for taking a Biblical stand on issues like homosexuality, the false religion of Islam and other cults, and the fact life begins at conception and choosing to end that life is nothing more than legalized infanticide.”

    Keller went on, “Groups like the Southern Poverty Law Center give license to individuals who oppose a Biblical worldview to take whatever actions they deem fit, even acts of violence, to silence those they disagree with. Sadly, this intimidation has worked, because there are very few like myself who are willing to go into the mainstream media and promote Biblical Truth that a large percentage of society now rejects.”

    Keller concluded, “In the year 2012, if you take a Biblical stand, the media and groups like the SPLC identify you as a ‘hate group.’

    I guess the Washington Post doesn’t count as “media” in their eyes.

  6. bostonboomer says:

    From Wikipedia:

    On May 17, 2001, Perkins gave a speech to the Louisiana chapter of the Council of Conservative Citizens (CCC), a white supremacist group that has described black people as a “retrograde species of humanity.”[26] Perkins claimed not to know the group’s ideology at the time, but it had been widely publicized in Louisiana and the nation, just two years earlier. The Duke incident surfaced again in the local press in 2002, when Perkins ran for the Republican nomination for the Senate.

  7. pdgrey says:

    Dana Millbank is a man in desperate need of Google. I hope he learns how to use it.

  8. RalphB says:

    The sheer sense of entitlement that makes a candidate think this is possible is fucking grotesque! But that doesn’t mean it won’t work. I’m gobsmacked again.

    Romney advisers confirm it: We’re running a `just trust me’ campaign

    Advisers say the campaign has no plans to pivot from its previous view that diving into details during a general-election race would be suicidal.

    he Romney strategy is simple: Hammer away at Obama for proposing cuts to Medicare and promise, in vague, aspirational ways, to protect the program for future retirees — but don’t get pulled into a public discussion of the most unpopular parts of the Ryan plan.

    “The nature of running a presidential campaign is that you’re communicating direction to the American people,” a Romney adviser said. “Campaigns that are about specifics, particularly in today’s environment, get tripped up.”

    • bostonboomer says:

      They are so incredibly arrogant. But I don’t think it’s going to work unless Romney somehow manages to get out of the debates. He will be asked about his taxes then.

  9. dakinikat says:

    Daryl Johnson: I tried to warn them
    I wrote the infamous report that led Homeland Security to gut its right-wing terrorism unit


    More righties complaining the government just doesn’t understand them … they’re not really terrorists and the guy that wrote the report that showed how dangerous they really are for DHS.

  10. pdgrey says:

    Guess who helped the Alien Florida governor to purge the voter rolls, Remember 2000.

  11. dakinikat says:

    I don’t know if you’ve heard anything about the group that ambushed about 4 sheriff deputies a few miles east of me in Terrebonne parish a day ago but it’s basically another right wing hate group.


    They killed two deputies and injured two others. This is basically more homegrown terrorism.

    An affidavit from Joekel’s sister, Kady Agena, states that she alerted authorities about her brother’s suspicious behavior because “she believed he might be involved in drug conspiracy” and “she was very scared and needed to tell police what was going on.”

    The court documents also detail the confiscation by police of a “brick” of money valued at $30,110 that Joekel left behind as bail money should he get arrested. The money was retrieved during a search of the home where Joekel was staying. In a dead-bolted door hidden behind a bookshelf, police said a so-called “safe room” also contained “five rifles, several empty handgun cases, several handgun holsters and approximately 30,000 rounds of live ammunition.”

    As alarming as the arsenal was, Joekel’s sister stated that officers left behind the guns and ammunition because they were not illegal, but confiscated the cash.

    According to the website of the Gage County, Nebraska Sheriff’s Office, Joekel also was wanted there for making “terrorist threats.” Lt. Robert Davidson of DeSoto Parish said Joekel had ties to “an anti-government group.”

    Terry Smith also claimed to have ties to an anti-government group. On Smith’s Facebook profile, he lists “Independent Citizens Movement” under his “political views.” Included in Smith’s profile photos are two pictures in which he is holding what appears to be a semi-automatic pistol in front of his face. The caption next to one of the photos reads, “Don’t move HATER my finger is on the trigger.”

    “There are lot of things coming in from different parts of the state and different parts of the country,” said Louisiana State Police Superintendent Mike Edmonson. “We’re aware of all of that, believe me, trust me.”

    • ralphb says:

      Last week, there was that guy in Houma who was arrested in a secret service investigation with 19 counts of illegal arms possession and he had phony IDs for the FBI, CIA etc.

      Wonder what’s going on in the bayous?

  12. pdgrey says:

    Lordy on popsicle sticks, i was reading about the Mormon faith and found this.

    • RalphB says:

      Yes, it’s a cult,

    • northwestrain says:

      Yep — I know someone who believes that he was the stand-in for JFK — I’m assuming that the Mormons kept records and only baptized JFK post death only once. He was used as a standin for many people back when he was a teenager.

  13. RalphB says:

    Fantastic take on the Vulture/Voucher ticket…

    Paul Constant: Romney Loves Ryan

    And so what we’re left with here is the Republicanest Republican of them all, a man who Dick Cheney says he “worships,” a 14-year veteran of the Republican House that drove us off a cliff and then whined all through the Obama administration’s subsequent rescue work. Someone with no qualifications in foreign policy who is happy to talk tough about the Middle East and China when the consequences aren’t his problem. A wealthy young white man who refuses to, for one second, consider what it must be like to be a woman, or a minority, or a member of the lower class, or old. A man whose words mean less than nothing.

    Is it any wonder that Romney loves Ryan, can seemingly spend hours sitting next to him and softly chuckling while gazing in his direction, his hands awkwardly curled up in his lap? It must be like looking into a mirror that shows you all your life’s possibilities. It must be like looking at all the potential he used to have. Here’s the distillation of everything Romney believes, and by some fluke, people even like this other guy. If Romney didn’t make Ryan his vice presidential candidate, he’d probably have killed him in a fit of jealous pique.