The Hatewatch blog is managed by the staff of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization.

Extremists of Many Stripes Gather at Values Voter Summit 2011

By Heidi Beirich on October 7, 2011 - 4:51 pm, Posted in Extremist Propaganda

The anti-gay hate group Family Research Council (FRC) brought quite a collection of extremists to Washington, D.C., for its Values Voter Summit 2011 (VVS). According to the FRC, the event, which is being held today and tomorrow at the Omni Shoreham Hotel, has an attendance of some 3,000. It’s co-sponsored by organizations, like the American Family Association (AFA), that join the FRC in demonizing of the LGBT community. (The Southern Poverty Law Center today ran an advertisement in the Washington Post detailing these groups’ false claims about LGBT people). But bigotry toward gays and lesbians is not the only kind on display here today. Muslims took quite a beating, too. Speakers repeatedly expressed their fears about gay marriage and the expansion of LGBT rights. In his opening remarks, FRC President Tony Perkins warned that President Obama was “redefining the family” by refusing to defend the Defense of Marriage Act and by repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT). In a session Perkins moderated about the military, he wondered, given the repeal of DADT, who would protect those with “politically incorrect values?”

The extremism was most vivid in the main exhibit halls. Maybe the weirdest bunch in were from the American Society for Tradition, Family and Property (TFP), a self-described Catholic organization whose representatives seemed to be wearing red cloaks. The TFP table had a particularly noxious pamphlet – “10 Reasons Why Homosexual ‘Marriage’ is Harmful and Must be Opposed” – that argued that same-sex marriage “ignores a child’s best interests” and that it “turns a moral wrong into a Civil Right.” The pamphlet blamed same-sex marriage for forcing Christians to “betray their consciences by condoning … an attack on the natural order.” Another TFP pamphlet warned hysterically about the dangers of “socialism,” which, for some unknown reason, given our hyper-capitalist economy, they seem to think is on the march and targeting “traditional marriage” and “parental rights.” Anti-gay propaganda from the FRC and AFA was also on hand.

There was a table operated by the “Shariah Awareness Action Network,” a coalition that includes anti-Muslim hate groups. They were giving out material against the so-called “9/11 Mosque” – actually a Muslim cultural center run by a moderate cleric and called Park51 – that claimed “it will be a place for Islamic radicals around the world to celebrate their victory.”

The network’s representatives were hard-selling a November conference they will be holding in Nashville that will bring together members of the anti-Muslim hate group Stop the Islamization of America (SIOA) and activists from the anti-gay hate group Traditional Values Coalition. The conference promises to reveal how Shariah law, which can never exist in the U.S. given our Constitution, “poses a threat to our American way of life.” The same folks were distributing copies of WorldNetDaily, a publication best known for pushing crazy conspiracy theories and birtherism. The table for David Horowitz’ Freedom Center, which funds SIOA, had a pamphlet giving the top 10 reasons why the U.N. needs to be abolished. It claims the U.N. is in an “obsessive war against the free world.”

The AFA held the Friday luncheon. Though it was staffed by figures who are rabidly anti-gay and anti-Muslim, such as Bryan Fischer, the luncheon mostly shied away from controversy. But not entirely. The AFA’s director of social media, Don Cobb, said he had watched a full two seasons of the Fox TV program “Glee,” which urges acceptance by parents of gay children. Cobb was horrified by how engaging the show was – and by its message. “Just accept [a gay child’s] lifestyle?” Cobb asked sarcastically. “Just accept his lifestyle without thinking about him?” The implication was clear: acceptance of gay children was unacceptable.

The AFA luncheon also featured Neil Mammen, author of Jesus is Involved in Politics!: Why aren’t You? Why isn’t Your Church? Mammen repeatedly referred to President Obama as “Barack Hussein Obama” and warned repeatedly of Muslim evil toward Christians.

Public figures were on hand to add their voices to the anti-gay and anti-Muslim sentiments expressed in the literature being handed out in the exhibition hall. Freshman Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo.) warned the crowd ominously that “they,” whoever they are, “are trying to use the military to advance their social agenda.” Her comments came in a discussion about the recently revoked DADT policy. Hartzler has long warned against expansions of gay rights. During the Eagle Forum Collegians 2011 Summit, she delivered a speech on why young conservatives should oppose marriage equality, claiming that legalizing gay marriage is akin to legalizing pedophilia, incest and letting 3-year-olds drive a car.

Joining Hartzler on her panel was another freshman, Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.). He echoed her concerns. “We cannot use our military to promote social ideas that do not reflect the values of the country,” he said.

In the afternoon session, Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) mocked gay people, saying, “the most unhappy people I’ve met were those that called themselves gay.” King has repeatedly warned that gay marriage will destroy Western Civilization, an idea he repeated this afternoon. King seemed a little paranoid in his talk, referring more than once to unnamed opposition he called “they” who he claimed “will attack everything we believe in.” As with Hartzler, King didn’t say who “they” are.

Given the comments that were made and the ugliness expressed towards the LGBT and Muslim communities today, it was funny that the moderator of the event repeatedly warned those attending VV2011 to not be the “weird one.” He claimed the media wants to “provoke” values voters into saying something crazy so that they could use the comments to make the point that “this is what all Values Voters are like.” But no provocation was really needed – the weirdness was amply on display.

  • CJ

    These people are the dark underbelly of our society, where the fearful gather to marshall arms against imaginary enemies. They are very dangerous. They promulgate lies and build on primal fears, getting people to the polls for sham promises (such as getting us jobs or protecting our rights) only to enact an extreme, hateful agenda. You can see it now in our local governments. They go there because people are afraid of the future right now and have been desperate to blame someone. Once you blame someone, then you know where the problem is, right? And then you can just erase the problem. But what they sell is lies based on fear. Fear and racism. This is the birther crowd looking for more fear based motivaters for desperate americans. They must be stopped. The first step is shining a light on them, such as SPLC has done here, but this information must be shared. So everybody do your part and share this with your neighbors. The only way to get the rats out of the shadows is to shine a light in the corners.

  • David29073

    What I find so disturbing about this whole “Value Voter Summit” (and what does that really mean anyway??) was that the main GOP presidential candidates spoke at this gathering, or whatever you want to call it.
    There has to be something done to bring mainstream attention to these extreme groups in a way that will put a very harsh spotlight on them. They MUST be called out, and publicly questioned by the main networks in a way in which their TRUE views, those that are extreme but accepted by the GOP candidates, is exposed in the harsh light of the main stream media.
    Their main speakers need to be on “The Today” show and relentlessly questioned by the talking heads and verbally cornered in a way in which people begin to understand that if the GOP presidential candidates actually believe in what these groups stand for, and will attend their events and endorse their views, our basic freedoms of speech, religion, and the right to peacefully protest are in grave jeopardy.
    How do we, as a community, do this???!!! How???
    I understand the SPLC is a respected organization, but in the last couple of years, especially during the Bush reign, SPLC has been effectively marginalized. How do we, all of us on this forum, and the majority of people in this country, stop this extreme insanity from actually gaining a seat at the political table??
    There are GOP candidates who actually believe in what these groups stand for!!! I am very afraid that what will take place in this great country of ours will be a revolution, a very bloody revolution.
    We MUST organize in a way in which we can STOP these goons from gaining a hold on our political process.
    Being Jewish, and being a student of history, I can only look at this gathering of extreme groups with a foreboding. The National Socialist Party started in a beer hall in Munich. The German population gave them little notice, which is what is happening here. I am not one to panic or go “extreme”, but what is taking place here is right out of the National Socialists playbook, and, for now, “they” (the FRC and AFA) are winning the political game.
    Sorry for being so long winded, but I am very very concerned about what is taking place in this country, and the way this minority group of extremist are not only gaining traction, but dictating the political commentary. This has to stop in a civil way, they MUST be exposed for the HATE groups they REALLY are!! We, as a people of this forum, and of the majority must stop these dangerous groups from perpetuating their vile, filthy hatred, but we must do it within the legal framework of our laws.

  • Sally

    I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. They are so unlike your Christ. – Gandhi

    I have to wonder, what would Jesus think of these people’s actions and thoughts? I’m no expert, but I’m fairly certain he wouldn’t have kind things to say to any of them about what they’re doing, saying or thinking.

  • Pete

    If you want to know who and what pose the greatest threat to our freedoms, you need look no further than The Value Voters Summit. The surest way for a politician to lose any hope of gaining my vote is to pander to these people. How they can distort our Constitution and the concept of The Teachings of Jesus so radically is beyond me. Almost as far beyond comprehension as their ability to get anyone to agree with their hatefulness and distortions. For them to believe that they represent the best of American values is delusional.

  • http://www.twitter.com/AronL Aron

    CM,

    I’ll bet his granddaddy was one of the many Americans calling Truman a Communist after he relieved MacArthur of command in 1951.

    The more things change…

    Aron

  • CM

    “We cannot use our military to promote social ideas that do not reflect the values of the country.”

    Bet his granddaddy said the same thing when Truman ended racial segregation in the military.

  • Steve Egger

    What a horrible bunch of Evil people! Some of these people already have too much power. I’d hate to think of any of them getting any more!

  • skinnyminny

    Sam Molloy,
    I take it that you haven’t bothered to ponder on the things I wrote in the past 2 years about the teas. I even wrote that I would not vote for Cain. For one, as I said before, why should I vote for this guy because he’s black? Again, I said, if they don’t respect the black guy that’s in the WH now, why would I vote for the one they want me to vote for. If you look back at the comments I wrote on the teas, I specifically said that the rich that are running for office, I would not vote for, and that they should take their millions and retire living the good life they have worked so hard for. I have dealt with rich people before, and this attitude of Cain is no different.

    There’s another guy that is getting alot of traction in the progressives circle, his name is Stewart Alexander. He is running under the Green Party as a socialist candidate. Will I vote for him? No.

    Now, let’s make clear, I’m no expert on politics, but, and I emphasize, but. I think people need to take the time and calm down to clear their mind and thoughts. Take time to read up on the candidates, and review any and everything they may have forgotten, i.e., holding the increase of debt limit til the last minute,and saying they will default on the countries debt…

    Take the time to learn about the country…you hear a lot of people say this country is a ‘republic.’ Wrong! According to Goode’s World Atlas, our form of Gov’t and Ruling Power is a ‘federal republic,’ same as Mexico, Austria and India. Countries that are ‘republic’ is Sudan, Suriname, Singapore, Liberia, Turkey, Tunisia. Austrialia is a ‘federal parliamentary state.’ U.K. is a ‘constitutional monarchy.’ Laos, China and Egypt are ‘socialist republic.’

    I disagree with your comments about, ‘unless O turns the economy around we are…then you say you have made sure you can vote in the Republican primary for John Huntsman. With these comments, I’m not sure what to make of it, except to say, that you will use your vote as retaliation or that you were never a Dem to begin with. Hopefully, you will stop for a minute a think, this is what happen during the last election. Out of anger, voters either withheld their votes or voted for the teas. Now, this is just my opinion, most of these voters have no one to blame but themselves that some of these people they voted in are stripping voting rights, union rights/right to work states,..this is one reason I will not, I repeat, will not join the protests that are out there now – No Identifiable Leader or Identifiable Group. Gingrich says he agrees and understand the protesters – then other GOP has urged the protesters to go to Washington. So, as far as I’m concerned, this could be just another ploy to undermine O’s chance as reelection – meaning, the teas for a long time said they were independent, but, now we know they were conservatives but have now, what looks like, to have joined forces with the GOP and big business.

    With this, I urge you to use your vote wisely, whoever that may be for. Because, as it stands, once the GOP have a chance, you’re right about voting GOP, because that’s all you will have a choice to vote for.

  • Sam Molloy

    Herman Cain also said that it’s the 99%er’s own fault that they aren’t rich, proving his absolute cluelessness about the way the world economic system is structured. I have made sure I can vote in the Republican primary so I can vote for John Huntsman. Unless O turns the economy around we are sincerely in “great danger” of a replay of Germany in the 1930′s.

  • skinnyminny

    A pamphlet on the dangers of socialism? Wow! Somebody please get these people to listen to the song by the Chi-Lites called “(For God’s Sake) Give More Power to the People.” This song is exactly what is happening today, and it was in the 70s that this song was done – some of the lyrics are, ‘For God’s sake, give more power to the people, there’s some people up there hoggin’ everything, tellin’ lies, givin’ alibis about the peoples money and things…there are some people starving to death…when they run out of power the world’s going to be a ghost…they know we’re not satisfied they give us promises and throw in a few more dollars, up goes the cost of living and you’re right back where you were…they’ve heard and seen but never had misery…”
    Yeah! I know! It’s sad these people are more concerned with trying to exclude people, instead of dealing with the real problems.

  • Linnea

    Wow, what a nasty bunch. Thanks for shining a light on this.

  • Ruslan Amirkhanov

    Hmm…This is quite strange. Hermann Cain said that Muslims don’t have the right to 1st Amendment protection because Islam is a political movement. But what’s the deal with these “Values Voter” summits, the Christian Coalition, The Family Leader and their candidate pledges, etc.?

  • M. Bright

    Today at the conference, one of the speakers referenced the Supreme Court mentioning in a majority opinion that “evolving standards” of decency and morality had been taken into account in reaching a decision.

    The Speaker failed to mention that the decision was the one in which the execution of juveniles would no longer be allowed under US law.

    The audience was suitably horrified at this usurpation of good old American Law by a bunch of foreigners and their screwy and very alien way of thinking.

    This is quite a Christian gathering.