09/13/2012

FRC deserves ‘hate group’ label

On Aug. 15, a man walked into the D.C. office of the Family Research Council (FRC) and shot the building manager in the arm before he was subdued and taken into custody.

At a news conference the next day, FRC President Tony Perkins claimed that the SPLC had encouraged the attack by listing his organization as a hate group. The attacker, Perkins said, “was given a license to shoot an unarmed man by organizations like the Southern Poverty Law Center.”

Now, we don’t like being in the position of criticizing the FRC while its courageous building manager is recovering from his wounds.  But it’s important that we set the record straight and focus on what’s truly at stake.

Contrary to what the FRC has repeatedly claimed, we do not list the FRC as a hate group because of its opposition to gay marriage or because of its religious beliefs. Instead, we list the FRC because it engages in baseless, incendiary name-calling and spreads demonizing lies about the LGBT community.

The FRC portrays gay people as sick, evil, perverted, incestuous and a danger to the nation. It insists that gay people are “fundamentally incapable” of providing good homes for children – a myth that has been rejected by all relevant scientific authorities. One of its key leaders has actually said that homosexual behavior should be criminalized.

Perhaps the FRC’s most dangerous lie is its claim that pedophilia is a “homosexual problem,” to use Perkins’ words. Here’s what the American Psychological Association says: “Despite a common myth, homosexual men are not more likely to sexually abuse children than heterosexual men are.” The APA adds, “There is no scientific support for fears about children of lesbian or gay parents being sexually abused by their parents or their parents’ gay, lesbian or bisexual friends or acquaintances.”

Linking the LGBT community to pedophilia is not an expression of a religious belief, as Perkins would have it. It’s simply a lie – and a particularly ugly one at that. Constantly portraying gay people as sick, evil, perverted, incestuous and a danger to the nation simply adds fuel to the fire.

And it’s a fire that is raging in our country.

As the FBI hate crime data shows, the LGBT community – the community that the FRC constantly vilifies – is, by far, the minority group most targeted for violent hate crimes. And the FBI statistics don’t even take into account the epidemic of anti-LGBT bullying in our schools – an epidemic that has led to suicides. 

And what, by the way, does Perkins say about the “It Gets Better” campaign, an initiative designed to give LGBT students hope for a better tomorrow? “It’s disgusting,” according to Perkins, all part of a “concerted effort” to “recruit” children into the gay “lifestyle.”

And Perkins has the temerity to call groups like ours “hateful” and “vile?” Talk about “disgusting.”

As people who care about human dignity, we have a moral obligation to call out the FRC for its demonizing lies and incendiary rhetoric about the LGBT community. The fact that we list the FRC as a hate group because of its demonizing propaganda does not make us the hateful one. Spreading demonizing lies is what is dangerous, not exposing them.

The FRC richly deserves the “hate group” label.