The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) and a coalition of human rights groups have written to several public figures, including House Majority Leader Eric Cantor and U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, asking them not to speak at this weekend’s Values Voter Summit in Washington. The event is hosted by the Family Research Council (FRC), which the SPLC lists as a hate group for its dissemination of false and demonizing propaganda about the LGBT community.
The FRC has engaged in repeated, groundless demonization – portraying LGBT people as sick, vile, incestuous, violent, perverted, and a danger to the nation, the letter says. One of its officials has gone so far as to say homosexuality should be criminalized. Perhaps the FRC’s ugliest lie is its claim that gay men molest children at a far higher rate than heterosexual men – that pedophilia “is a homosexual problem,” in the words of Tony Perkins, the FRC president.
The FRC’s extremism is also illustrated by its recent hiring of retired Lt. Gen. William “Jerry” Boykin, a radical anti-Muslim propagandist and conspiracy theorist, as its executive vice president. Last year, Mr. Boykin stated that “Islam is not a religion and does not deserve First Amendment protections”– a statement that is antithetical to American ideals. In the Affordable Care Act, he literally sees a plot to create a shadow police force that he compares to Hitler’s “Brownshirts.” The FRC has not only hired Boykin, it has given him a prominent speaking slot at the Summit.
Sponsoring the Summit at the invitation of the FRC is the American Family Association (AFA), also listed as a hate group by the SPLC. Incredibly, an AFA senior official has blamed the LGBT community for the Holocaust. The AFA’s director of issue analysis, Bryan Fischer, wrote in 2010: “Homosexuality gave us Adolph Hitler, and homosexuals in the military gave us the Brown Shirts, the Nazi war machine and 6 million dead Jews.” He once said that welfare rewards black people who “rut like rabbits.”
In addition to the SPLC, the human rights groups that signed the letter are: People for the American Way Foundation; the Human Rights Campaign Foundation; the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation; the National Black Justice Coalition; the National Council of La Raza; and Faithful America.
The SPLC’s analysis of FBI hate crime data shows that gay men and lesbians are by far the group most likely to be victimized by violent hate crime.
“Defaming them publicly day after day – lying about them – only throws fuel on the fire,” the letter says.