Family Research Council’s anti-SPLC campaign places bullseye on the backs of Republican leaders

crossposted on Holy Bullies and Headless Monsters

Those organizations either named as anti-gay hate groups or profiled for their tendency to defame the lgbt community via lies are running scared. On Tuesday morning, they brought out the “big guns”

From  People for the American Way's Right Wing Watch:

 . . . FRC announced that it was running this open letter [PDF] in both Politico and The Washington Examiner and that the effort had the support of dozens of Republican members of Congress and conservative leaders:

Family Research Council (FRC) announced the placement of a full-page open letter in today's print editions of Politico and the Washington Examiner responding to the Southern Poverty Law Center's (SPLC) recent attacks on FRC and other groups.

SPLC has targeted FRC and other organizations that uphold Judeo-Christian moral views, including marriage as the union of a man and a woman. The open letter, signed by more than 150 organizational leaders, Members of Congress and other elected officials, calls for a “vigorous but responsible exercise of the First Amendment rights of free speech and religious liberty that are the birthright of all Americans.”

The open letter was signed by many current and former elected and government officials including Speaker-designate John Boehner, Majority Leader-elect Eric Cantor, U.S. Reps Mike Pence (R-IN), Michele Bachmann (R-MN), John Carter (R-TX), John Fleming (R-LA,) Trent Franks (R-AZ), Louie Gohmert (R-TX,) Gregg Harper (R-MS), Jeb Hensarling (R-TX), Jim Jordan (R-OH), Steve King (R-IA,) Don Manzullo (R-IL), Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), Joe Pitts (R-PA), Peter Roskam (R-LA), Lamar Smith (R-TX,) Steve Scalise (R-LA,) Fred Upton (R-MI), U.S. Senators Jim DeMint (R-SC), Jim Inhofe (R-OK,) David Vitter (R-LA), Roger Wicker (R-MS), Sam Brownback (Gov.-elect, Kansas), Governor Bobby Jindal, former Governor Mike Huckabee, Governor Tim Pawlenty, former Senator Rick Santorum, Edwin Meese III, former Attorney General of the United States, and Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli.

Those look like some pretty heavy hitters, don't they? Personally I am not impressed. The vast majority if not all of these individuals have been very vocal with their tendency to stigmatize the lgbt community whether it be Mike Huckabee with his insults to lgbt households, Tim Pawlenty via his unnecessary and coldhearted vetoing of a bill that would allow same sex partners to make end-of-life decisions for their partners, or Jim DeMint who doesn't believe in the hiring of any gay teachers.

 

But it would seem to me that FRC, through its need to deny the obvious (that its hate group status does not come from upholding “Judeo-Christian” moral beliefs but its desire to smear the lgbt community via lies and junk science), have now expanded the bullseye placed on its back by the Southern Poverty Law Center to include Congressional leaders who have signed this madness.

If the lgbt community and our allies take advantage of this situation, we would communicate with any and all of these Congressional leaders via email, phone, or whatever and ask:

Congressman or Congresswoman so-and-so,

Do you really stand with groups who proclaim that:

•Gays should be exported from the country;

•The federal government must be overthrown if it allows gay marriage;

•”Moral perverts” need to be kept out of the military;

•There is nothing “conservative” about “one man violently cramming his penis into another man’s lower intestine and calling it 'love'”;

•Homosexual behavior ought to be outlawed;

•Gay sex ought to carry criminal penalties;

•Gays ought to be prohibited from serving in public office;

•Gay sex is domestic terrorism;

•”Hitler recruited around him homosexuals to make up his Stormtroopers … [because] homosexual soldiers basically had no limits [to] the savagery and brutality they were willing to inflict.”

Or how about organizations who will intentionally cite discredited research in order to smear lgbts the same way the Klan cites FBI statistics to smear African-Americans?

We need those questions continuously until we either receive an answer or, at the very least, send a message to these leaders that maybe they should know all of the facts behind a situation before interjecting themselves into it.

UPDATE – the Southern Poverty Law Center issued a what can only be described as devastating response to FRC's campaign. This is my favorite part:

Despite the claims made in today’s statement, the SPLC’s listings are not in any way intended to suppress these groups’ free speech. We’re not asking that these groups be silenced or punished in any way. What we are doing is calling them out for their lies. There is nothing wrong with labeling an organization a hate group based on what they say. A simple example illustrates the point: If a neo-Nazi group said all Jews are “vermin,” no one would argue with our characterizing it as a hate group.

Neither are we mounting an attack on individuals or “groups that uphold Judeo-Christian moral views,” as today’s statement suggests. In fact, as we say in our article dissecting the views of these groups, “Viewing homosexuality as unbiblical does not qualify organizations for listing as hate groups.” Instead, as we explained there, “the SPLC’s listings of these groups is based on their propagation of known falsehoods — claims about LGBT people that have been thoroughly discredited by scientific authorities — and repeated, groundless name-calling.”

For another good list to ask Congressional leaders about, go to:

FRC's 'Start Debating, Stop Hating' effort: Let's look at some of those aligned debaters, shall we?
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LaBarbera’s ramblings exposes the Family Research Council’s deception

crossposted on Holy Bullies and Headless Monsters

Leave it to Peter LaBarbera to unwittingly call the Family Research Council a liar.

LaBarbera is no doubt still smarting from his organization being called an anti-gay hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Now one of the main reasons why SPLC named LaBarbera's organization, Americans for Truth About Homosexuality, as a hate group (as well as several other religious right groups) is because they continue to push many falsehoods about the lgbt community. One in particular is the notion that homosexuality and pedophilia are related. The SPLC said this is not true:

According to the American Psychological Association, “homosexual men are not more likely to sexually abuse children than heterosexual men are.” Gregory Herek, a professor at the University of California, Davis, who is one of the nation’s leading researchers on prejudice against sexual minorities, reviewed a series of studies and found no evidence that gay men molest children at higher rates than heterosexual men.

Anti-gay activists who make that claim allege that all men who molest male children should be seen as homosexual. But research by A. Nicholas Groth, a pioneer in the field of sexual abuse of children, shows that is not so. Groth found that there are two types of child molesters: fixated and regressive. The fixated child molester — the stereotypical pedophile — cannot be considered homosexual or heterosexual because “he often finds adults of either sex repulsive” and often molests children of both sexes. Regressive child molesters are generally attracted to other adults, but may “regress” to focusing on children when confronted with stressful situations. Groth found that the majority of regressed offenders were heterosexual in their adult relationships.

The Child Molestation Research and Prevention Institute notes that 90% of child molesters target children in their network of family and friends. Most child molesters, therefore, are not gay people lingering outside schools waiting to snatch children from the playground, as much religious-right rhetoric suggests.

However,  LaBarbera  in advertising his recent appearance on a Concerned Women for America radio program said the following:

I challenge the SPLC’s “hate” criterion chastising any group that says homosexuals are disproportionately involved in child molestation. (I ask why there are so many boy victims of pedophilia if homosexual men comprise such a tiny percentage of society; I assume few boys are molested by women.)

I won't even begin to ponder where LaBarbera looked to find the photo of the pedophilia magazine he used on his webpage to illustrate his point.

But I will point out that LaBarbera, who has absolutely no training in the field of pediatrics, child welfare, or the prevention of child sex abuse, seems to think that he is more skilled to make a correlation between homosexuality and pedophilia than those who do have adequate training in these fields.  I think that the statement by the Southern Poverty Law Center (using the statements of legitimate groups and researchers) is more than enough to refute his nonsense.

But here is the thing that's interesting about LaBarbera's need to bring up pedophilia and homosexuality -  doesn't it contradict the recent whinings of the Family Research Council concerning SPLC's labeling of them and other religious right groups – LaBarbera's included – as hate groups?

FRC claims that SPLC is trying to “shut down the discussion” by labeling them simply because they stand the for the so-called “Judeo-Christian” definition of marriage:


The surest sign one is losing a debate is to resort to character assassination. The Southern Poverty Law Center, a liberal fundraising machine whose tactics have been condemned by observers across the political spectrum, is doing just that.

The group, which was once known for combating racial bigotry, is now attacking several groups that uphold Judeo-Christian moral views, including marriage as the union of a man and a woman. 

I fail to see how the covert labeling of gay men as pedophiles aligns with “Judeo-Christian moral views.” But if the inaccurate linking of homosexuality and pedophilia isn't a huge part of this controversy, then why did LaBarbera feel the need to bring it up?

The lgbt community owes LaBarbera a degree of thanks for his ignorant stridency. He has proved that FRC's claim is merely a talking point designed to obscure and deceive.

Make no mistake about it. SPLCs' designation has nothing to do with gay marriage and more to do with groups passing along propaganda and lies under the guise of Christianity. It's not about trying to shut down “Judeo-Christian” beliefs and more to do with exposing those who would exploit these beliefs to cage the lgbt community or make us pariahs to ourselves and the mainstream community at large.

This issue is about bearing false witness, an ugly sin but one which FRC and other religious right groups  – LaBarbera's included – are committing with unrestrained glee.

 

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Family Policy Councils to the Court: Just Ignore the U.S. Constitution, Mkay?

Cross-posted at Prop 8 Trial Tracker.

As if we needed more confirmation that the anti-equality crowd is bereft of logical arguments and grasping at straws, a group of about 30 of Family Research Council’s state affiliates, called Family Policy Councils, have filed an amicus brief with the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in the Perry v. Schwarzenegger Proposition 8 case.  They’re asking the Court to overturn Judge Vaughn Walker’s well-reasoned ruling that Prop 8, which stripped gay and lesbian couples of their right to marry in California, is unconstitutional.  You know that the amicus brief is a terrifically embarrassing document when a non-lawyer like me can look into it and see whole schools of red herring.  Here are just a few of the keepers.  From the very first sentence of the Summary of the Argument section on page 2:

The United States’ government consists of checks and balances designed to limit the power of the various parts of the government, ensuring it follows the will of the people.

Our federal government, as set out in the U.S. Constitution, uses the separation of powers principle to enforce power sharing among the three co-equal branches of government (executive, legislative and judicial).  The purpose of this system of checks and balances is to prevent any one branch of government from gaining too much power, not to the protect “the will of the people”.

Apparently angling for any bottom-feeders on the Court, the FPCs actually mash these moldy old dough balls onto the hook.  From page 9:

Through the initiative process, the people of California have made their will known. In their state, they want marriage to remain as it has for thousands of years. They spoke twice in eight years, and their will should not be subverted by one judge of one branch of the federal government’s redefining core institutions like marriage to follow the whims of the elite.

The FPCs are hoping you’ll buy into the notion that “the people” of California have unlimited power in the state.  They don’t.  The U.S. Constitution is the supreme law of the land, and while it establishes the federal judiciary as a co-equal arm of government, it makes no explicit provision for citizens’ initiatives.  If a majority of voters passes a state constitutional amendment that violates the U.S. Constitution as Prop 8 does, the fact that those voters were in the majority is irrelevant.  The FPCs don’t want you to consider the fact that a voting majority can act unconstitutionally, and that the federal judiciary has the power to strike down any unconstitutional measure they may pass.

Since when does the 52% of California voters who voted for Prop 8 represent “the people of California”?  Almost half, 48%, voted against the discriminatory measure.  As for marriage as it’s been “for thousands of years”, that would include plural marriage, concubinage and a prohibition on remarriage after divorce.  The FPCs not only want us to ignore the U.S. Constitution, they want to create a new math (52% = 100%) and whistle past their own “Judeo-Christian” history as set down in the Holy Bible.

There’s enough red herring here for a Friday dinner fry-up.  If you want seconds, there’s plenty more in the brief.
FYI here are the names of Family Policy Councils that signed onto the brief.  They’re represented by Liberty Institute of Plano, TX:

Association of Maryland Families,

California Family Council,

Center for Arizona Policy,

Citizens for Community Values,

Cornerstone Action,

Cornerstone Family Council,

Delaware Family Policy Council,

Family Action Council of Tennessee,

The Family Foundation,

The Family Policy Council of West Virginia,

Family Policy Institute of Washington,

Florida Family Policy Council,

Georgia Family Council,

Illinois Family Institute,

Independence Law Center,

Iowa Family Policy Center,

Louisiana Family Forum Action,

Massachusetts Family Institute,

Michigan Family Forum,

Minnesota Family Council,

Missouri Family Policy Council,

Montana Family Foundation,

New Jersey Family First,

New Jersey Family Policy Council,

North Carolina Family Policy Council,

Oklahoma Family Policy Council,

Oregon Family Council,

Palmetto Family Council,

Pennsylvania Family Institute,

Wisconsin Family Action, and

WyWatch Family Action
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