Peter Sprigg

Ex-Gay Awareness Month Returns With October Summit

Following last year’s smashing success of an ex-gay pride event, ex-gay activists are organizing another “Ex-Gay Awareness Month” summit featuring Alan Keyes, Sandy Rios, Matt Barber and Peter Sprigg, along with real-life ex-gays Greg Quinlan and Christopher Doyle.

You can now receive a special early bird rate for the Washington D.C. event, which will disclose its location upon registration [PDF] .

 

Agenda – Friday, October 3, 2014

9:00am – 10:00am – Pre-Event Get Together and Lobbying Education Training, Greg Quinlan, President of Equality And Justice For All (Location to be disclosed prior to the event)

10:00am – 5:00pm – Meetings with your Representatives and Senators (e-mail contact@equalityandjusticeforall.org for assistance in making appointments)

5:00pm – 6:00pm – Dinner (on your own)

6:00pm – 9:00pm – Evening Reception (hors d’ oeuvres and dessert to be served) and Screening of “Sing Over Me” with Dennis Jernigan (Location to be disclosed prior to the event)

Agenda – Saturday, October 4, 2014

8:00am – 9:00am – Breakfast with Ambassador Alan Keyes (sponsorship tickets required)

9:00am – Invocation, Rev. Jayson Graves, LMFT

Welcome -Estella Salvatierra, President of PFOX/Regina Griggs, Executive Director of PFOX

Introduction – Christopher Doyle, President of Voice of the Voiceless

9:15am – 10:00am – Ambassador Alan Keyes, Former Republican Presidential Candidate

10:00am – 11:00am -Breakout Sessions

11:00am – 12:00pm -Breakout Sessions

12:00pm – 1:00pm -Breakout Sessions

1:00pm – 2:00pm - Luncheon

2:00pm – 3:00pm - Panel Discussion with Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays Panel, Moderated by Regina Griggs (Panel TBD)

3:00pm – 3:15pm – Break

3:15pm – 3:45pm – Courage Award for Former Homosexuals, Dennis Jernigan (Introduction by PFOX Past President Greg Quinlan

3:45pm – 4:00pm – Break

4:00pm – 5:00pm – Friend of Ex-Gays Freedom Award, Sandy Rios (Introduction by Voice of the Voiceless President Christopher Doyle)

5:00pm – Benediction

Right Wing Round-Up - 8/18/14

Family Research Council's Peter Sprigg Confronted By Christian Mother Of Gay Daughter, Recommends She Gets Ex-Gay Therapy

Family Research Council senior fellow Peter Sprigg, who once advocated for the deportation of gay people from the U.S. to stop them from destroying society, fielded a call on the “Washington Watch” radio program yesterday from a listener named Janet, who recounted a heart wrenching story of her daughter coming out as gay.

Janet explained to Sprigg how she still supports her daughter and is sustained by her faith in Jesus Christ.

I want you to understand that I am a Christian, I do believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, but I do have a quandary. I have a daughter who has been married for seven years and she came to me in tears and said, ‘Mother, I can’t live this way, it’s not who I am, I’m gay.’ I was astounded because I didn’t see it, we talked about it, we’ve done everything. My daughter was raised in the church. The thing that we talked about was — I asked, ‘Well why did you marry if you felt this way?’ She said, ‘Because I wanted to be like everybody else.’ I said, ‘Well how long have you know this?’ She said, ‘Mother, I’ve known this since I was a little kid, I’ve always been different from everybody else.’

I’m not turning my back on my daughter, I’m not ashamed of my daughter, I am deeply hurt that there is no church that my daughter can go to and not hear what an awful, sinful, against-God life that she feels that she is. I don’t think that the Jesus I grew up with and learned to love is a resentful or any kind of God that would want to cause pain. I don’t know why my daughter feels the way she does, but she does and she doesn’t lie to me and I know in her heart that this is how she feels. The only thing that I know that I’m supposed to do is to pray for my fellow people in this world, love everybody just as Jesus loves me and I think I have hurt so much because all I hear is what a God-forsaken life they are living. Well God didn’t forsake my daughter, He didn’t.

Sprigg, unsurprisingly, responded to this call by recommending the mother turn to two groups THAT espouse ex-gay therapy: National Association for Research & Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH) and Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays (PFOX).

If she does indeed do research on such groups, she will find out that ex-gay therapy has been completely discredited by the mainstream scientific community and has been rejected by many Christian groups, including many former ex-gays.

Family Research Council Warns Anti-Bias Executive Order Threatens 'Religious And Constitutional Liberties'

President Obama has reportedly decided to sign an executive order to bar federal government contractors from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. The news did not sit well with Peter Sprigg of the Family Research Council.

In a statement on behalf of the FRC today, Sprigg warns that the executive order will undermine “religious and constitutional liberties” and lead to a flood of lawsuits.

This political gesture reflects the president's repeated disregard for the legislative process. Congress has not passed the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) or similar provisions, despite activists' pressure to do so, because of the detrimental impact on employers' and employees' constitutional freedoms of religion, speech, and association. Historically, these kinds of provisions have not been applied to conduct-based distinctions that are not found in the Constitution.

Today's announced executive order will give activists a license to challenge their employers whenever they feel aggrieved, exposing those employers to threats of costly legal proceedings and the potential of jeopardizing future contracts. Furthermore, by requiring federal contractors to consider characteristics and behaviors related to a person's sexual orientation or gender identity, this policy will make contractors liable for protecting actual or perceived self-disclosed and fluid identities that may not even be known.

The timing of this announcement is clearly designed to curry favor with activist organizations. While the president prepares to address a New York gathering of gay rights supporters, the American people will be left to sort out the costs to religious and constitutional liberties resulting from this executive order.

American Family Association: Don't Open Letters With Harvey Milk Stamp

Incensed by the release of a postage stamp honoring Harvey Milk, the American Family Association is urging its members not only to avoid purchasing the stamp…but to refuse to accept or open any letter or package postmarked with one.

1. Refuse to accept the Harvey Milk stamp if offered by your local post office. Instead, ask for a stamp of the United States flag.

2. Refuse to accept mail at your home or business if it is postmarked with the Harvey Milk stamp. Simply write 'Return to Sender" on the envelope and tell your postman you won't accept it.

In his daily email alert yesterday, Family Research Council President Tony Perkins also attacked the Obama administration for issuing the stamp, linking the move to the imprisonment of a Sudanese mother who is facing the death penalty for her conversion to Christianity: “[T]he Obama administration -- which had more than enough time to throw a party in honor of homosexual activist Harvey Milk -- hasn't had a spare second to demand the freedom of two of America’s youngest citizens.”

FRC also marked the occasion by republishing a 2009 article by senior fellow Peter Sprigg attacking Milk:

Pro-homosexual activists will describe the issue as one of identity – “who they are.” But the real issue is one of behavior – what they do. And what Harvey Milk (like other homosexual activists) wanted was not only the freedom to engage in homosexual sex, but the right to do so without ever being criticized. Milk told one audience that “it is madness to … be ashamed of the sexual act, the act that conceived you. …” Yet homosexual acts never conceived anyone, which is what separates them, undeniably, from heterosexual acts.

Since Harvey Milk died from an assassin’s bullet, over a quarter million American men have died of AIDS, which they contracted because they had sex with other men. What’s truly “madness” is that someone whose only claim to fame is that they promoted such deadly behavior should be honored with a Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Todd Starnes Says LGBT Activists Will Demand Christians Be Deported; Religious Right Got There First

Fox News pundit Todd Starnes joins the parade of right-wing outrage about the Home & Garden Television Network pulling the plug on a show featuring David and Jason Benham after Right Wing Watch reported on David’s anti-gay activism.  Starnes posted a story about HGTV’s decision, then promoted it with a tweet that said,

Hmm, you mean the way Family Research Council spokesman Peter Sprigg said in 2008 that he would like to export homosexuals from the U.S. because homosexuality is destructive to society?  Sprigg apologized for using language that “did not communicate respect for the essential dignity of every human being as a person created in the image of God.” But since then he has said that gay sex should be criminalized.

FRC Distorts Harvard Study To Claim Gay Marriage Harms Children

Surprising no one, the Family Research Council is attempting to spin a new Harvard study which found that “children raised in communities with high percentages of single mothers are significantly less likely to experience absolute and relative mobility” as a reason to oppose marriage equality. FRC president Tony Perkins and senior fellow Peter Sprigg addressed the Harvard findings on Monday’s edition of Washington Watch during a discussion of a proposed anti-gay amendment in Indiana.

After Sprigg noted that “if a child grows up in a community with married households, that child will do better than a child raised in a community where there are many single parent households,” he said that the study affirmed his opposition to marriage equality: “This is exactly what I’ve been saying about the marriage issue, if you redefine marriage it’s not going to affect just those couples, it’s going to affect the whole community by setting an example.”

“That study then answers that question: how does my same-sex marriage affect yours?” Perkins added. “Well, it may not affect my marriage but it affects my children because it has an impact upon marriage across the board.”

Essentially, Perkins and Sprigg are arguing that by banning gay couples from getting married, they will somehow reduce the number of single parent households.

Don’t worry if that argument makes no sense to you, because it shouldn’t: it relies on an oft-repeated but discredited claim that the legalization of same-sex marriage makes it less likely for opposite-sex couples to get married.

U.S. District Court Judge Robert J. Shelby found [PDF] that Utah couldn’t provide any evidence to support its claim that banning same-sex marriage was necessary to curb a negative impact on opposite-sex marriage:

The State has presented no evidence that the number of opposite-sex couples choosing to marry each other is likely to be affected in any way by the ability of same-sex couples to marry. Indeed, it defies reason to conclude that allowing same-sex couples to marry will diminish the example that married opposite-sex couples set for their unmarried counterparts. Both opposite-sex and same-sex couples model the formation of committed, exclusive relationships, and both establish families based on mutual love and support. If there is any connection between same-sex marriage and responsible procreation, the relationship is likely to be the opposite of what the State suggests. Because Amendment 3 does not currently permit same-sex couples to engage in sexual activity within a marriage, the State reinforces a norm that sexual activity may take place outside the marriage relationship.

Wildmon: Gay Rights Advocates 'Force Feeding The American Public'

American Family Association president Tim Wildmon yesterday joined other anti-gay pundits in criticizing the Grammy Awards for a performance that included a wedding service for both same-sex and opposite-sex couples, which Wildmon said shows that liberals are “force feeding the American public” with homosexuality.

“Hollywood, the entertainment industry and the political left just can’t get enough ‘gay,’” Wildmon said.

He also attacked President Obama for inviting openly gay NBA player Jason Collins to the State of the Union address: “President Obama now has invited an NBA player to sit in the gallery for the State of the Union speech precisely because he has sex with other men and is proud of it. These people don’t just want acceptance, they want middle America’s approval.”

Tim Graham of the Media Research Center accused the Grammys of trying to “flush the Bible on national TV,” while Family Research Council senior fellow Peter Sprigg said the award show has been “shamelessly exploited in support of a radical social and political agenda.”

“Hollywood, the entertainment industry and the political left just can’t get enough ‘gay,’” American Family Association president Tim Wildmon told LifeSiteNews. “They are force feeding the American public. We have ‘Kinky Boots’ which are cross-dressers in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade, we got a homosexual wedding float in the Rose Bowl Parade and now we are pushing ‘gay marriage’ during the Grammy Awards. President Obama now has invited an NBA player to sit in the gallery for the State of the Union speech precisely because he has sex with other men and is proud of it. These people don’t just want acceptance, they want middle America’s approval.”

“It is unfortunate that CBS and the Grammys would allow an entertainment awards show to be so shamelessly exploited in support of a radical social and political agenda,” Peter Sprigg, Senior Fellow for Policy Studies at the Family Research Council, told LifeSiteNews. “It’s ironic that these ceremonies accompanied a song, ‘Same Love.’ The government has no legitimate interest in ‘love’ alone, but it does have an interest in encouraging procreation and mother-father households.”

The on-air same-sex “weddings” were the brainchild of Grammy producer Ken Ehrlich, who told theNew York Times he got the idea from his lesbian daughter, who told him that Macklemore and Lewis sometimes allow couples to propose marriage onstage during concert performances of “Same Love.” Ehrlich said he suggested the duo “[take] it a step further with a full wedding.”

But Ehrlich denied that it was just a stunt. “We’re serious about this,” he told the Times. He added that while he personally believes marriage should be redefined to include same-sex couples, “I would not want to make a broad statement that it represents the views of the [National] Academy [of Recording Arts and Sciences] or the CBS television network.”

But Tim Graham, director of media analysis for the conservative Media Research Center, strongly disagreed.

“They can say this is not a stunt, but that's exactly what it is, a piece of musical agitprop to mock the traditional values of conservative American Christians, Jews, Muslims, and others,” Graham wrote on the NewsBusters blog. “Entertainers never want to have a debate, just a series of arrogant ‘statements’ with no opportunity for a conversation as they flush the Bible on national TV.”

Right Wing Leftovers - 12/13/13

FRC prays against the contraception mandate: "May the Court put the current and future administrations on notice that the Constitution requires government to accommodate the deeply held religious beliefs of all citizens, including those who run businesses."

Larry Taunton At FRC: US Must Choose Between Christianity And Tyranny

Larry Taunton, an author whose Fixed Point Foundation is devoted to advocating for the truth of Christianity in the public arena, spoke at the Family Research Council Wednesday on the topic of “Combating Secularism in the Public Square.” Having recently injured his foot in a stumble, he joked that he wished he had a better story, that he’d been “kicking around a few liberals.” 

Taunton’s FRC speech  recycled much of the language in an article he wrote last year mocking the “Reason Rally” in Washington, D.C. as the “Rally for Nothing in Particular.” It reiterated the main thrust of his book, The Grace Effect: societies do better when there are enough Christians around to bring grace to the culture, and societies are in danger when they no longer have Christianity at their center.

Citing “new atheists” such as Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins (whose books he called “sheer nonsense”), Taunton argued that there is “growing hostility toward Christianity” and an effort to “drive Christianity from western life and culture.” Like many speakers at Religious Right events, he argued that a big source of America’s problems is that Christians and the church are not outspoken enough.

Taunton argues that how people answer questions about God determines our view of mankind and our view of government, particularly whether government is meant to serve man or man to serve the state. He warned that “we live in a time when the state is deemed to be the answer to all things.” The notion that “all men are created equal,” he said, makes sense only in a Christian context. And he warned that “we cannot dismiss God from public life and retain human dignity, worth and meaning, because those things can only be given by God.” More explicitly, he said, “society cannot and will not stand in the absence of belief in God.”  Taunton says some secular societies, like those in Western Europe, are “still running off of their accumulated Christian capital. But beware. When the fumes in that tank are spent, tyranny cannot be far away.”

In a response to a question from FRC’s notoriously anti-gay Peter Sprigg, Taunton expressed a sort of grudging admiration for the “gay and lesbian lobby,” which he said has changed America’s cultural conversation even though it represents a “tiny percentage” of the population.  He said many young people who identify as homosexual see God as a “cosmic spoilsport” and the church as hostile.  Citing research he did for an Atlantic article on young atheists, he said one young lesbian viewed Christians not as a group but as a “gang.”  Taunton said that in reaching out to people, he does not believe in compromising the gospel, but he encourages Christians to consider whether they are “projecting grace” in the way they communicate.  Odd, then, that he praised the Family Research Council, whose approach to LGBT people could hardly be any less grace-projecting.

How To Make 'The Whole Homosexual Marriage Debate Go Away'

Anti-gay activists can’t be happy that polling data shows that a majority of Americans support marriage equality, and are also displeased with libertarian and conservative leaders who think it might be time for the government to get out of the marriage business altogether.

In a WorldNetDaily article about the debate on “privatizing marriage,” Peter Sprigg of the Family Research Council said that while heterosexual marriage should remain a government-sponsored institution, he is “fine with privatizing homosexual relationships” since gay people haven’t proven how same-sex unions “benefit society.” Jennifer Roback Morse of the National Organization for Marriage’s Ruth Institute agreed that removing a government role from marriage “capitulates” to the gay rights movement and harms children.

Herb Titus said the government should define marriage based on Leviticus and “screen out those people who were violating the rules the Bible laid down as to who could be married and who could not be married.”

But Matt Trewhella has a plan to end the debate over marriage rights once and for all.

Trewhella, the Religious Right activist who you may remember for his rant about how gays are “filthy people,” revealed that the only way to make “the whole homosexual marriage debate go away” is not through “privatization but the re-criminalization of sodomy.”

Jennifer Morse, president of the Ruth Institute, which supports traditional marriage, says privatizing marriage “doesn’t really resolve the gay marriage issue, it capitulates on the key point, which is what is the public purpose of marriage, and whether the state has any role in protecting the interests of children.”

“This is a rhetorical tactic for trying to make it go away. I don’t think it works.”

Peter Sprigg, senior fellow for policy studies at the Family Research Council, said marriage deserves a privileged place in the law because it brings benefits “that are important to the well-being of society as a whole and not just a couple.”



Sprigg, a leading defender of traditional marriage, sayid [sic] he’s “fine with privatizing homosexual relationships” but rejects privatizing true marriage because of its special status.

“Society gives benefits to marriage because marriage gives benefits to society. Therefore the burden of proof is on the advocates of alternatives to marriage to prove that their relationships benefit society. I think that’s a burden of proof that same-sex marriage cannot meet.”

Morse said the libertarian idea that two or more people can make up their own “marital” contract any way they wish collides with the needs of children. Crafting intimate arrangements without guidance from God, culture or the state “just doesn’t work when you have a child,” she said. “The modern world does not know quite what to do with these helpless creatures.



Herbert W. Titus, former dean of the Regent University School of Law and Government, agrees that state and federal laws, especially no-fault divorce, have fostered social chaos but says a return to marriage laws that conform to biblical norms is the solution, not privatization.

Marriage licenses serve a useful purpose, Titus said, because they determine “if you’re entitled to a marriage certificate” and “screen out those people who were violating the rules the Bible laid down as to who could be married and who could not be married.” He cited Leviticus 18, which forbids sexual relations between close relations, family members and individuals of the same sex.

But once the law allows same-sex marriage, Titus said, “then it’s very difficult to see that there are any … barriers to marriage,” and that opens the door to sodomy and polygamy.



Conservative Protestant minister Matt Trewhella, founder of Missionaries to the Preborn, is sometimes lumped in with the advocates of marriage privatization because he tells Christians not to get marriage licenses and refuses to marry couples who do.

Trewhella regards marriage licenses as a grant of authority to marry from the state. “The state cannot grant the right to marry. It is a God-given right.”

Despite that view, Trewhella wants the state to ban same-sex marriage.

“I think the whole idea of privatizing marriage is absurd because the state should uphold and affirm the law word and created order of God regarding marriage as revealed in Scripture.”

He believes the solution to same-sex marriage is not privatization but the re-criminalization of sodomy.

“That’s what makes the whole homosexual marriage debate go away,” he said.

AFA Wants Toni Morrison's 'Pornography' Censored From Common Core

Last month, PFAW Foundation reported on a school board in Colorado that was considering removing Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye from its high school curriculum after parents objected to the book’s frank depiction of racism and sexual violence in the Depression-era Midwest.

In a board meeting last week, the school board decided to continue allowing English teachers to teach the book but to require that students submit a parental permission slip before reading it.

Now, the book’s appearance in the Common Core curriculum’s list of possible high school English texts has drawn the wrath of One Million Moms, an arm of the American Family Association, which is issuing an “ultimatum” for the book to be removed from Common Core's materials.

In an interview with the Christian Post this week, One Million Moms director Monica Cole said Morrison’s work is “no different than pornography” and found the need to condemn a pedophile character’s “use of the Lord's name to justify his actions,” claiming that this character is actually "an extremely sneaky way to involve violence in the school system."

"This book is no different than pornography," Monica Cole, director of One Million Moms, an online advocacy arm of the American Family Association, told The Christian Post in a Monday interview. She then linked pornography to human trafficking, rape, sexual violence, and even sexual slavery.

The author reportedly said "she wanted the reader to feel as though they are a 'co-conspirator' with the rapist," so "she took pains to make sure she never portrayed the actions as wrong in order to show how everyone has their own problems." The book narrates cases of pedophilia, rape, and incest which the author described as "friendly," "innocent," and "tender."

Cole said she was "speechless," that this book would be on the recommended reading list, and she set an ultimatum. "The material that is sexually graphic, we don't agree with it and it needs to be pulled from the curriculum immediately," she stated firmly.

Cole also condemned the pedophile's use of the Lord's name to justify his actions – "I work only through the Lord. He sometimes uses me to help people," the character claims. The director of One Million Moms called this "an extremely sneaky way to involve violence in the school system."

The director asked why books like this one, as opposed to the classics, are recommended to children. She mentioned "millions of books to recommend" as opposed to this one.

Cole stressed that neither One Million Moms nor the American Family Association has yet taken a stand against Common Core in general, but when it comes to The Bluest Eye, she proved more definitive. "Nothing good will come of this," she proclaimed.

The Christian Post also asked Family Research Council senior fellow Peter Sprigg about the book. Sprigg agreed that The Bluest Eye should be censored from Common Core’s recommended reading list and fretted about what Common Core means for "community moral standards," but betrayed a slightly more nuanced understanding of the purpose of fiction:

Cases like this, Sprigg explained, inflame the debate over national education standards. While he emphasized that the Family Research Council has not yet taken a stand on the issue, he defended as legitimate the fear that Common Core "will not leave room for community standards to be applied – especially moral community standards."

While Cole argued that Morrison, the book's author, likely used the book to argue for moral relativism, Sprigg gave her the benefit of the doubt. He argued that Morrison might have just wanted the reader to feel empathy for a wrongdoer – not to condone actions like rape and pedophilia.

Morrison’s book has also come under criticism from Glenn Beck’s The Blaze, which warned, “The book — a past selection of Oprah’s Book Club — has graphic sex scenes and descriptions that are likely to make you blush.”

Right Wing Round-Up - 8/7/13

Sprigg: ENDA Is Legislating Immorality

The right-wing freak out over ENDA continues to build after the Senate HELP committee approved the anti-discrimination legislation with bipartisan support. Peter Sprigg of the Family Research Council appeared on The Janet Mefferd Show yesterday to stoke fears about the bill, arguing that it is an effort to legislate morality, but it’s not our morality, it’s not Christian morality, it’s the immorality of those who accept homosexual conduct.” Sprigg, who infamously called for gays and lesbians to be exported from the US, said ENDA represents a “direct assault on moral values.”

Right Wing Leftovers - 7/17/13

  • It is nice that Buster Wilson is encouraging people to pray for us so we will realize the need for "God’s great and grace-filled power to make things better for us as a people, a nation!"
  • It looks like "Molotov" Mitchell is still mad at Glenn Beck for calling his news program "For The Record," which was the name of Mitchell's video programs.
  • Oh look, it is another video of "Coach" Dave getting worked up and yelling at the camera.
  • Matt Barber says leaders of Fuller Theological Seminary will be held accountable by God for allowing a LGBT group to form on campus.
  • Shockingly, Peter Sprigg and Monica Cole are not supportive of a summer camp for transgender children.
  • Finally, the AFA is outraged over efforts to promote marriage equality in Mississippi because "homosexuals already have the same marriage rights that everyone has. Every person in America has the right to marry someone of the opposite sex. Mississippians should not be fooled by the deceitful tactics that these groups are using to induce pity for homosexuals who cannot be married in Mississippi,because they have chosen a homosexual lifestyle."

Right Wing Leftovers - 5/29/13

  • Glenn Beck and crew crack themselves up with a "Brokeback Boardwalk" segment about how President Obama and Gov. Chris Christie are madly in love.
  • Proud Washington, DC "outsider" Allen West, has moved to Washington, DC.
  • "Coach" Dave Daubenmire says that people shouldn't donate money to the Red Cross for disaster relief in Oklahoma, but instead donate to him.
  • Not surprisingly, Bryan Fischer is a big fan of E.W. Jackson.
  • Finally, Peter Sprigg is worried that now that the Boy Scouts are allowing gay scouts to serve, pretty soon they might let atheists join!

Tony Perkins, Who Called Gays Pawns of the Devil, Says He Is Against 'Demonizing' Gays

On yesterday’s edition of Washington Watch, Tony Perkins and Peter Sprigg of the Family Research Council hosted an entire program about a pamphlet from an association of LGBT Department of Justice employees, which the two dishonestly represented as an official government memorandum.

Unbelievably, Perkins wondered if he can come out “and declare that I’m straight and the fact that I’m proud that God made me this way,” and Sprigg said no “because that would be considered hostile.”

Later in the program while speaking to a caller, Perkins said that while GLAAD named him “the most dangerous man in America” he only “speaks from love” about gay people and that he “completely denounce[s] hateful rhetoric, calling people names and demonizing them.”

Of course, GLAAD has never named Perkins “the most dangerous man in America,” and Perkins has quite a record of “demonizing” gays …like the time he called them literal pawns of the Devil.

The Myth of American Christians as Persecuted Minority, part 256

The claim that American Christians are facing horrible persecution for their religious beliefs – and are on the verge of being rounded up and thrown into jail by tyrannical secularists – has been a staple of Religious Right groups’ rhetoric for decades. And as conservative evangelicals’ anti-gay views have lost popular support, they’ve doubled down on their claims that gay rights are incompatible with religious liberty. In recent years, conservative Catholics have joined in crying “religious persecution” in response to the advance of marriage equality for same-sex couples and the Obama administration’s requirement for insurance coverage of contraception.

On CNN’s Belief Blog, correspondent John Blake has given voice to these claims in a post titled “When Christians become a ‘hated minority.’” That headline hinted that this piece would be problematic. And that was confirmed with the opening sentence, which cites the Family Research Council’s Peter Sprigg, who goes on to say that anti-gay Christians are victims who are being forced into the “closet.”

Where to begin?

We could start with the problem of Peter Sprigg being a spokesperson for tolerance. In Blake’s story, Sprigg is quoted saying “Maybe we need to do a better job of showing that we are motivated by Christian love” and “Love is wanting the best for someone, and acting to bring that about.” It’s hard to square Sprigg’s assertion that he is motivated by the best interests of gay people, given that he:

  • has called for the criminalization of homosexual conduct both in the U.S. and abroad;
  • said he would like to “export” gays from the U.S. rather than support legislation to give same-sex couples equal treatment under immigration law;
  • dislikes the idea of a gay judge, because he says gays don’t make good role models;
  • opposes making children raised by a same-sex couple eligible for social security benefits if a parent’s spouse dies;
  • dismisses anti-bullying and safe-school programs as attempts to indoctrinate impressionable children
  • has suggested that schools should be allowed to fire openly gay teachers and coaches;
  • has cheered the kidnapping of a child by a mother who refused to abide by a court’s order to share custody with her former partner.

Sprigg says the “real goal of homosexual activists” is not protection from discrimination or marriage equality, but is “to create a society in which it is unacceptable for anyone, ever, anywhere to say that homosexual conduct is wrong, or that homosexual relationships are anything other than fully equal to heterosexual ones.” The CNN piece also cites Bryan Liften, a professor at Moody Bible Institute, saying Christians should be able to publicly say that God designed sex to take place within a marriage between a man and a woman.

Should be? If you haven’t noticed, plenty of Christians have been saying that loudly and proudly and with millions of dollars they have used to enshrine that belief into a majority of state constitutions. People like Sprigg and his boss Tony Perkins, Brian Brown from the National Organization for Marriage, and any number of conservative evangelicals and Roman Catholic bishops have pretty much an open invitation to say so on national television and before state legislative and congressional committees. Not to mention through their own radio and television networks and vast church networks. Or from the platform of the Republican convention.  Freedom of expression, including anti-equality expression, is alive and well.

The CNN post does include Christians with differing views on gay rights, and who acknowledge that simply claiming religious backing for one’s beliefs does not insulate those views from criticism in the public arena. Neither does disagreement equate to discrimination or persecution. Conservative Christians did not see it as a form of religious discrimination to enshrine their view of marriage into laws and state constitutions; but as public opinion shifts and more states make equality the law, they warn of dire threats to their freedom.

Among the Religious Right horror stories linked to in the CNN piece are complaints about pastor Louie Giglio’s withdrawal from President Obama’s second inaugural ceremony in the face of criticism about anti-gay remarks that surfaced online. Criticism of those remarks – even anger and disappointment among pro-equality Obama supporters over Giglio being given a place of honor at the inaugural – does not mean, as some pundits claimed, that people of faith are no longer welcome in the public square. Anyone who heard the prayers, music, and speeches at the inaugural would see that such claims are ludicrous.

It should be noted that Religious Right groups made similarly shrill claims that the addition of sexual orientation to federal hate crimes laws would result in preachers being thrown into jail for quoting scripture on homosexuality. And they claimed that allowing gay members of the armed forces to serve openly would destroy the military. Those claims have been proven to be not just wrong but ridiculous.

Baker quotes evangelical blogger Joe Carter (who used to work at Family Research Council), warning that young people will abandon anti-gay churches “for fear of being called haters.” What is far more likely is that many young Christians will leave anti-gay churches because they have gay friends and disagree with both the anti-gay theology and anti-equality policy positions of the Religious Right. And some may continue to hold traditional theological views on homosexuality while supporting legal equality as a civil matter. Polling shows that the generation gap on LGBT issues is huge within as well as outside the evangelical community – and that many young Christians are disillusioned with the anti-gay fixation of many church leaders.

The CNN piece finishes blogger Carter saying “he foresees a day when any church that preaches against homosexuality will be marginalized. Just as many churches now accept divorce, they will accept sexual practices once considered sinful.”

So let’s end with a consideration of divorce. The Catholic Church denies its religious blessing to divorced couples who get remarried without obtaining a religious annulment of their previous marriage. Many evangelical churches also frown on divorce. But all marriages – first, second, third, or fourth – are treated equally under civil law (good news for Newt Gingrich and Rush Limbaugh!).  Yet no one is arguing that the status quo on divorce amounts to an attack on religious freedom – or that Christians who oppose divorce have been marginalized or hounded out of the public square. Their religious beliefs about divorce coexist with public policy that reflects societal reality and the opinions of a religiously diverse America. 

Right Wing Round-Up - 3/22/13

Right Wing Leftovers - 3/19/13

  • Happy 10th anniversary of the start of the Iraq war.
  • Samuel Rodriguez's support for gun control measures will probably not sit well with his allies in the Religious Right.
  • Glenn Beck continues to blame video games for the massacre in Newtown.
  • The Right's argument that prohibiting gay marriage is not discriminatory is really getting old: "Those who choose not to enter into a male-female union—whether because of their sexual orientation, or from any other reason—are not being denied the 'right' to marry. They are, like those who choose celibacy, singleness, cohabitation, or polyamory, simply choosing not to marry—that is, choosing not to enter the type of relationship that is rationally defined as a 'marriage.'”
  • Janet Mefferd rips the GOP: "I've never seen such cowardice and apathy. All these politicians who've given up on the issue of marriage really, truly disgust me."
  • Finally, Liberty Counsel is making a feature film about religious liberty that is going to star Erik Estrada. We are at a loss for words.
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Peter Sprigg Posts Archive

Brian Tashman, Monday 08/25/2014, 1:15pm
Following last year’s smashing success of an ex-gay pride event, ex-gay activists are organizing another “Ex-Gay Awareness Month” summit featuring Alan Keyes, Sandy Rios, Matt Barber and Peter Sprigg, along with real-life ex-gays Greg Quinlan and Christopher Doyle. You can now receive a special early bird rate for the Washington D.C. event, which will disclose its location upon registration [PDF] .   Agenda – Friday, October 3, 2014 9:00am – 10:00am – Pre-Event Get Together and Lobbying Education Training, Greg Quinlan, President of Equality And... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Monday 08/18/2014, 5:34pm
Kyler Geoffroy @ Towleroad: A Look At How the Evangelical Christian Response to Gay Rights Has Changed Over the Years. Warren Throckmorton: Michael Peroutka says Institute on the Constitution led him to the League of the South. Jeremy Hooper: 'Ex-gay' org. creates homosexuality evacuation plan. Literally. There's a map. David Edwards @ Raw Story: Ohio anti-abortion leader: Ban public nudity, breastfeeding because boobs promote Gay Pride. Andrew Kaczynski @ BuzzFeed: GOP Congressman: If Impeachment Happens, "President Has Chosen To Bring That Upon Himself.... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Thursday 06/19/2014, 12:20pm
Family Research Council senior fellow Peter Sprigg, who once advocated for the deportation of gay people from the U.S. to stop them from destroying society, fielded a call on the “Washington Watch” radio program yesterday from a listener named Janet, who recounted a heart wrenching story of her daughter coming out as gay. Janet explained to Sprigg how she still supports her daughter and is sustained by her faith in Jesus Christ. I want you to understand that I am a Christian, I do believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, but I do have a quandary. I have a daughter who has... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Monday 06/16/2014, 4:15pm
President Obama has reportedly decided to sign an executive order to bar federal government contractors from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. The news did not sit well with Peter Sprigg of the Family Research Council. In a statement on behalf of the FRC today, Sprigg warns that the executive order will undermine “religious and constitutional liberties” and lead to a flood of lawsuits. This political gesture reflects the president's repeated disregard for the legislative process. Congress has not passed the Employment Non-Discrimination... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Wednesday 05/28/2014, 3:00pm
Incensed by the release of a postage stamp honoring Harvey Milk, the American Family Association is urging its members not only to avoid purchasing the stamp…but to refuse to accept or open any letter or package postmarked with one. 1. Refuse to accept the Harvey Milk stamp if offered by your local post office. Instead, ask for a stamp of the United States flag. 2. Refuse to accept mail at your home or business if it is postmarked with the Harvey Milk stamp. Simply write 'Return to Sender" on the envelope and tell your postman you won't accept it. In his daily email... MORE >
Peter Montgomery, Thursday 05/08/2014, 4:45pm
Fox News pundit Todd Starnes joins the parade of right-wing outrage about the Home & Garden Television Network pulling the plug on a show featuring David and Jason Benham after Right Wing Watch reported on David’s anti-gay activism.  Starnes posted a story about HGTV’s decision, then promoted it with a tweet that said, Won't be long before the LGBT activists demand Christians be deported... http://t.co/chlEEe0ovx — toddstarnes (@toddstarnes) May 8, 2014 Hmm, you mean the way Family Research Council spokesman Peter Sprigg said in 2008 that he would like to... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Wednesday 01/29/2014, 1:20pm
Surprising no one, the Family Research Council is attempting to spin a new Harvard study which found that “children raised in communities with high percentages of single mothers are significantly less likely to experience absolute and relative mobility” as a reason to oppose marriage equality. FRC president Tony Perkins and senior fellow Peter Sprigg addressed the Harvard findings on Monday’s edition of Washington Watch during a discussion of a proposed anti-gay amendment in Indiana. After Sprigg noted that “if a child grows up in a community with married... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Tuesday 01/28/2014, 1:55pm
American Family Association president Tim Wildmon yesterday joined other anti-gay pundits in criticizing the Grammy Awards for a performance that included a wedding service for both same-sex and opposite-sex couples, which Wildmon said shows that liberals are “force feeding the American public” with homosexuality. “Hollywood, the entertainment industry and the political left just can’t get enough ‘gay,’” Wildmon said. He also attacked President Obama for inviting openly gay NBA player Jason Collins to the State of the Union address: “President... MORE >