Tony Perkins

If Ensign Votes To Repeal DADT, Expect the Right To Suddenly Care About His Infidelity

As we know, there is one sin that any Republican member of Congress can commit for which they will never be forgiven by the Religious Right, and that is not supporting their anti-gay agenda. 

Whereas a Republican like Sen. David Vitter could admit to involvement with prostitutes and still receive the support of Religious Right groups when he sought re-election, other Republicans like Rep. Joseph Cao found out the hard way that if you don't toe the anti-gay line, you will find yourself on the receiving end of Religious Right attack ads.

Which brings us to Sen. John Ensign, the Republican Senator from Nevada who has been embroiled in a controversy for over a year now stemming from an extra-marital affair he with a staffer and a subsequent effort to keep it quiet.

Since the story broke, the Religious Right has had next to nothing to say about Ensign's infidelity, with the small exception of FRC's Tony Perkins saying it was "disappointing." But I suspect that that is about to change if this report from Greg Sargent turns out to be true:

Another step forward on Don't Ask Don't Tell, ladies and gents.

In a letter to constituents who have inquired about his position on DADT, GOP Senator John Ensign strongly suggests he is leaning towards supporting repeal of the policy, another sign that there may be enough tacit GOP support in the Senate for repeal to get it past a GOP filibuster.

"It is my firm belief that Americans, regardless of their sexual orientation, should be able to fight and risk their lives in defense of this great nation," Ensign writes in the letter, which I've obtained. "As a nation currently engaged in combat in Afghanistan and Iraq, the focus of all decisions affecting military readiness, recruiting and retention, and unit cohesion should be to maximize the success of ongoing operations."

In the letter, Ensign adds the caveat that he's still awaiting a Pentagon report, due out on December 1st, that will gauge the impact of repealing the policy. Asked for comment, Ensign spokesperson Jennifer Cooper reiterated this point: "Senator Ensign is waiting on the report from the Pentagon and the testimony of the military chiefs to see if any changes to this policy can or should be done in a way so as not to harm the readiness or war fighting capabilities of our troops."

Ensign has already stated that he intends to run for re-election in 2012, so don't be surprised if you suddenly start hearing the Religious Right attack him for his immorality and infidelity - and not because he had an affair and tried to cover it up (which, to date, they haven't cared about at all) but because he committed the even bigger sin of supporting equality.

Perkins: If DADT Is Repealed, The Draft Will Be Reinstated

You have to hand it to Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, as he just keeps trying out new reasons as to why Don't Ask, Don't Tell should not be repealed, with his latest being that if it is, so many current soldiers will leave that the military will be forced to re-institute the draft:

Barack Obama is opposed to the draft as a matter of principle, to be sure. So are most politicians in both parties. But the president’s drive to repeal the ban on open homosexuality in the military could have this unintended consequence: It could bring back the draft.

...

The military is not a red state/blue state institution. It unifies our country. It draws its dedicated members from all regions. Still, it is no secret that the military is a socially conservative institution. It recruits heavily from rural areas in the South, the Midwest, and the Inter-Mountain states.

In our larger cities, black and Hispanic recruits are encouraged to consider the military — which has historically been a great ladder of achievement for racial and ethnic minorities.

These are the very areas and groups who have been most resistant to the demands of the homosexual lobby. These are the very regions and groups who have rallied to our side whenever we put a defense of marriage initiative on the ballot

If these regions and groups do not enlist in our all-volunteer force, President Obama will be driven to the place he does not want to go: the military draft.

Of course, during FRC's own anti-DADT repeal webcast earlier this year Sergeant First Class Benjamin Ratcliff told Perkins point blank that soldiers who loved their country would continue to serve even if DADT was repealed:

I would tell them to serve anyway. If all men of courage and men that had a moral compass were to leave the military, then we wouldn’t have a military. There’d be nobody left to serve and protect. So I don’t really – I would serve regardless of what comes out of Washington. Even though I disagree with it strongly, I love my country more. So I would understand if parents had concerns. I was recruited for several years and I sat and listened to parents’ concerns, talked with them. They asked me a lot of questions about the wars and a lot about the liberal agenda. But I would tell them, serve anyway, absolutely.

But I guess that tends to undermine Perkins' anti-gay agenda, so he decided to just ignore it when penning this op-ed.

With Norquist Grilling RNC Candidates, Will the Social Agenda Be Ignored?

For the last few days we have been noting the battle between the Religious Right and the gay conservative group GOProud set off by the latter's effort to get the Republican Party to ignore the social issues that are at the heard of the former's entire agenda.

This question is obviously going to be a significant one as the GOP prepares to take control of the House and sets out its agenda heading into 2012 ... which makes this announcement rather interesting:

Conservative activist Grover Norquist will quiz candidates running for Republican National Committee chairman at a debate to be held just two weeks before elections, he told Hotline On Call Wednesday.

Norquist, who runs Americans for Tax Reform, will moderate the Jan. 3 debate at the National Press Club. It's an effort, he says, to take the race for chairman beyond the 168 members of the national committee and to bolster transparency.

As you may recall, Norquist was savaged by Religious Right leaders for joining GOProud's advisory council, with Tony Perkins slamming him for selling out the conservative movement.

So I wonder how the Religious Right feels about the next RNC chair being vetted by someone like Norquist who clearly does not care about their social issues agenda and, presumably, has no interest in including such questions in the debate process.

More Good News For Huckabee: James Robison Is Back In Business

For the last several months we've been noting the gradual re-emergence of James Robison, who was an influential leader back at the founding of the Religious Right but who eventually sort of fell off the radar. 

But in the last year or so, he has suddenly become more and more involved in Religious Right activism and I guess nothing better demonstrates that fact like this article, via AU, reporting that a few months back Robison convened a large gathering of leaders to plot how to defeat President Obama in 2012:

Conservative Christian leaders from across the nation met two months ago near the Dallas airport to strategize about replacing President Barack Obama with someone who matches their agenda – a move that paralleled an effort by Christian leaders in 1979 to defeat then President Jimmy Carter.

About 40 conservative Christian leaders gathered in Dallas on Sept. 8-9 to begin laying the groundwork for a religious-political movement similar to the one that helped Ronald Reagan oust the Baptist Sunday school teacher from the Oval Office. Convened by evangelist James Robison – a key figure in the religious effort 30 years ago to promote Reagan's candidacy – the list of attendees included many of the most prominent Christian evangelists and ministers, including several Southern Baptist leaders.

Southern Baptist leaders attending the meeting included: Richard Land (president of the SBC's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission); Richard Lee (pastor and the editor of The American Patriot's Bible); John Meador (pastor of First Baptist Church of Euless, Texas); and Paige Patterson (president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary).

Others at the meeting included: Tony Evans (a megachurch pastor in Texas); Father Joseph Fessio (founder and editor of Ignatius Press); Craig Groeschel (pastor of LifeChurch.tv); Miles McPherson (a megachurch pastor in California who spoke at the 2008 Republican National Convention); Johnnie Moore (a vice president at Liberty University who defended the school's decisions to have Glenn Beck and Newt Gingrich as recent speakers); Tom Mullins (a megachurch pastor in Florida); Doug Napier (legal counsel at the Alliance Defense Fund); Dino Rizzo (a megachurch pastor in Louisiana); Dave Roever (an evangelist who prayed at Glenn Beck's "Restoring Honor" rally); Mark Rutland (president of Oral Roberts University); David Stone (a megachurch pastor in Kentucky); and Stu Weber (a megachurch pastor in Oregon).

Several conservative Christian leaders highly active in politics attended the meeting, including: Stephen Broden (a pastor and Republican politician in Texas); Keith Butler (a pastor and Republican politician in Michigan); Maggie Gallagher (a conservative columnist who received tens of thousands of dollars for her work from the George W. Bush administration); Jim Garlow (chairman of Newt Gingrich's organization, Renewing American Leadership); Harry Jackson (pastor of Hope Christian Church in Washington, D.C.); Gene Mills (executive director of the Louisiana Family Forum); and Tony Perkins (president of the Family Research Council).

Some attendees have been guests on Glenn Beck's program on Fox News (including Broden, Garlow, Lee, McPherson, Mullins, Robison, Roever and Stone), and several were involved with his "Restoring Honor" rally (including Jackson, Land, Lee, Gallagher, Garlow and Roever).

Three of the attendees at the meeting have been under investigation since 2007 by Republican U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley, a Baptist from Iowa, for perhaps violating IRS tax-exempt rules. Those at the meeting included televangelists Kenneth Copeland, Creflo Dollar and Joyce Meyer.

Other individuals helped plan the September meeting but were unable to attend. They included: Jerry Falwell Jr. (president of Liberty University); Jack Graham (a former president of the Southern Baptist Convention); O.S. Hawkins (head of the SBC's Guidestone Financial Resources); Jack Hayford (president of Foursquare International); and author Ravi Zacharias.

I should point out, also, that Robison's return can only be good news for Mike Huckabee, as Robison was his mentor back in the 1970s, leading Huckabee to drop out of seminary so he could go to work for Robison as his director of communications.

If Robison and crew are looking to replace Obama "with someone who matches their agenda," Huckabee seems like a perfect fit.

The Boys on the Bus, Religious Right Style

The Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins hosted a conference call for FRC activists to hear from Rep. Louie Gohmert of Texas. Perkins, who recently said gay teens commit suicide because they know they’re abnormal, is in Iowa, where he has joined the FRC-National Organization for Marriage bus tour that is targeting state Supreme Court judges who ruled last year favor of marriage equality. While it was a unanimous decision, Religious Right groups are urging voters to reject the three justices who are up for retention this year.  Gohmert spent some time with the Iowa bus earlier this week. Gohmert and Perkins mocked the pro-equality judges, saying they hadn’t studied law or biology if they thought there was no difference between a man and a woman and a man and a man.

Most of today’s call focused on the elections and on how right-wing activists can make sure the crop of new Republican lawmakers doesn’t abandon their principles when they get to Washington. Gohmert was actually harder on the GOP than Perkins, complaining about the Party’s leadership, saying they didn’t understand that they had made mistakes by pushing Republicans into supporting the financial bailout and failing to fight harder against the hate crimes act, which, said Gohmert, “pushed us so far down toward the dustbin of history.” He sighed when asked about the House Republicans’ much-ballyhooed “Pledge to America,” saying that while it was beautifully written, it avoided social issues and failed to include real commitments to move legislation and deadlines for achieving progress.
 
Gohmert insisted that Republicans “can’t compromise on principle” and warned against getting “weak-kneed.” He said the principles that made the country great are faith in God, devotion to the traditional family,  and a hard work ethic. He worried that if Republicans win a majority and don’t deliver, Tea Party activists may just decide to abandon the GOP and start a third party, which would help the Democrats take back control. 
 
Perkins bragged that FRC Action is expanding its reach and said its Faith, Family & Freedom fund was active in “five or six” states with hot congressional and senate races. He said he believes that there’s an “awakening” among Americans who understand that they have a responsibility to determine the future of their country – and that if they populate the GOP with enough good people they can reform the party.
 
Gohmert, who recently said that God has ordained Christians to run the country, sounded a similar theme on today’s call. He said God gives the sword to government to punish evil, and urged “true Romans 13-believing Christians” to understand that America’s founders set things up so that the people are the government. “We are given the sword in this country.” He told them that God had blessed American Christians and that they’re expected to use the sword of government and hire (elect) servants (public officials) “to do what we tell them.”

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Here is the text [PDF] of the remarks Newt Gingrich delivered at Liberty University today. It is pretty much what we have come to expect from him.
  • Speaking of ridiculous nonsense, Dinesh D'Souza was on "Wallbuilders Live" today discussing "The Roots of Obama's Rage."
  • Ken Cuccinelli will be joining Brent Bozell, Grover Norquist, Tony Perkins and others for an election night celebration hosted by Richard Viguerie and Morton Blackwell.
  • Day Gardner and the National Pro-Life Union endorse Randall Terry acolyte Missy Smith.
  • Also, support for reproductive choice is proof that the "communist philosophy is still alive today."
  • Oklahoma needs to pass the anti-Sharia initiative because there is a "huge pocket of terrorist organizations operating out of Oklahoma" right now! 
  • Finally, CBN's David Brody has a message for Christians: "Start marching to a tea party near you. There's a seat waiting."  Just keep that in mind next time CNN let's him pose as a "journalist."

Perkins: Gay Teens Are Suicidal Because They Know They Are "Abnormal"

The Family Research Council's Tony Perkins tells NPR that gay teens know they are "abnormal," which makes them suicidal:  

Tony Perkins, president of the evangelical Family Research Council, says gay activists are exploiting the concern over bullying — and twisting the facts.

"There's no correlation between inacceptance of homosexuality and depression and suicide," he says.

Rather, Perkins says, there is another factor that leads kids to kill themselves.

"These young people who identify as gay or lesbian, we know from the social science that they have a higher propensity to depression or suicide because of that internal conflict."

Homosexuality is "abnormal," he says, and kids know it, which leads them to despair. That's why he wants to confront gay activism in public schools. For example, his group supports the Day of Truth, when Christian high schoolers make their case that homosexuality is a sin.

Right Wing Round-Up

  • CBN's David Brody defends Christine O'Donnell because she is just like Antonin Scalia.
  • And, of course, Bryan Fischer is defending her as well.
  • This OneNewsNow article featuring Peter LaBarbera actually contains a link that carries this message: "Caution: The previous link goes to a pro-homosexual website."
  • Watch the Right freak out now that George Soros has donated a million dollars to Media Matters.
  • Tony Perkins is very upset that people didn't like his piece in the Washington Post.
  • Speaking of FRC, Virginia Thomas is supposed to join them tonight fora webcast called "The Taxman Cometh: Stopping the Obama Tax Hikes."
  • Finally, Mike Hucakbee has turned his hypocritical outrage over Jack Conway's ad into a robocall and radio ad for Rand Paul:

FRC, NOM, Santorum Team Up To Target Iowa Judges

The Family Research Council and National Organization for Marriage today announced the launch of a "Judge Bus Tour" that will travel across Iowa as part of the campaign to remove three Supreme Court Justices: 

Family Research Council Action and the National Organization for Marriage today announced the "Judge Bus Tour" that next week will make 20 stops, travel over 1,300 miles, and pass through 45 of Iowa's 99 counties.

Former Senator Rick Santorum, U.S. Rep. Steve King (R-IA), Family Research Council Action President Tony Perkins, National Organization for Marriage President Brian Brown and other state and national leaders will urge Iowans to restore the constitution by voting "no retention" on activist judges who last year forced same-sex "marriage" on the state. The tour will kick off on Monday, October 25 at the state capitol and conclude at a Thursday evening rally in front of the Iowa Supreme Court building.

Family Research Council Action President Tony Perkins made the following comments:

"The Iowa Supreme Court ruled as irrelevant millennia of tradition and the views of a large majority of Iowans that marriage is and always should be between one man and one woman. This is not the court's role. The legislature makes the law. The governor executes the law. The job of the courts is to apply, not reinterpret, the law.

"If the Iowa Supreme Court will do this to marriage, every one of our freedoms, including gun rights and private property, is in danger of being undermined by activist judges who are unelected officials. Most Americans believe that government is out-of-control. Now is the time to take a stand against the radical judicial activism of the Iowa Supreme Court.

"On Election Day, we believe Iowans will vote to restore the constitution by voting 'NO' on activist judges Marsha K. Ternus, Michael J. Streit, and David L. Baker," concluded Perkins.

Parshall: Gay Rights Are Not Real Rights Because The Movement Started "In a Riot Outside of Gay Bar in New York"

Over the weekend, Craig Parshall, Jim Garlow, and Tony Perkins appeared on The John Ankerberg Show to make their collective case against marriage equality.  Most of the discussion involved things we have heard a thousand times before, but there was one interesting segment in which Parshall claimed that gay marriage proponents are counting on activist judges to disregard the law and ignore the fact that gays are not a minority and that gay rights are in no way "fundamental rights," while Perkins claims that Judge Vaughan Walker is gay and therefore biased:

Parshall: Let's take Judge Walker as an example. He accepted the argument that every opposition to homosexual on moral or religious grounds is based on fear. He accepted the preposterous testimony of expert witnesses, political scientists as a matter of fact, who said that homosexuals in America are discriminated against because they are politically powerless.

Now anyone who spends time in Washington DC knows that's absurd. They have a president right now sitting in the office, Barack Obama, who's elected in part by the gay rights lobby who he courted. They have passed hate crimes law, top of their agenda, got it passed, House, Senate, got it signed into law by the President. Other laws are presently pending, initiated by gay rights people. In fact, one of the economists in this very case who was testifying for the proponents of same-sex marriage said on average, the average homosexual couple is much more economically affluent and powerful than the comparable heterosexual couple.

Does this sound like an insular minority that's discriminated against because they're politically powerless? That suggestion is absolutely patently absurd.

Ankerberg: What about the thing where he says this is a fundamental right, that it's an equal right and you can't deny it?

Parshall: Well here's a fundamental right: a fundamental right has been defined, the formula by the Supreme Court in repeated cases has said a fundamental right is a right that is deeply rooted in the history, tradition, and practices of a nation. Now the gay rights movement started around 1969 in a riot outside of gay bar in New York. How could we possibly say it's deeply rooted in the history of America compared to hundreds of years, thousands of years actually, of Western civilization honoring one man, one woman as the definition of marriage?

Perkins: And I'd also point out, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, that Judge Walker is one of two homosexuals that sit on the federal bench. So the idea that his worldview played a part in this decision is clear when he totally dismisses all of the social science put forth by the proponents of Prop 8 and just embraces. without critical review, what I could call propaganda. 

Right Wing Round-Up

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Tomorrow a group of clergy from across Iowa will call on Bob Vander Plaats and his organization, Iowa For Freedom, to "denounce hate-filled comments made by their funder, the American Family Association."
  • Kansas Democrats continue to try to make an issue of Sam Brownback's ties to Lou Engle.
  • For some reason, the Washington Post decided that Tony Perkins deserved space to spread his  views that gays are "abnormal."
  • The man who ran Roy Moore’s gubernatorial campaign is the new chairman of Conservative Christians of Alabama.
  • I am glad that Janet Porter is back to writing columns for WorldNetDaily and saying things like "the Obama mob wasn't cheering when the Berlin wall came down – they were actually rooting for communism!"
  • Finally, the quote of the day from Bryan Fischer, reacting reasonably to the news that Campbell's has introduced a line of halal-certified soups: "Sharia law is no longer creeping up on us. It’s bearing down on us at full gallop. It’s time for Christian civilization to grab the reins of this runaway horse and stop it dead in its tracks."

Will FRC Take Over The "Day of Truth"?

Earlier this week, CNN's Dan Gilgoff reported that Exodus International was shutting down it annual "Day of Truth":

A national Christian organization will stop sponsoring an annual event that encourages school students to "counter the promotion of homosexual behavior" because the event has become too divisive and confrontational, the group's president told CNN on Wednesday.

"All the recent attention to bullying helped us realize that we need to equip kids to live out biblical tolerance and grace while treating their neighbors as they'd like to be treated, whether they agree with them or not," said Alan Chambers, President of Exodus International, the group that sponsored the event this year.

Called the Day of Truth, the annual April event has been pushed by influential conservative Christian groups as a way to counter to the annual Day of Silence, an event promoted by gay rights advocates to highlight threats against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students.

In was just last year that Exodus took over running the Day of Truth from the creators at the Alliance Defense Fund, so it'll be interesting to see if ADF will be willing to retake control over the effort.

If they do, they can probably expect the support of Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, who tells Gilgoff that he is eager to see this sort of effort continue:

We stand ready to work with all pro-family groups to ensure that students continue to hear an alternative to the ideological indoctrination in support of the homosexual movement which has become all too prevalent in our public schools.

As we have repeatedly stated, we unequivocally condemn verbal or physical harassment or violence directed at any person, particularly a child, because of sexuality, religious beliefs, or for any other reason. There is not a shred of evidence to suggest any connection between those kinds of acts and the loving witness of Christian believers or the reasoned dialogue of pro-family activists.

We will never allow the slanders of activist groups that promote homosexual behavior to deter us from speaking the truth in love, and that includes the message that the choice to engage in homosexual conduct is a destructive one and that change is possible for those who experience same-sex attractions.

If FRC refuses to stop "speaking the truth in love" and wants to make sure that students continue to hear the Day of Truth's message, it only makes sense for FRC to take over the organizing of this annual event, does it not?

Obama Speaks About His Faith, Gets Accued of Being An Ignorant, Lying "Limousine Marxist Hypocrite"

You have to wonder why President Obama even bothers to talk about his Christian faith because nothing he says will ever be good enough for the "real" Christians in the Religious Right.

Earlier this week, Obama was asked about his faith and responded:

"I came to my Christian faith later in life, and it was because the precepts of Jesus Christ spoke to me in terms of the kind of life that I would want to lead," Obama said. "Being my brothers' and sisters' keeper. Treating others as they would treat me. And I think also understanding that, you know, that Jesus Christ dying for my sins spoke to the humility that we all have to have as human beings."

But of course, that just opens him up to attacks from the likes of Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council:

The man we know as President may be a Christian by choice--but he's far better known as the leader of a movement about "choice." And while his salvation may be deeply private, his agenda to advance abortion has been anything but. He told the crowd in New Mexico that his "public service" is an "effort to express his Christian faith." If so, then he has a vastly different understanding of biblical truth than I do. Funneling billions of American dollars to the killers of innocent unborn life--life created by God and in His image--is not an "expression" of the Christian faith, or most other faiths for that matter. It's a horrifying government-funded massacre.

And Bryan Fischer, who attacked him for being totally ignorant:

According to Obama, his understanding of the story of Cain and Abel is 180 degrees out from reality, and his understanding of the Golden Rule is that he gets to be as mean to others as he thinks they are to him ... the phrase “brother’s keeper” was not found on the lips of Jesus but on the lips of a murderer who was trying to dodge a felony charge from God himself. In other words, the phrase “brother’s keeper” meant the exact opposite of what the president thinks it means.

Then The One compounded his theological error by turning the Golden Rule on its head, and verbalizing a version that gives him permission to be as malicious and cruel as he perceives his political opponents to be, which could explain a lot.

...

Obama also exposed his anti-Christian mindset when he said, regarding other people, that it was his task “to help them find their own grace.” This “all roads lead to heaven” nonsense is about as far from the “precepts of Jesus Christ” as you can get. For Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me (John 14:6).”

Of course, the president has the right to hold and promote a view of salvation that is different than the view of Christ. What he is not entitled to do is to call himself a Christian while doing it.

And finally from Gary Cass of the Christian Anti-Defamation Commission, who used it as an excuse to attack Obama as a "typical, limousine Marxist hypocrite":

What Obama really means by being his "brother's keeper" is what he always means: the theft and redistribution of your money through the coercive powers of the government. You'll have a very difficult time justifying that on biblical grounds. Even Marx admitted that the Bible did not teach collectivism. But, Obama either doesn't care or seem bound by the need to be consistent.

If you read other accounts of Obama's conversion it sounds very much like he choose to be a Christian because, with a selective reading of a few biblical texts, he could justify to his Marxist / Socialist / Jeremiah Wright / Black Liberation political ideology. Obama has created Christ in his own image with a communist beret. No wonder he finds Christ appealing.

But, Obama is a typical, limousine Marxist hypocrite. Although he makes millions of dollars every year, his concern for his real biological family is completely lacking. Otherwise, his aunt would not have been living on government assistance in government subsidized housing.

Why The Religious Right Never Talks About Divorce

Via Al Mohler we get this fascinating study by Mark A. Smith of the University of Washington in "Political Science Quarterly" entitled "Religion, Divorce, and the Missing Culture War in America" [PDF].

In it, Smith examines why Religious Right groups who spend all of their time talking about family values and the sanctity of marriage seem to give only lip-service, at best, to fighting divorce, despite the fact that it is repeatedly mentioned in the Bible. The Right may mentione it, generally when bemoaning the deteriorating culture, but they invest little to no effort in actually trying to change the laws to make it more difficult to obtain a divorce.

Smith notes that neither Jerry Falwell with his Moral Majority nor Pat Robertson with his Christian Coalition paid much attention to the issue; a trend which continues today with the Family Research Council: 

The FRC regularly sends email alerts to its members and supporters in an attempt to inform, persuade, and reinforce their attitudes and beliefs about matters of interest to the group. In 2006 and 2007, the FRC dispatched hundreds of these, most of which contained three paragraph-length items. Surprisingly for an organization that structures its activities around marriage and the family, only 8 of the 1,366 items centered on divorce. In the context of its total volume of communication with members and supporters, the FRC rarely broached the topic of divorce. The organization has stated that “we will not relent in our insistence to reform divorce laws,” but that abstract support has
not been matched by a sustained commitment to spending time or resources on the issue.

Perhaps the FRCʼs emails do not accurately reflect its priorities, meaning that analyzing a different facet of the groupʼs activities would yield a different answer. Accordingly, it will be useful to examine the messages the FRC expresses when it broadcasts its views through the mass media. As part of a larger strategy to influence both the mass public and political leaders, the FRCʼs staff regularly write editorials and attempt to publish them in leading news outlets. During 2006 and 2007, the staff succeeded in placing editorials on topics falling within the organizationʼs mission, including abstinence programs in schools, gay rights and hate crimes, abortion laws in the states, and judicial activism regarding online pornography. Yet FRC staff also published editorials that criticized wasteful government spending, warned against universal health care, and challenged the science behind global warming. Certainly no one could deny that government spending, health care, and global warming are important subjects for American citizens and political leaders to consider. For an organization whose self-definition holds that it “champions marriage and the family,” however,
these issues are considerably removed from its core mission.

The FRC has stated that constraints of budget, time, and staff prevent it from engaging questions surrounding same-sex marriage and heterosexual divorce at the same time, but it managed to allocate its scarce resources to addressing many other issues of current interest. Even if one could justify on practical or biblical grounds prioritizing gay marriage over divorce, such a view could hardly justify pushing divorce all the way to the bottom of the pecking order, below issues with only a tenuous connection to marriage and the family. Of course, a comprehensive search of all of the FRCʼs communications with members, the media, and government officials from 1983 to the present would probably uncover sporadic advocacy for changing public policy regarding divorce. Such a finding would not undermine the conclusion drawn here, namely that the subject occupies a low spot on the groupʼs priority list. Indeed, in the statement from its Web site quoted above, the FRC conceded that it spends little time on divorce.

Smith notes that FRC's lack of focus on divorce is especially odd given that FRC President Tony Perkins authored the nationʼs first covenant marriage bill back when he was a state legislator in Louisiana. 

But Smith also notes that there is very little chance that FRC or any other Religious Right group is going to "move beyond just saying that they endorse divorce reform and actually turn that abstract support into concrete action" because Americans so widely accept divorce to such an extent that even a significant portion of the Religious Right's base would oppose such efforts:

Needless to say, it is not a winning strategy for mobilization to tell your potential constituents that they have committed immoral acts that you are attempting to restrict through governmental regulations. Without an organized and vocal constituency making positions on divorce a litmus test for political support, it is difficult to imagine how the issue could join the ongoing culture war.

Right Wing Round-Up

2012 Candidates Weekly Update 9/21/10

Your update on the potential 2012 Presidential candidates for 9/14-9/21:

Mitch Daniels

2012: Newt Gingrich says Daniels should run for President (Courier & Press, 9/21).

Economy: Attends Chamber of Commerce event in Indianapolis (WIBC, 9/20).

PAC: Leadership PAC runs ads encouraging IN voters to support Republicans (Politico, 9/19).

Newt Gingrich

Religious Right: Demands ban on Sharia Law’s use in US Courts (TPM, 9/18).

Health Care: Calls for HHS Sec. Kathleen Sebelius’ resignation, compares her service to “Soviet tyranny” (Politico, 9/18).

GOP: Headlines fundraiser for the Minnesota GOP (Star Tribune, 9/17).

Obama: Gingrich attacked by critics for pushing over the top anti-Obama rhetoric (NY Daily News, 9/20).

Mike Huckabee

Obama: Criticizes President’s treatment of Christians (Newsmax, 9/17).

GOP: “Thrilled” about the defeat of “establishment” candidate in primaries (Huffington Post, 9/20).

2010: Expects a Republican wave in home state of Arkansas (Arkansas Democrat Gazette, 9/20).

Sarah Palin

Iowa: Speaks at Iowa’s Ronald Reagan Dinner, tells Fox News she may “give it a shot” to Presidential run (NY Daily News, 9/18).

2012: Wins straw poll of presidential prospects at RightNation convention (Chicago Sun-Times, 9/20).

2010: Tweets to Delaware’s Christine O’Donnell with a warning against “appeasing nat'l media” that’s “seeking ur destruction” (The Hill, 9/19).

Religious Right: FRC head Tony Perkins suggests that Palin is a “cheerleader” rather than a presidential candidate (Politico, 9/18).

Media: Claims that journalists disrespect fallen troops when they “tell lies” about her (Des Moines Register, 9/17).

Poll: Rasmussen survey says slight majority of Americans identify more with Palin’s views than Obama’s (Rasmussen Reports, 9/20).

Tim Pawlenty

2010: Fundraising for GOP gubernatorial nominee Scott Walker in Wisconsin (AP, 9/20).

Economy: WSJ profiles Governors like Pawlenty and others who visited China (WSJ, 9/20).

Mike Pence

Religious Right: Indiana Congressman wins a plurality of votes at Values Voter Summit’s 2012 straw poll (MSNBC, 9/18).

2012: Speaks to conservative Hillsdale College about the Presidency (EducationNews, 9/21).

2010: Defends Christine O’Donnell in Delaware from attacks (CNN, 9/20).

Mitt Romney

New Hampshire: Romney’s Leadership PAC endorses and donates to victors of GOP primaries (Politics Daily, 9/18).

Religious Right: Lashes out at Obama’s economic and social policies, “counterfeit” values at Values Voter Summit (Religion Dispatches, 9/20).

Poll: Leads 2012 pack with 22% support from Republicans (Public Policy Polling, 9/12).

2010: Going to Florida to stump for Gov hopeful Rick Scott (Daily Sun, 9/20).

Rick Santorum

South Carolina: Tests message in early primary state (Daily Caller, 9/16).

Religious Right: Says that families don’t exist in poor neighborhoods (CBS News, 9/17).

Sen. Cornyn To Receive Award From Log Cabin Republicans

Last week we noted that FRC's Tony Perkins had written a letter to Sen. John Cornyn asking him to withdraw from an upcoming fundraising event for the Log Cabin Republicans. 

Perkins said he could understand going to a LCR event in order to have a debate, but never "to a fundraiser to help them raise money to elect candidates who undermine everything we stand for."  But Cornyn is standing by his decision, saying while he doesn't share the group's views on gay issues, he does shares their views on economic issues and it is his job is to work with any group that is willing to play a role in defeating Democrats.

The Religious Right wasn't buying that explanation ... and I assume they will be even more displeased with Cornyn once they realize that, in addition to rasising money for LCR, he will also be receiving an award from them

Log Cabin Republicans will present the Barry Goldwater Award, which recognizes leaders in the Republican Party who have served their nation with distinction in the model of the late Senator Barry Goldwater to:

* Senator John Cornyn (R-TX), Chairman National Republican Senatorial Committee

Perkins, Jackson, Engle Team Up to Oppose DADT Repeal

In about one hour, Tony Perkins, Harry Jackson, Lou Engle and others are joining forces for a webcast opposing the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell:

Family Research Council President and Marine veteran Tony Perkins will join Bishop Harry Jackson, Alliance Defense Fund Senior Counsel Austin Nimocks and African American pastors from five states at a news conference Monday at 2 p.m. ET in Washington, D.C. The speakers will address religious liberty concerns on the eve of the U.S. Senate vote to overturn the law against the practice of open homosexual behavior in the military.

WHO: Tony Perkins, President, Family Research Council

Bishop Harry Jackson, Chairman, High Impact Leadership Coalition

Pastor Aubrey Shines, Tampa, FL

Pastor Christopher Brooks, Detroit, MI

Bishop Leon Benjamin, Richmond, VA

Reverend Dean Nelson, Washington, DC

Reverend Lou Engle, President, The Call

Austin Nimocks, Senior Counsel, Alliance Defense Fund

WHERE: Watch Online: www.frc.org

Or in-person: FRC Media Center, 801 G. Street, NW, Washington, D.C. 20001

WHEN: Monday, September 20, 2010, 2 PM ET

VVS Double Whammy: Smearing Gay Soldiers and US Allies

Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council and Lt. Col. Robert Maginnis warned Americans that the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell will make the military weaker, understaffed and morally corrupt. They went on to say that military forces which allow gay and lesbian soldiers to serve openly no longer participate in wars, only parades. However, Great Britain and Australia, two countries that have contributed significant numbers of soldiers to the war in Iraq and are close allies of the US, both allow gays to serve openly. Israel's military also permits gay and lesbian troops in its ranks, as do NATO countries including Canada, Germany, Italy, Spain and France, all of which have forces in Afghanistan. Because at the Values Voter Summit, maligning the military forces of key American allies like Israel, Great Britain, and Australia is acceptable as long as it serves the greater goal of denigrating gays and lesbians.

Maginnis: That's why countries like the ten largest militaries in the world, that have the ten largest militaries in the world say 'no, this isn't the thing to do.' They spin this as if Great Britain and we ought to copy them and the Dutch. Well the fact is that 80 percent of the militaries in the world don't embrace this particular view. 

Perkins: Well, those that do, they're the ones that participate in parades, they don't fight wars to keep the nation and the world free. So there's a big difference.

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Tony Perkins Posts Archive

Peter Montgomery, Friday 03/01/2013, 2:08pm
While the Supreme Court prepares to take up cases on marriage equality, the Family Research Council’s latest mailing [PDF] takes on ENDA – the federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act.  “Like a B-grade 1950’s horror-movie, ENDA is coming back from the dead,” warns FRC President Tony Perkins. Perkins says President Obama is working with the “totalitarian homosexual lobby” to sneak ENDA into law, and if that happens, “Our freedom of religion will be destroyed.” The American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer sounded a similar... MORE >
Josh Glasstetter, Thursday 02/28/2013, 6:17pm
Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, made an interesting observation on his radio show yesterday. Speaking about the confirmation of Chuck Hagel, Perkins mused about the ‘irony’ that Hagel, whom he considers to be anti-Israel, was backed by Democratic senators who are “mostly aligned with a lot of the Jewish lobby” and “enjoy the money coming from the Jewish community.” Hmmm, “Jewish lobby,” where have I heard that before? Hagel has been savaged in recent weeks for having used the phrase in a 2006 interview. He has since... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Thursday 02/28/2013, 4:45pm
Family Research Council president Tony Perkins yesterday on his radio program said that Right Wing Watch and progressive organizations “make their living by lying” about topics such as the separation of church and state and have had devastating consequences. Perkins brought up a case about a student who was allegedly disciplined for praying over his meal during lunch, saying that it represented the result of “the misinformation that is put out there by these liberal groups.” While Perkins didn’t name anyone in particular, it sounded remarkably... MORE >
Peter Montgomery, Wednesday 02/20/2013, 6:27pm
The Family Research Council hosted a panel discussion Wednesday on religious liberty in America.  If you have paid any attention at all to the frantic warnings from FRC’s Tony Perkins that tyranny is on the march, you could have guessed what was coming.  The overall theme of the conversation was that the HHS mandate for insurance coverage of contraception is a dire threat to religious freedom in America.  So are the advance of marriage equality and laws against anti-gay discrimination – or the “sexual liberty agenda.” The panel featured three lawyers:... MORE >
Peter Montgomery, Tuesday 02/19/2013, 3:17pm
The Family Research Council has launched what it is describing as “an ambitious, no-holds-barred campaign to keep marriage as between one man and one woman and preserve the American family.”  FRC is worried about two cases before the Supreme Court that will have “a lasting impact on the very soul of our nation” -- one on California’s Prop 8 and one on the federal Defense of Marriage Act.  In a direct-mail piece dated on Valentine’s Day, FRC President Tony Perkins says it is important to get members of Congress “to pressure the Supreme Court... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Friday 02/15/2013, 12:00pm
Congressman Steve Scalise (R-LA) appeared on Washington Watch with Family Research Council president Tony Perkins yesterday to discuss the State of the Union address where he pushed the standard right-wing canards that President Obama is leading an attack on freedom and trying to exploit “tragedies that he uses to his own benefit.” Perkins: There’s not been an administration that’s been more hostile to our first freedom, our fundamental right of the freedom of speech and the freedom of religion. Scalise: Right, look, just go in order. Right after that, he’s... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Thursday 02/14/2013, 5:00pm
After losing his bid for a second term in Congress, despite a more favorable district, Allen West is continuing his work as a fulltime conservative blowhard (but without a taxpayer-funded salary). West is working at PJ Media and appeared yesterday on Washington Watch with Family Research Council leaders Tony Perkins and Jerry Boykin, where he criticized the lifting of the bans on women in combat and gays and lesbians in the military. West told Boykin that “the liberal progressive left” is “coming at the military so viciously and vehemently because they want to tear down that... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Wednesday 02/13/2013, 12:00pm
While he certainly has a lot of competition serving among the likes of Michele Bachmann, Steve King, Louie Gohmert and Steve Stockman, Rep. Tim Huelskamp is doing his best to position himself as the leading congressman of the anti-gay radical right. Huelskamp told Family Research Council president Tony Perkins in an interview before last night’s State of the Union address that President Obama seeks “to destroy the family and replace it with his view of a radical new social agenda.” This President has a radical social agenda and the media will probably give him a pass when... MORE >