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Anti-LGBT Family Research Council Mimics ‘Patriot’ Rhetoric

By Chip Berlet on July 10, 2013 - 2:16 pm, Posted in Anti-LGBT, Antigovernment, Christian Right, Extremist Propaganda
Tony Perkins

As barriers to equality for the LGBT community continue to fall, the Family Research Council (FRC), an influential Christian Right group that has been propagating anti-gay pseudo-science for decades, is broadening its message by adopting the language of the antigovernment “Patriot” movement.

Case in point: This week, less than two weeks after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the federal government cannot discriminate against legally married same-sex couples, the FRC circulated an online fundraising appeal that urges recipients to “Seize this Opportunity to Stop Tyranny in America!”

The word “tyranny” reflects a core theme of the Patriot movement, which is composed of groups that engage in groundless conspiracy theorizing or that advocate or adhere to extreme antigovernment doctrines. The movement has seen explosive growth since President Obama was elected. The Southern Poverty Law Center has documented an 813 percent increase in Patriot groups, which include armed militias, since 2008 – from 149 to 1,360 by the end of 2012.

The FRC’s increasing adoption of Patriot rhetoric may indicate the group’s recognition that it is losing the battle over LGBT rights and its desire to find new issues. (Last July, for example, the FRC hired retired Lt. Gen. William “Jerry” Boykin, a radical anti-Muslim propagandist, as its executive vice president.) Or, it may simply reflect the Patriot movement’s widening influence on conservative politics and across the spectrum of groups on the radical right.

The subject line of the FRC’s July 8 E-mail, signed by FRC President Tony Perkins, asks, “Is God giving America another chance?” The top of the page sports an image of a red button exclaiming “Give Today to Help Restore America.”

According to Perkins, a donation to the FRC helps the group with what he believes “is a God-given opportunity to stop a rapidly encroaching tyranny in America.” The word “tyranny” appears as a theme throughout the missive, which listed a series of supposed offenses committed by the Obama administration.

The E-mail reads:

“Is it really ‘tyranny’? You be the judge:

  • American families are being forced by ObamaCare to buy health insurance they don’t want . . . and which will lead to rationing for the weak and elderly.
  • Christians are being forced to buy ObamaCare insurance that funds abortion drugs.
  • The IRS has been caught harassing and bullying a growing number of groups, including ministries – for the ‘offense’ of opposing the Obama agenda.
  • Obama awarded the IRS official in charge of the harassment with a promotion and $103,900 bonus.
  • The Department of Justice has been caught spying on news reporters.
  • The Department of Defense has been caught persecuting Christians.
  • The Department of State has been caught covering up the Benghazi scandal and punishing dissident officials trying to blow the whistle.
  • Federal officials have stated that homosexual rights will supersede religious rights.”

While many of these assertions are dubious at best, Perkins assures potential donors that their financial support will “help FRC as our team of 82 staff and experts work on Capitol Hill and the media to take advantage of this moment to educate decision makers about” a list of issues highlighted in the letter as important to the FRC’s constituency. Those issues, which sound remarkably like a list compiled by Patriot groups, are:

  • Abolishing the IRS.
  • Repealing ObamaCare and its anti-faith mandates.
  • Bringing corrupt officials to justice.
  • Repealing persecution of religion in the military.
  • Stopping the homosexual agenda from destroying religious liberty in schools and the workplace.
  • Exposing “big government socialism” for what it is: an effort to shove biblical values out of social influence and shut down the gospel.”

Clicking on the banner at the top of the E-mail takes you to a donation page with the headline “Stop Tyranny Today,” in case the theme was somehow unclear. Perkins ends the solicitation with the words “Standing (Ephesians 6:13),” which may be cryptic to some. The full verse in the New International Version of the Bible is, “Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.”

The FRC is listed by the SPLC as a hate group because of its dissemination of baseless anti-gay propaganda and its incessant demonization of LGBT people as sick, evil, perverted, incestuous and a danger to the nation. Contrary to what the FRC has repeatedly claimed, SPLC does not list the FRC as a hate group because of its opposition to gay marriage or because of its religious beliefs.

  • Aron

    I second Rey. Sam, you’re a great kid, and I’m sure we’d be fast friends in real life, but sometimes you do go a little off the deep end.

  • Reynardine

    Sam, we love you. We just curb your cheekiness from time to time, that’s all.

  • Sam Molloy

    Bravo, Ellen. I am Gay, Conservative and Christian. (I have no fwends -sniff). What I do when I think about it is call these people “christians”. No capital C, and in quotes.

  • Ellen Myers

    I am gay, a liberal, and also a Christian, and I am NOT like those hateful, lying nutters that you call “Christian”. Whether you (anyone who is reading this) are an atheist or whatever, will you please show some respect for people who don’t deserve to be lumped in with them by NOT calling those right-wing extremists “Christian” ? I don’t care what they claim to be, anyone that is familiar with the teachings of Jesus Christ, where the name Christian comes from, knows that those right-wing religious nut cases are NOT Christ-like in any way shape or form and they are not speaking for Him when they do the dirt they do. Actually, they are throwing dirt on the name of Jesus and real Christians every time they use His name to hurt someone. So, to be fair and to not be liars like they are, instead of referring to them as Christians, will you please just refer to them as religious, fundamentalists, or anything suitable except Christian, please?

  • Aron


    They’re not hateful because they’re conservative. They’re hateful because they LIE.

  • Aron

    I love how these maroons keep bringing up the ‘IRS scandal,’ when it was their side that pressed for the Citizens United decision which resulted in the increased scrutiny.

    And then there’s the undeniable fact that half the organizations that were given extra scrutiny were progressive. And the ONLY group that was outright denied tax-exempt status WAS progressive!

    Nothing quite like conservative hypocrisy, am I right?

  • http://SPLC Steve

    FRC should stand for: Farcical Reactionary Crap.

  • Erika

    CM, wonderful post :)

    Of course, one thing to remember is that these groups tend to claim that they want to follow the “original intent” of the Constitution – of course, the unstated implication in that claim should make anyone extremely suspect of anyone who makes the claim – that is of course, because the only people who originally had any rights in 1787 when the Constitution was written were white male property owners. The Constitution was written to specifically protect the right of people to own other people as property. Only white male property owners were allowed to vote – women had almost no votes. Sodomy, adultry, and fornication were illegal and heavily punished.

    Of course, even using “original intent” they still can’t establish a church – George Washington’s letter to the Jewish temple in Rhode Island as well as the Treaty of Tripoli shows that the Constitution was designed to protect all religions and to not establish a church. Of course, there were still specific establishments of religion such as blue laws that lasted well into the 20th century (it was in the 20th Century for example that the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that it was Constitutional to force an Orthodox Jew who owned a department store to be closed on Sunday) – and some clear establishments of an official state religion continue to this day with the Supreme Court showing little desire to change or even address the issue and resulting in a truly bizarre incident of cognative dissodence when they have said its okay to put “In God we Trust” on the money or insert “Under God” into the Pledge of Allegance effectively because they claim that those references to God are meaningless so the Athiests should just get over it. Of course, if the references to God were really meaningless, they wouldn’t be there i’m pretty sure – but for some reason the Christian Right doesn’t find it offensive that the right wingers on the Supreme Court have claime that references to God are okay because they lack meaning – instead they freak out at any mention of removing God – because obviously a reference to God does have a meaning.

    But let’s be serious (and at risk of sounding like “the mantra”), when they say “Original Intent” it is extremely likely that they mean “only Christian white male property owners have rights” – and before you doubt that, remember that on the right there are people (often perversely right wing women) seriously claiming that women should not be able to vote.

    And of course, they also claim to support Biblical Marriage which of course, is women submit to your husbands in all circumstances and women having no identity of their own. Some ultra mysognistic types on the right even want to go back to the old Common Law rule that by getting married a woman always consents to sex with her husband which would again make it legal for men to rape their wives – and of course, they also want to allow men to legally beat their wives (and they also encourage parents – almost without the doubt the father – to beat their children – and of course, the combination message that women are like children who need to be controlled by men is very apparent). They do at least publicly draw the lines at Bliblical polygamy (although its quite possible that they are trying to claim that gay marriage will lead to polygamy because they are hopeful) and those types tend to react with the passage in the Bible forcing rape victims to marry their attackers by denying that the Bible means exactly what it says (even though these types tend to believe that God literally created the earth in 6 days 6,000 years ago – and that in every other pasage the Bible is literally the Word of God – okay, they also have selected the bury your head in the sand and pretend that it doesn’t exist approach to the passage in the Bible calling for forcing women suspected of committing adultry to have a test to see if she is pregnant (specically a forced abortion) and stone her to death if she was pregnant since it doesn’t exactly jibe well with their claim that they are against abortion because they are “pro-life” and not that their real objection is to the idea that women have control of their own bodies).

    So essentially when they claim they support “Biblical marriage” they mean total male domination.

    When they claim they support “original intent” they mean total white male domination.

    When they claim they support “pro-family” they mean total hetereosexual male domination.

    When they claim they support “religious liberty” they mean the liberty of ultra right wing Christians to control everything.

    When they claim to be “pro-life” they mean total male domination.

    Unlike the white nationalist “mantra” this one has a whole lot of support – ultimately the homophobes, men’s rights mysognists, white nationalists, white supremacists, and racists are all peas in a pod to each other – essentially they all believe in the same thing which is total heterosexual Christian white male supremacy and domination. The main difference between more “mainstream” groups and the hate groups is the degree in which they use weasel words. The Christian Dominionists white supremacist “Patriot Groups” will flat out tell you that they think that only white male Christians have any rights – the more mainstream right wing groups ultimately believe the same thing but will express it using weasel words.

  • james

    they are like any other americans and have a right to believe what they want and oppose what they want.
    no one can stop that freedom. not the government, and not even the SPLC….

    just because you dont agree with them does not make them hateful..

  • Rebecca Alford

    I wrote to my local paper complaining about this very thing today because this “email” or “editorial” was printed and promoted as a validated editorial by The Hartsville Messenger in Hartsville SC this week and I am sure many other publications purchased by Berkshire Hathaway (Warren Buffett) in the summer of last year. I have been seeing a strong right wing, Christian, Extreme Right Wing propaganda, Tea Party coloring of our local paper for the past few months and refuse to buy it anymore.

  • Reynardine

    Ah, yeah! If you’re a liberal Texan, you need a sense of humor, and Jim Hightower, like Molly Ivins, Ann Richards, and even, in certain moments, LBJ, isn’t lacking.

  • SinghX

    Tony the Perkins is all about one thing and one thing only;
    fund raising on his own self-serving, opportunistic behalf so that he continuously has a job. He’s an expert at bilking the christian rubes…this is his calling, his life’s work, his purpose, his reason for living. He “eats” the rubes for “pray breakfast” and loves every minute of it!

    I’m just waiting for the Tony Perkins scandal of all sex scandals…the one he will be at the center of “sin” that’s been going on for decades. A sex scandal bigger than Jim Baker and “Ted” all wrapped up in one big bundle of home made sin! I know it’s out there…

  • Jaelyn

    It seems they are taking their new “agenda” from the Teabaggers. If you can’t win a legitimate debate, just make up lies about the government to “prove” your point. Radicalism from any source makes those others in the group look bad. People like this make me embarrassed to be a Christian.

  • Linnea

    Thanks, Rey. Unfortunately, I can’t claim credit; the first time I ran across the expression was in Jim Hightower’s writings. Very funny, progressive guy, and proof that Texas is capable of producing sensible people.

  • Sam Molloy

    Thanks to the SPLC for reporting this good news. I am glad to see the Family Research Council in such financial trouble that they are reaching out with a list of current Conservative talking points about Obamacare Benghazi, etc. to try to pry mo’ money from the hands of people on their mailing list. People like older Americans who may be unaware that the FRC cannot do diddly about, say, abolishing the IRS, or anything else at this point. Of course I believe some of these Conservative talking points have at least some merit individually, but gay equality does nothing to limit other people’s God given rights, including their right to be batsh*t crazy.

  • Reynardine

    Linnea, I like it.

  • Sam Molloy

    Concerned, as I understand it the Southern Baptists were split off because of Segregation issues. The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary is here in Louisville and we get their silly drivel on slow news days in the very liberal, but very very good, newspaper, the Courier Journal. In our Highlands, AKA Bardstown Road area, sort of our Haight Ashbury, the Baptist church (not Southern Baptist) is known to be very accepting of Gay people.

  • Ian

    Is this all coming up in italics for anyone else or is it just myInternet Explorer being weird again?

  • Linnea

    Tony Perkins and the FRC are a great example of the old adage that a higher a monkey climbs, the more you see of it’s ugly side.

  • David Cary Hart

    I wrote about FRC today. Perkins had a cow over committee approval of ENDA. One of the little gems is Tony kvetching about “daycares” and public schools not being able to discriminate. This is a familiar FRC theme that portrays gays as child predators.

    SPLC certainly did the right thing

    As an aside, ENDA has no chance of getting though the Asylum formerly known as the US House of Representatives.

  • concernedcitizen

    I for one don’t believe that the DOD has anything to do with the lack of worshiping on military bases. I would like to see the proof is what I am really saying. But I will buy that the religious nuts pushing their own agenda’s on military bases would be a big red flag to decrease worship.

    There are some people you don’t want on your side and the infestation of bigotry and racism in our communities both state and federal is really enough foul smell to turn off the educated population.

    Southern Baptist? The nations established church? Who in the world would swallow that pill? That’s ridiculous.

    And that’s not a poke at all Baptist. There are radicals and there are those who are peaceful members of our communities.

    However, what supports your argument about Southern Baptist being the nations established church?

    ” In every case, they want to claim they’re having rights unjustly taken from them, when in fact the issue is the restoration of rights they’ve unjustly taken from others.”

    I agree with this statement.

    Well color me pleased to read this post: There is nothing in the Constitution or common sense that says America must forever be a white male heterosexual Christian-ruled country.

    That is very true. And it will be a much greater day when all we see is that America is an American run country. All men and women despite color should band together for Country, not for ethnic divide.

    But that day may be long off in the future because we simply have no laws banning idiots from breeding and then passing on their idiocy to their innocent and unsuspecting offspring.

  • CM

    Perkins’ whole ranting appeal is an example of something I mentioned in a comment on another thread here, the use of the fallacy of the excluded middle to advance claims that Christians are being persecuted. The underlying belief is that absence of pro-Christian bias is the same as presence of anti-Christian bias. Thus, the removal of a privilege that Christians previously had enjoyed, no matter how unjustly it was procured, is portrayed as a deliberate injury, rather than as the rebalancing needed to attain the religion-neutral society envisioned by America’s founders.

    The claim that “The Department of Defense has been caught persecuting Christians” is typical. What has Perkins and other Christian Dominionists so worked up is the fact that organizations like the Military Religious Freedom Foundation have finally had some success in turning back the tide of fundamentalist propagandizing that arose throughout the military under leaders like Boykin. The reality is that DoD has spent hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars in recent years to build megachurch-type chapels on military bases and that enlisted personnel have been routinely intimidated and harassed into participating in evangelistic worship services by officers and non-coms who apparently think Southern Baptist is now the nation’s established church.

    It’s not surprising that FRC would align with patriot groups, since this false-dilemma rhetoric is common to both – as well as to white supremacists, men’s rights advocates, homophobes and islamophobes. In every case, they want to claim they’re having rights unjustly taken from them, when in fact the issue is the restoration of rights they’ve unjustly taken from others. There is nothing in the Constitution or common sense that says America must forever be a white male heterosexual Christian-ruled country.