Monday afternoon, famed LGBT author, activist, and Huffington Post Editor-at-large Michelangelo Signorile wrote an excellent open letter to Family Research Council President Tony Perkins, explaining in excellent detail why FRC really is a hate group, and invited him — very politely and genuinely — to debate the issue. So why hasn’t Perkins responded?
“Without providing any facts, you claimed that the Southern Poverty Law Center’s labeling your group a ‘hate group’ gave the alleged shooter a ‘license to shoot’,” Signorile, host of a Sirius XM radio program, wrote, and called the hate group president’s lies and falsehoods “reckless…because they defame an entire group.”
But let’s be clear about why FRC is in that category. After all, there are thousands of conservative and religious groups across the country that are opposed to marriage equality, many of which also believe homosexuality to be a sin, but the SPLC does not deem them all hate groups. It’s only a tiny handful of conservative groups that have been given that distinction by the SPLC. They are listed as hate groups “based on their propagation of known falsehoods – claims about LGBT people that have been thoroughly discredited by scientific authorities — and repeated, groundless name-calling.” Also, two years ago, an FRC official said “homosexual behavior” should be outlawed. You wouldn’t repudiate him. It was also revealedthat the FRC contributed $25,000 to stop a congressional resolution to condemn the “kill the gays” bill in Uganda, which would have made homosexuality punishable by death. You worried that the resolution could make it appear as if homosexuality is acceptable. If that Ugandan bill, and even tacit approval of it, isn’t “hate,” what is?
Perhaps you recall that in July 2008, a man armed with a shotgun went on a shooting rampage inside a church in Knoxville. The Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church, like many Christian churches and denominations across the country, is welcoming of LGBT people. The gunman killed two people and severely wounded several others. Police said that the killer’s motive was to target gays and liberals. “This isn’t a church, it’s a cult,” the killer wrote in a four-page letter he had left behind. “They embrace every pervert that comes down the pike…. [T]he only way we can rid ourselves of this evil is kill them in the streets, kill them where they gather.”
I wouldn’t claim, as you did with regard to the SPLC, that the FRC gave that killer a “license to shoot.” No one knows what’s inside the mind of a premeditated killer. But I would ask: Where do people like this killer get the distortions and ugly mischaracterizations that convince them that gay people are evil? More so, where do others who wouldn’t engage in gun violence but who do harm to LGBT people in other ways — firing them from their jobs, throwing them out of their homes, bullying them in schools — get their misinformation about gay people? They get it from a wide array of sources that contribute to a culture that demonizes LGBT people. And you and the Family Research Council are among those who feed into that culture.
So why hasn’t Tony Perkins responded?
Is he aware that Signorile has a huge following — not just within the LGBT community — but throughout the country? Is he uncomfortable having his own statements, and those of his employees, like Peter Sprigg, dragged before the media and the public?
The truth is that the Family Research Council is a hate group, and rightly-labeled by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). Not because they hate, but because they lie.
Calling an organization a “hate group” does not inspire violence. If that were the case, the more than 1100 hate groups the Southern Poverty Law Center tracks would all be victims of violence or attempted violence.
Calling a group of innocent people “pawns of the enemy,” suggesting we’re “terrorists,” spending millions of dollars to promote an agenda of hate, especially when it’s been proven that doing so contributes to environments in which children and teens are more likely to attempt suicide, truly is worthy of the label “hate group.” In fact, it’s insufficient.
Tony, you’ve earned that scarlet letter on your forehead. And no amount of lying or obfuscating can remove it. It’s yours. For keeps.
By the way, you can follow Michelangelo Signorile on Twitter.
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