UPDATE: Dana Milbank will be on Michaelangelo Signorile’s show at 4:30 ET today to discuss his WaPo defense of Perkins and FRC.
Michelangelo Signorile has published an open letter to the Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins, challenging him to a public debate over at Huffpost or on his SiriusXM show over whether the organization deserves the hate group label.
Mike outlines in a reasoned, factual manner why he believes it is.
In that post last week, I also stated that no one should be exploiting this tragedy for political gain. That’s why I and many others are greatly disappointed by the press conference you held last week, and I’d like to take this opportunity to invite you to have a public discussion with me about hate (more on this below). 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.” You went on to obscure why you were put in the hate group category, implying that it was because of your position against same-sex marriage.
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 revealed that 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?
…But maybe we are misunderstanding you. Maybe you have incontrovertible proof behind these and many other claims. Maybe you can convince me that the hate group label is unfair, or maybe I can convince you that some or all of these claims are erroneous. Or perhaps we will each realize that we’ve misunderstood one another in some ways. So I’m asking you here and now to engage with me in a civil public discussion to debate these and other claims and to talk about hate. We can do it here on HuffPost, or on my radio program on SiriusXM.
And he also offers a long list of examples of over-the-top anti-LGBT bigotry, including the preposterous FRC pamphlet that “shows gay men and lesbians, falsely, as physically and mentally ill pedophiles who can be cured, and another that begins by likening same-sex marriage to man-horse marriage (and uses a horse graphic).”
Will Perkins — who never avoids an opportunity to whore in front of the media (see “Tony Perkins falsely claims the press ignored Family Research Council shooting“) — accept the offer?
You’ll recall the The Washington Post’s Dana Milbank recently came to FRC’s defense, using the yardstick of the KKK as what constitutes a hate group, therefore FRC cannot possibly fall into that category. It was an epic example of heterosupremacy that, apparently generated a lot of heat. So much so that Deputy Editorial Page Editor Jackson Diehl took to Twitter to announce his displeasure that the LGBT community and allies took offense to Milbank’s weakly-argued column.
DKos front-pager Scott Wooledge had this response:
I am among the “idiots” who sent an email, although mine was to Milbank. I received no response, which is fine, I only hoped to educate him and participate in a civil, reality-based dialogue on issues of concern to the LGBT community. It was not a part of a coordinated campaign. Rather, like so many of your other gay, lesbian and transgender readers I had a visceral, immediate revulsion to see Dana Milbank playing apologist for Family Research Council after they have called me a pedophile, advocated for subjecting me to criminal sanctions, and believe that I should be “exported” from the country.
My letter was actually rather polite because I just presumed that Milbank was merely ignorant about the depths Family Research Council stoops to in their quest to demonize and slander gay people. I didn’t imagine Milbank was honestly arguing that it is a “mainstream conservative” belief that the Ugandan “Kill The Gays” bill merely “uphold[s] moral conduct that protects others and in particular the most vulnerable.”
But, by your comments, Mr. Diehl, it appears the ignorance runs much higher up the chain of command Washington Post, than just the columnists.
The Human Rights Campaign’s Chad Griffin has an op-ed up today that challenges Milbank’s notion that one has to be a Night Rider in full Klan regalia to qualify for a “hate group” label.
Designating the Family Research Council a hate group has nothing to do with disagreements about marriage equality, nondiscrimination laws or any other policy debate. The real issue is the Family Research Council’s well-documented and continuous pattern of hateful rhetoric.
Linking gay people to pedophiles is hateful. Consider Perkins’s words from 2010: “While activists like to claim that pedophilia is a completely distinct orientation from homosexuality, evidence shows a disproportionate overlap between the two. .?.?. It is a homosexual problem.”
Calling for the expulsion of gays from this country is hateful, as is arguing for making homosexuality a crime. In March 2008, a senior fellow for policy studies at the council, Peter Sprigg, said of uniting gay partners through immigration: “I would much prefer to export homosexuals from the United States than import them.” He later apologized but in 2009 told an interviewer, “I think there would be a place for criminal sanctions on homosexual behavior.”
Using junk-science to spread propaganda about LGBT people is hateful — as Sprigg does when he says in his 2010 pamphlet “The Top Ten Myths about Homosexuality” that gay men and lesbians can change their sexual orientation.
…There should be no yardsticks of oppression. Claiming the mantle of “deeply held religious beliefs” is no excuse for propagating lies that denigrate an entire group of people. Just because an organization may sometimes cloak its animus toward our community in the language of Beltway policy-speak doesn’t make it any less hateful. And we all have a responsibility to call out hate when we see it.
The problem for the Family Research Council and its defenders is that there is a long paper and video trail of naked, aggressive homophobia that demonizes LGBTs, sees them as sub-human and ineligible for the civil rights Perkins and Milbank take for granted. Discussing these facts in the light of day is absolutely necessary. In fact, Perkins and Co. should be elated to discuss their positions and bring forth the “facts” that they present as talking heads and let the political chips fall where they may.