Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council and frequently-booked anti-LGBT extremist pundit, recently announced that unless you are an orthodox Christian, then you are not entitled to religious freedom. Furthermore, he claims that you can only be considered an orthodox Christian if you do not believe in LGBT equality.
So, in short, religious freedom only applies to Tony Perkins. That doesn't really sound like freedom to me. To be perfectly in honest, it seems that Tony Perkins is asking for special rights.
His most recent comments, made on the radio show "Washington Watch," were directed at the United Church of Christ (UCC) in North Carolina. Two weeks ago, the UCC Church made history by becoming the first major Christian denomination to file a lawsuit against a state government. The lawsuit asserts that North Carolina's ban on marriage equality, as well as the fine and jail time for clergy who perform LGBT-inclusive marriages, is a constitutional violation of both religious freedom and equal protection.
When a caller said to Tony, "clergy [are] saying that the ban on gay marriage infringes on their religious rights. It's my understanding that they are a Christian organization, it's normally the other way around, and so I'm curious to hear what you got to say about it," Tony responded:
I would use that term ‘Christian’ loosely. That title is — let’s talk biblical, here’s the deal, it’s like with the Religious Freedom Restoration Act that we worked on in Mississippi and failed in Arizona and other places, here’s a test of what is a true religious freedom, a freedom that’s based on orthodox religious viewpoints. It has to have a track record, it has to come forth from religious orthodoxy. . .You cannot point to the Christian faith and say that same-sex marriage has been a key teaching of the church…They're playing games here.
Contrary to his claim that Christianity does not teach LGBT equality, the UCC is one of many denominations with LGBT-affirming and –inclusive policies. In a press release, the UCC explained its case: "This limitation on rights of ministers and others is in conflict with the UCC General Synod's 'Equal Marriage Rights for All' resolution adopted in 2005. This resolution affirms 'equal marriage rights for couples regardless of gender and declares that government should not interfere with couples regardless of gender who choose to marry and share fully and equally in the rights, responsibilities and commitment of legally recognized marriage."
The UCC is also joined by plaintiffs from the Unitarian Universalist, Reform Judaism, Lutheran (ECLA), and American Baptist—all of which have pro-LGBT practices—and the list continues to grow.
Tony Perkin's response to the case in North Carolina confirms a suspicion that many have held all along---the religious freedom arguments used by extreme activists against the LGBT community, in actuality, do not support religious freedom, but rather serve solely to limit equality.
You can hear his comments in full below:
Check out GLAAD's Commentator Accountability Project profile to read just a few of the horrific things Tony has said about the LGBT community.