Tony Perkins gets another mainstream media pass
It's happened again. The New York Times is using an extreme anti-LGBT voice and framing him as nothing more than a Christian conservative.
This time it's Family Research Council president Tony Perkins:
Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, a conservative Christian group, disputed the notion that history is on the side of same-sex marriage, arguing that the legalization of abortion by Roe v. Wade in the 1970s had set in motion a powerful and still growing backlash.
Over time, Mr. Perkins predicted, as people see what he called the consequences of same-sex marriage — grade schools’ endorsing homosexuality, business owners and religious institutions forced to act against their religious beliefs — opposition will rebound.
If you're a journalist, take note. If you're interviewing someone about a group of people, and the person you're interviewing believes that those people are pawns of the devil, that's pretty relevant to your story.
Let's give one of the above sentences another go, using what we know—and what casual readers might not know—about Tony Perkins.
Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, an organization that condemns homosexuality and has been deemed a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, disputed the notion that history ... etc.
See how much more context that gives readers, without straying at all from the facts? In fact, it requires some implied editorializing on the part of the writer to neglect this information.
Identifying FRC as a "conservative Christian group" and nothing else implies that these two words are all that a reader needs to know where Perkins is coming from. Which therefore implies that the author believes that the words "conservative Christian" mean the same thing as "anti-gay." Ask any number of conservatives who support marriage equality whether this is the case. In fact, here's a Catholic Republican couple from Minnesota who will do just that.
So back to the factual record regarding this particular pundit. Just to remind you of what Tony Perkins — once again, whose organization is deemed a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center — has done and said to earn his national reputation on this issue of marriage equality, let's now take a look at a few highlights from his Commentator Accountability Project profile:
- Says about gay people: “They are intolerant. They are hateful. They are vile. They are spiteful...pawns of the enemy.” (See 0:43 mark.)
- Says that gay young people “have a higher propensity to depression or suicide because of that internal conflict; homosexuals may recognize intuitively that their same-sex attractions are abnormal.”
- Despite what health experts have said, insists that pedophilia is “a homosexual problem.”
- The Family Research Council has distributed a pamphlet that claims gay men are more likely to molest children, and supports "reorientation therapy" for gay people
- The Family Research Council has distributed a pamphlet that begins by likening the logic behind same-sex marriage to the logic behind man-horse marriage (complete with horse graphic)
- Says gays and lesbians are "held captive by the enemy"
- Says marriage equality will be "the nail in coffin of marriage" and will "take society down with it"
**You can read the whole thing here.
So much pointed hostility. Take your pick. This is not simple conservative Christianity. This is not mere marriage advocacy. Tony Perkins has viciously condemend LGBT people in the harshest way one can possibly condemn LGBT people. That's not an overstatement. Tony Perkins has cast us out of both polite society and pleasant eternity, collecting both political opportunity and paychecks from crude and cruel discrimination. Sickeningly, he has directed undue focus onto LGBT children, who are often the most vulnerable of any.
Tony has done all he can to make life more difficult for certain kinds of human beings. His is an extremely dangerous game that doesn't deserve respect. It doesn't deserve a big fat mainstream media pass, either.