Below is Matt Comer’s first weekly edition of Sex, Cash & Politics. It was distributed to North Carolina online and print publications on Tuesday. Each week, Matt distributes his column to statewide media free-of-charge for use as op-eds and guest commentaries. Learn more about the column and how your publication can subscribe…
On March 4, Tony Perkins, president of the Washington, D.C.-based Family Research Council delivered a guest sermon at Charlotte’s First Baptist Church (click here for an in-depth review). His presence at the home church of North Carolina Baptist State Convention President Mark Harris is significant and comes as voters soon head to the polls to vote on Amendment One, the constitutional amendment that would ban same-sex marriage and civil unions and domestic partnerships for unmarried opposite-sex and same-sex couples alike.
Despite his pleas to God and Christ’s Gospel, Perkins is no run-of-the-mill Christian conservative and his fruit would be unrecognizable to Christ, who said his disciples would be known by their love for one another. I have faith that other Christians voting in May won’t be so easily deceived. The truth will be apparent to them: Perkins’ discord, divisiveness and hate are no sign of Christ or the Gospel. To the contrary, Perkins’ work is the perfect Gospel antithesis.
Perkins’ expertise in the field of hate began way back in his home state of Louisiana, where in 1996, while working as the campaign manager for a Republican U.S. Senate candidate, he paid $82,500 for a copy of former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard David Duke’s mailing list. While serving in the Louisiana State house, Perkins twice solicited support from the state’s Council of Conservative Citizens, a White Nationalist hate group descended from the 1950s- and 1960s-era White Citizens Councils.
Perkins’ Research Council is responsible for some of the most egregious examples of anti-gay lies and propaganda ever disseminated to the American public. The group is obsessed with comparing gays to pedophiles. They have argued that gay activism’s ultimate goal is to lend recognition of “pedophiles as the ‘prophets’ of a new sexual order,” and have said “homosexual activists publicly disassociate themselves from pedophiles as part of a public relations strategy.”
Perkins has argued that repeal of the military’s anti-gay “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy would lead to the death of straight soldiers, and that politicians who voted for repeal would have the “blood of innocent soldiers on their hands.” The group’s senior researcher, Peter Sprigg, has also argued that LGBT people should be criminalized and once said he’d like to see the U.S. government export gays from the country.
These gargantuan lies and propaganda, plus many more, are what landed the Family Research Council on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s list of nearly 1,000 extremist hate groups in the U.S. in 2010.
Despite their clear record of un-Christ-like hate, the Family Research Council is alive and well in the good Old North State. Their affiliate, the North Carolina Family Policy Council, is a lead cheerleader for Amendment One. Their former lobbyist, Tami Fitzgerald, has served as the key spokesperson and manager for the campaign to write discrimination into our state’s constitution.
Perkins’ connections to white supremacists, the Family Research Council’s extremist and hateful views and the connections between his group and the current debate over Amendment One are enough to give any fair-minded and compassionate North Carolinian pause before deciding to pull the lever in favor of Amendment One in May.
If that’s not enough, consider the very words of the Christ Perkins claims to follow so obediently: “Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.” Racism, lies, deception and division are not fruits of the Spirit. Though Perkins says he speaks with the authority of God, it should be obvious that his agenda bears no resemblance to the ethos of Christ. Perkins wants you to vote for Amendment One, but that fruit is rotten to the core.
— A native of Winston-Salem, N.C., Matt Comer now lives in Charlotte and works as a progressive and LGBT-rights activist, blogger, community journalist and communications professional. He served as editor of QNotes, the LGBT community newspaper of Charlotte, from October 2007 to January 2012. Learn more about Matt and follow all of his commentary at MattComer.net.