Wednesday, April 4, 2012

#316: Tony Perkins

Tony Perkins is the clinically insane, unhingedly despicable president of the Family Research Council (he was previously a member of the Louisiana House of Representatives), a conservative think tank dedicated to bigotry and denialism (see member Charmaine Yoest discuss evolution and the school curriculum here). He also runs the Christian audio streaming site, which – as such sites generally do – offer hateful bigotry in return for donations. He is a close associate of James Dobson (who founded the FRC) and Albert Mohler, and is also president of the Patriarchy Research Council (which does no research either).

Can you guess what he thinks of same sex marriage? In his own words: “The definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman is rooted in the order of nature itself […] This union can only be protected through amending the United States Constitution. If it's not, activists will continue using the courts to sell a five-legged dog. But as we say where I'm from in Louisiana, 'that dog won't hunt.’” (Here’s a fundraising letter from FRC). His views are apparently shared by his former Louisiana legislative colleague, former state senator Heulette Fontenot, who secured passage of a bill to disallow domestic partnerships in Louisiana or to recognize such relationships approved in other states (relatedly).

Perkins has described the gay civil rights movement as “a movement dedicated to destroying marriage, free speech, public health, religious liberty, and (after the DADT repeal) national security”. His arguments against repealing DADT constitute a colorful lot. Here’s “if the ban is lifted, so many black and Hispanic soldiers will quit that we'll have to reintroduce the draft” (a claim which makes him a racist as well – “it is the blacks and latinos who hate gays, not I”): . Here’s “repealing DADT will provide terrible suffering for the military chaplains”.

He also pandered one of the most atrociously insane anti-gay arguments ever attempted (a sort of self-defeating naturalistic fallacy on meth): “There's no correlation between inacceptance of homosexuality and depression and suicide […] rather […] [t]hese young people who identify as gay or lesbian, we know from the social science that they have a higher propensity to depression or suicide because of that internal conflict. Homosexuality is ‘abnormal’, and kids know it, which leads them to despair.” That’s the nice way of putting it, however – his explanation of how gays are really possessed by Satan is here (first comment wins the Internet).

In fact, he more or less explicitly advocates violence against gays, and locking them up. Hence, he was appointed to serve on Bobby Jindal’s Louisiana Commission on Family and Marriage. 

Perkins has called on Evangelicals, Catholics and Orthodox Jews not to comply with rules and laws permitting abortion, same-sex marriage, and other matters of the anti-life agenda that go against their religious consciences. Here’s Perkins claiming that the courts constitute a greater threat to America than the terrorists, and here is his claim that gays are committing terrorism against the legal system. And here, for that matter, is his claim that advocates of a separation between church and state are terrorists. He is also pathologically hypocritical and virulently opposed to environmentalism. 

In 2010, the Family Research Council was correctly and finally classified as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Perkins, whose full emotional range seems to span anything from hatred to detestation, dismissed the hate group designation as the result of a political attack by a “liberal organization” and “the left's smear campaign of conservatives”. Apparently quoting Perkins and his group, literally and in context, is “smearing”. That should have made Perkins think twice. Obviously it won’t.

Perkins is indeed another, and rather spectacular, example of the hysterical paranoia and batshit conspiracy mongering – fueled by a persecution complex of incomparable unhingedness – that people like Perkins suffer from. You sort of see the engine winding up: “The liberals disagree with me; therefore, the liberals criticize what I say; therefore the liberals are in a conspiracy and out to get me. This is just like the persecution of Christians in Ancient Rome. Therefore the liberals want to destroy me and ban Christianity. And they want to do the same to you".

You can see Perkins’s take on keeping it real here, and a fine example of what “family values” amount to here.

There’s a decent Perkins resource here.

Diagnosis: An abhorrent human being. Extremely dangerous


  1. Tony Perkins is also convinced that the left is trying to create a theocracy.

    And here is Perkins claiming that, for some reason known only to him, trying to prevent climate change (or limit the negative effects of such change) is “anti-child”.

  2. @G.D. - of course, with conservatives and religious bigots (but I repeat myself), IT'S ALWAYS PROJECTION.

    Re: DADT, what's really got people like Perkins bent outta shape is the thought that they won't be able to use the military to train soldiers for the Christian Taliban - without it, either their moles will flip out and show off all the hate they've learned OR they'll discover that gay people actually are people. Neither outcome fits into the plan...

  3. Here's Perkins turning the slippery slope fallacy into something that must almost be considered an art form.

  4. You can see Perkins explain how it all hangs together here.

  5. Perkins apparently thinks ex-gay therapies are “non-judgmental” (also here). But then Perkins isn’t exactly the go-to person for questions on the topic of being judgmental.

  6. Apparently, Tony Perkins is pissed about yoga being practiced in the military. It's part of the secular leftist campaign to "drive out faith" or something.

  7. Perkins continuing his insane rampage of paranoia, identifying persecutors of Christians at every turn. This time it is the notoriously radical group DAR, Daughters of the American Revolution, which is apparently persecuting Perkins by recommending to its members that they offer more inclusive prayers at Christmas.

    Here he is trying to argue that allowing women in combat will lead to reinstatement of the draft. The logic is … transcendent.

  8. Perkins is confused.

    But confusion alone cannot explain his use of demonstrable lies to claim that liberal ‘misinformation’ is corrupting schools. The argument is so self-defeating that it beggars belief – but Perkins’s reason-challenged audience will presumably nevertheless believe it. Nor can it, presumably, explain his assertion that the “homosexual lobby” is out to destroy religious freedom in America. The latter is of course the reason why Perkins and the FRC has launched “an ambitious, no-holds-barred campaign to keep marriage as between one man and one woman and preserve the American family” – i.e. to restrict other people’s religious freedom – because FRC is allegedly worried about the two cases before the Supreme Court (on California’s Prop 8 and on DOMA) that will have “a lasting impact on the very soul of our nation.”

    And finally – we had waited for this – Perkins does anti-semitism. One could say that it is, in fairness, denouncing Jews for voting democratic rather than trying to control the world, but there is nothing fair or exculpable about that.

  9. Perkins endorses kidnapping of children of gay parents, and thinks revolution is possible if the court goes too far in the marriage equality cases.

  10. At least Perkins is opposed to demonizing gays, according to himself. I suppose his concern is brilliantly illustrated in this exchange. Or perhaps by his claim that 30% of characters on tv are gay as a ploy to shield a dangerous lifestyle.

    His comments on the repeal of DADT are entirely unsurprising. Here he doubles down on blaming the repeal for military sexual assaults, not consistently taking care to stay within the bounds of reason. His earlier response to the decision is here. Part of his opposition is apparently his concern over potential sham marriage done just in order to obtain benefits (which is, of course, inconceivable in the case of straight marriages).

    It’s a hard world, and the law is indeed difficult, it seems, with judges coming to decisions that Perkins doesn’t approve of. But Perkins has a solution. According to Perkins, it would be a lot simpler if we just operated on the Ten Commandments instead. Isn’t it weird that no one has thought of that before?

    Here is Perkins being stupid regarding creationism in public schools and his perception of the Theory of Evolution as leftist brainwashing.

  11. Perkins makes political suggestions: Instead of Obamacare the US should use healthcare funds to bomb Syria - because that is apparently less socialist. But then again, he seems to be a bit confused about the epithets. For instance, he has denounced Christians who want welfare as, among all things, theocrats. Which is … unusual. Here Perkins gets – or continues to get – things precisely idiotic.

    As so many other wingnuts Perkins also recently attacked Obama for quoting Lincoln instead of saying what they think Lincoln should have said.

  12. As delusional as ever, Perkins has declared, once again, that the tide is turning against marriage equality – a nice illustration of his grasp of reality. A similar lack of perspective is displayed by his worry that humanity will die out due to gay rights. (If he genuinely believes that marriage equality will make otherwise heterosexual people to prefer to marry gay instead, one really has to wonder a bit about Perkins’s own proclivities.) Here he is upset that gay and transgender people are allowed to sign up for health insurance. Surely that’s taking equality too far, isn’t it?

    Indeed, gay marriage means that all hell is loose. Gay marriage turns kids gay and hurts the US in the global economic competition; indeed, it will kill the US economy (also here) - for an answer to “how?” you have to ask Perkins, but I doubt that he has a coherent answer. A similar lack of details characterize his assertion that marriage equality will create a level of inequality that has never been seen in our country (also discussed here). As a special case, He also insists that Obama is hurting the black community by supporting marriage equality, and blames Obama for sexual assaults at liberal colleges. Causal mechanism? Well, the powers of Perkins’s intuition trump the absence of any such.

    Here he struggles to figure out what “essentially the same thing” means (when he uses the phrase it seems to mean “not even close,” at least).

  13. But most of all, Perkins is afraid. He is, for instance, afraid of the surely upcoming progressive kristallnacht. After all, there are people out there who disagree with him. That’s the same as wanting to kill him.

    And it is not only gay marriage, but certain progressives’ reliance on what they take to be science. Of course they’re deluded. According to Perkins there is more evidence that God is behind natural disasters than there is of climate change (in fact, the claim is picked from one of the most densely stupid paragraphs ever recorded).

    And once again he is outraged that pro-equality people boycott businesses that have taken a stance against equality – only his side is allowed to boycott businesses for political reasons.