Wednesday, October 23, 2019

#2256: Frank Simon

The American Family Association is a group of bigoted, unhinged fundamentalists. The national leaders are crazy enough, but the wild-eyed Talibanists you find in their various state chapters might occasionally be even crazier. Frank Simon is the director of the Kentucky chapter, and he believes that the 1962 Supreme Court decision prohibiting government-led prayer in schools led to “the AIDS epidemic and the drug culture” (as well as teen pregnancy and violent crime). Accordingly, legalizing government-led school prayer is “one of the best ways of returning God’s protection to America,” Simon thought, and promptly started a petition to change the Constitution.

No fan of gay people, Simon has a long history of anti-equality activism that borders on the, shall we say, unhinged, in particular through his group Freedom’s Heritage Forum, which in practice is just a de facto lobbying wing for his church. He has for instance promoted, in addition to pseudoresearch by Paul Cameron, Scott Lively’s The Pink Swastika, a piece of Holocaust revisionism that claims not only that gays weren’t systematically murdered by the Nazis, but were rather the architects of the Holocaust. And as Simon sees it, the evil continues: “There are hundreds of children in America who are dying of AIDS because they were sexually abused by homosexuals,” Simon said back in the early 2000s, based on data he found in the place where he usually finds data for his claims. There really are not, and it should be unnecessary to point that out. 

In his anti-gay campaigns, Simon is locally famous for using any means possible to win, and has a long history for instance of paying for anti-equality ads where he tries to link homosexuality to pedophilia. In 2004 he mailed what was more or less gay porn (graphic descriptions of sexual acts) to 65,000 households as part of his attempt to prevent renewal of the Kentucky Fairness Ordinance. The move seems to have backfired somewhat.

Diagnosis: Raging maniac. But Simon is resourceful and desperate enough to use any tricks at his disposal, and has been doing so for decades. So yes, he’s had an impact. It is less clear whether he is overall helping his cause or not.

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