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Tony Perkins’ Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

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Tony Perkins yesterday had a horrible, no good, very bad day. On Thursday, Perkins appeared on Chris Matthews‘ MSNBC show, “Hardball,” and for the first time ever, Chris Matthews actually played hardball with Perkins. Perkins, head of the certified anti-gay hate group Family Research Council, thought he was appearing to discuss President Obama’s position on same-sex marriage. Perkins no doubt was assuming he could just spew his usual anti-gay religious junk-science-shrouded boilerplate hate, but instead ended up being in the hot seat, having to try to defend his own positions on marriage and homosexuality, rather than attacking the President’s.

Matthews, who has been repeatedly asked to stop inviting Perkins onto “Hardball,” recently admitted he and his producers have been debating just that. Apparently, the decision was to treat Perkins as a hostile witness — which is why Hardball is named Hardball — and not as an emissary of the Holy See. It’s about time.

Matthews attacked Perkins, who has presided over the Family Research Council, one of the most virulently homophobic right wing activist organizations, (which was, to put it biblically, created from the rib of Focus On The Family — another radical religious right anti-gay group,) on his anti-gay positions, including his ludicrous recent statement that he would never have a gay child because he and his wife have been teaching their children the “right ways.”

It was a one-two punch, with Congressman Barney Frank doing some of the heavy lifting when Matthews was done.

This is how leaders of hate groups should be treated by real journalists — instead of how they’re usually treated. Allowed to not answer questions, these anti-gay haters generally get a pass from journalists, like Wolf Blitzer on CNN, and use their time to spew their real agendas: anti-gay hate.

But Hardball wasn’t the only door to close on Tony Perkins yesterday.

Perkins, who has been the head of the anti-gay hate group, FRC, since 2003, (although he was a Louisiana State Representative until 2004,) started his day with Soledad O’Brien on CNN’s “Starting Point.” O’Brien has been very chummy before with Perkins, and even extended that post-interview camaraderie to Twitter, where in March blogger Matt Algren took O’Brien to task for not revealing Perkins’ background. While she claimed she was going to have to disagree with Algren’s comment, “You wouldn’t have a Klan leader on and pretend it wasn’t a problem,” perhaps O’Brien actually did her research this time, and found out that Tony Perkins has financially supported the KKK.

O’Brien asked Perkins what was his “big argument against gay marriage,” and Perkins pulled out his typical boilerplate response. “Well, it’s an argument for marriage.” Any journalist worth their salt would never let that claptrap twisting go unchallenged.

“When government takes a policy position on marriage, it has an effect,” Perkins responded, tossing in 1960s-era no-fault divorce and adoption as culprits in his imaginary war on marriage.

“We’ve seen the consequences of that and have over 40% of children being born out of wedlock. We have a decline in marriage, the rise in cohabitation. The social costs of that are tremendous,” Perkins lamented.

O’Brien challenged: “When government took a position, let’s say, against the ban on interracial marriage it had an effect too, right? It brought legal marriage to blacks and whites.”

“You’re talking about redefinition,” Perkins said. “There is no rational reason to keep people of different races that were of opposite sex to marry. They met the qualifications of the definition of marriage. What we’re talking about here is a further redefinition of marriage…”

“But hasn’t marriage been redefined and redefined?” O’Brien interjected.

“It’s going to intentionally create environments where you have children growing up without a mom and a dad,” Perkins argued.

“But we have environments where children grow up,” O’Brien responded. “Forgive me for interrupting, but we have environments already in heterosexual couples where they grow up without a mom or dad. You’re certainly not arguing gay marriage is fine as long as the couples don’t want to have kids because you will avoid that problem, kids growing up without a mom or a dad, or an older couple who aren’t going to have kids?”

“There’s no argument that those things have occurred and that the state of marriage in this country is problematic,” Perkins conceded. “There’s no argument there. What I’m saying is you look at the consequence, the cost do government as a result of that, the increased social cost. Why would we want to intentionally do more of that? The point here is public policy — what we set doesn’t mean that everybody is going to reach that standard but we should set a standard that is best for society.”

“Doesn’t public policy follow culture? But it sounds to me like you’re saying public policy sets culture. I would say culture maybe actually goes first and public policy follows?” O’Brien followed up. “Certainly if you’re going to talk about equality and rights to sort of say, well, you know, I’m concerned about this issue, so we’ll overlook the equal rights part of it. seems a little unfair at the least.”

“Well, it’s not an issue of equal rights,” Perkins said. “Everybody has the same rights.”

O’Brien wasn’t having it, and continued pressuring Perkins, who trotted out his incest laws as reasons to discriminate against gays, and added in all the terrible trouble, albeit unsupported, same-sex marriage would cause businesses.

Noting that, “my mom’s white, my dad’s black,” O’Brien said that “marriage is always being ‘redefined.'”

“Marriage has always been the union of a man and a woman,” Perkins said.

“Marriage has always been, as someone has decided to define it,” O’Brien said. “We’re going to agree to disagree on this one,” she added.

http://videos.mediaite.com/embed/player/?content=S7K17G386SJWZ74L&content_type=content_item&layout=&playlist_cid=&media_type=video&widget_type_cid=svp&read_more=1

But it wasn’t just the all-out war on Hardball or the rough and tumble on CNN that was troublesome for Perkins.

GLAAD’s new President, Herndon Graddick Thursday afternoon posted an excellent op-ed on The Huffington Post, “CNN Has Its Own ‘Evolving’ to Do on Marriage Coverage,” attacking the news network for hosting Perkins without telling the audience exactly who Tony Perkins really is:

So with a wealth of political thinkers, analysts and strategists to go to — why has CNN turned to Tony Perkins three times in the last few days to represent the “other side?” He was on with Piers Morgan Tuesday night to talk about the vote in North Carolina. He appeared with Wolf Blitzer Wednesday evening to talk about the President’s support for marriage equality, and then was interviewed by Soledad O’Brien Thursday morning on the same topic.

All of this is fine, as long as Perkins is put into the proper context. Which he sort-of was by Morgan and O’Brien, but Blitzer didn’t even come close.

Here’s the crux of the problem — and the exact reason why GLAAD’s Commentator Accountability Project was born. Tony Perkins and others of his ilk cannot be used to exemplify those who simply oppose marriage equality. CNN is more than welcome to interview him on the issue of marriage equality, of course. His is unquestionably one of the loudest voices in the nation speaking about the issue.

But when Perkins gets interviewed, a responsible journalist needs to tell the audience exactly who Perkins is speaking for. Based on his own statements — Tony Perkins represents people who believe supporting LGBT equality is akin to being a terrorist. Who believe marriage equality is the same as bestiality. Who say that gay people are “vile,” “hateful,” “spiteful” “pawns of the enemy.” Tony Perkins does not represent people who oppose marriage equality. Tony Perkins represents those who oppose LGBT people — period.

If CNN wants that side represented in this discussion, then Perkins is absolutely the right man for the job. But they need to make it clear to the audience that that’s what he’s there for. And by not doing so, they have not told the whole story. Wolf Blitzer’s interview with Perkins is a perfect example of this.

Blitzer asked Perkins how he felt when he heard the news, that Obama supports marriage. Fine. He then asked Perkins “What’s wrong with giving gay Americans the same rights as heterosexual Americans?” Then he asked Perkins whether he agrees with Romney about giving same-sex couples hospital visitation rights. He followed it up with “What about allowing gay couples to be on each other’s health insurance policies? Would you have a problem with that?”

What on earth was Blitzer doing here? Why were we spending so much time finding out exactly which rights Perkins does and doesn’t support gay couples having? Finally he ended the interview.

Blitzer: “Do you accept the concept that gay people are born that way?” (Which Perkins answered by incorrectly claiming “there is no conclusive evidence to suggest being gay is genetic.”)

Seriously. That’s what he closed with. Blitzer had five minutes to discuss the significance of a sitting president endorsing marriage equality with one of the leaders of the country’s anti-gay movement, and the audience learned next to nothing about this issue.

The LGBT media has had a field day with this. The Advocate’s headline, “Barney Frank, Chris Matthews Shred Tony Perkins for Antigay Views,” one example, AmericaBlog’s “Chris Matthews takes down Tony Perkins over gay rights,” another.

But mainstream media outlets have not let this go unignored, with even The Washington Post weighing in: CNN’s O’Brien jousts with Tony Perkins on gay marriage, and of course, Mediaite: “Soledad O’Brien Tangles With Tony Perkins Over Whether Marriage Has Ever Been Redefined.”

(In all fairness, we should note the CNN video and some of the O’Brien-Perkins transcript were from the Mediaite piece.)

But Perkins didn’t even have to be present for his day to end poorly. Thursday night, MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell schooled a non-present Perkins on the Bible, and marriage.

Via The Advocate:

Social conservatives like Perkins, the president of the Family Research Council, have grown accustomed to claiming that allowing same-sex couples to marry is “redefining” marriage, and that redefining it alone is a radical step.

But marriage has actually had to be legally redefined several times — to allow interracial marriages, for example. Or, to ban polygamy. O’Donnell points out that Perkins and other religious aficionados should know this well if they read their Bibles.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/32545640

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Tony Perkins on Wednesday no doubt thought President Obama’s embrace of same-sex marriage would keep him in business for a long time to come.

On Thursday, responsible journalists decided otherwise.

Perkins yesterday had a really bad day. And unlike the children’s book by a similar title, it’s not going to end well. There will be no lessons learned, no optimism to find. This was the first of many more.

It won’t be long before Perkins appearing on CNN, MSNBC, or in other polite media outlets will be as unconscionable as David Duke or other KKK leaders being interviewed on cable TV.

And that’s the way it should be.
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OPINION

‘By Design’: Johnson Falsely Claims Democrats Are Trying to Turn ‘Illegals’ Into Voters

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Embattled Republican Speaker of the House Mike Johnson traveled nearly 1000 miles on Friday afternoon to appear with Donald Trump in a live joint press conference at Mar-a-Lago to promote legislation banning non-U.S. citizens from voting, which has been a federal law, and a felony, since 1997.

But Johnson used the event to attack Democrats, falsely accusing them of a conspiracy to increase the number of undocumented immigrants in the U.S. for the direct and distinct purpose of pushing them to vote illegally in U.S. elections.

The Speaker offered no proof of the existence of this conspiracy.

“We only want U.S. citizens to vote in U.S. elections,” Johnson said, standing next to Trump (video below), “but there are some Democrats who don’t want to do that. We believe that one of their designs, one of the reasons for this open border, which everybody asked all around the country, why would they do this? Why would they allow all this chaos? Why the violence? Because they want to turn these people into voters.”

READ MORE: ‘Staged Photo Op’ of Trump With Black Chick-fil-A Patrons Was ‘True Retail Politics’ Says Fox News

Non-citizens voting in a U.S. election is punishable by deportation, massive fines, and/or numerous years in prison.

“Right now the administration is encouraging illegals to go to their local welfare office to sign up for benefits,” Johnson, one of the top election deniers in the country, claimed as he explained his conspiracy theory. He did not state how the Biden Administration is communicating with undocumented immigrants, nor did he offer proof of these communications.

He also did not state that the vast majority of undocumented immigrants are ineligible for any government welfare program.

“Well, guess what? When you go to a welfare office, they also ask you if you would like to register to vote, and so many people, we think are going to do that.”

Again, Johnson offered no proof of undocumented immigrants doing that, and in fact, as the Brennan Center for Justice reported just this week, that is not happening.

“States have multiple systems in place to deter noncitizen voting. Those who violate the law face prison time and deportation,” the Brennan Center reported.

If you were undocumented, the Brennan Center asked, “Would you risk everything — your freedom, your life in the United States, your ability to be near your family — just to cast a single ballot?”

Johnson went on to state, “there’s so many millions of illegals in the country, that if only one out of 100 voted, they would cast potentially hundreds of thousands of votes in the election. That could turn an election.”

It could, but it isn’t happening.

RELATED: Johnson Moves for Trump Protection Against Greene With Mar-a-Lago Joint Press Conference

“President Biden has created a catastrophe and he did it by design,” Johnson alleged. “Why invite everybody from around the world to come here, including hardened criminals and dangerous persons?”

Neither President Biden nor his administration invited “everybody from around the world to come here,” but what if he did? Why shouldn’t he, if America is the greatest country on earth, why shouldn’t the President invite, urge people from other countries to lawfully come to America, the land of opportunity, the land of the free, the home of the brave, where immigrants have been called the “backbone” of the nation.

Federal laws can help keep “hardened criminals and dangerous persons” out, and federal border agents could do a better job if Donald Trump had allowed a vote on the Senate bipartisan border bill.

Johnson also claimed that immigration “has all sorts of terrible effects on the American people. We know that fentanyl is the leading cause of death for Americans aged 18 to 49.”

Most of the fentanyl flooding the country is smuggled in by Americans, not “across the border” but through U.S. ports of entry. Nearly nine out of ten fentanyl smugglers are U.S. citizens, according to the right wing Cato Institute.

Watch a portion of Speaker Johnson’s remarks below or at this link.

READ MORE: ‘Bless Those Who Persecute You’: Johnson Invokes Bible Amid Greene’s Ouster Threat

 

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OPINION

‘Staged Photo Op’ of Trump With Black Chick-fil-A Patrons Was ‘True Retail Politics’ Says Fox News

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As Donald Trump continues to try to make inroads with Black voters, his allegedly spontaneous viral visit to an Atlanta Chick-fil-A on Wednesday came at just the right time for the indicted ex-president as the patrons and staff, mostly young Black women, appeared to gush over him.

Fox News went wild over the encounter, calling it a “surprise visit.

Video showed Trump casually declaring in the middle of the restaurant, with his arms opened wide, “Let me give you a hug,” and a young woman running over into his arms.

“Fox & Friends” co-host Lawrence Jones the next morning called it, “such an organic moment because you had all these people that obviously knew the president was there but were Trump supporters as well. Minorities.”

Jones then painted the stark “contrast” between President Joe Biden’s State Dinner with the Prime Minister of Japan on Wednesday evening, and the ex-president who just happened to walk into a Chick-fil-A and ordered 30 milkshakes. Jones appeared agitated by the Biden State Dinner, saying, “You got the current president, the ‘smoozing,’ State Dinner, you got the Clinton – why does another former president have to do a State Dinner with the current president? I think that’s strange.”

But it had not taken long for some to say it seemed staged.

READ MORE: ‘Extremely Concerned’: School Board’s ‘Christian Values’ Candidate Search Sparks Criticism

“The odds of Trump walking into a Chick-Fil-A in a big city like Atlanta, and every single customer in there just happening to be a supporter, are infinitesimally small. The whole thing was obviously staged to ensure that only his supporters were inside,” observed the social media account for The Palmer Report just hours after the Chick-fil-A visit took place.

MeidasTouch Network on Friday reports, “Trump’s Viral Hug At Chick-fil-A Was With a MAGA Operative,” and notes the woman Trump supposedly spontaneously hugged, Michaelah Montgomery “is a ‘political consultant’ and former Georgia GOP intern.”

Former CNN commentator Keith Boykin, the co-founder of the National Black Justice Coalition, wrote: “I knew it! Trump’s Chick-fil-A stop was a staged photo op with Black Republican supporters. Michaelah Montgomery, the Black woman who told Trump that ‘we support you,’ actually runs a conservative group and worked with Candace Owens’s Blexit Foundation.”

Ron Filipkowski, editor-in-chief of MeidasTouch, explained, “Just like his fake union rally & lie about calling Ruby Garcia’s family, the Trump excursion to Chick-fil-A was a staged op with a political consultant who has done work with the GOP, Charlie Kirk & Candace Owens’ orgs.” Linking to their report, Filipkowski, an attorney and former Republican calls it a “pattern of fraud.”

READ MORE: ‘Spoiler’ Questions Swirl as Trump Says He Would Vote for RFK Jr. ‘If I Were a Democrat’

The liberal PAC PatriotTakes reposted a Trump campaign video, added screenshots, and wrote, “These Trump photo ops are pre-staged with supporters prior to his arrival.”

Despite all this evidence, Friday afternoon Fox News continued to hype the two-day old “viral” event, with host John Roberts telling viewers, “That was a true retail politics moment there. Biden goes in to get ice cream, he grabs himself a double scoop and walks out. Trump goes in and buys everyone lunch.”

Watch the videos above or at this link.

READ MORE: Trump-Johnson Mar-a-Lago Meet to Push Ban on ‘Non-Citizen’ Voting – Which Is Already a Felony

 

 

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News

‘Extremely Concerned’: School Board’s ‘Christian Values’ Candidate Search Sparks Criticism

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Wisconsin’s Cedar Grove-Belgium School District Board of Education postponed a scheduled public event to share with the community its narrowed-down list of candidates to become the next superintendent of schools after a former schools superintendent raised concerns about the process. The school board cited a “shift in the timeline” as the reason for the delay.

Retired St. Francis Superintendent Carol Topinka pointed out the Cedar Grove-Belgium School District’s job posting listed “Christian values” and “conservative politics” as desired characteristics for candidates to be considered by the board, as Wisconsin Public Radio (WPR) reports.

“Help me understand how a public school district can legally limit its hiring to people who are Christians?” Topinka wrote in an email to the Illinois-based firm hired to conduct the search for the schools superintendent, WPR reported. A friend of Topinka who applied for the job pointed out the “desired characteristics.”

“My mentee is not a Christian and is frankly gobsmacked that a public school district can blatantly and prejudicially flout the law,” Topinka wrote.

“Thanks for your email,” responded Mike Richie of Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates. “That was a comment made during the focus groups and you are correct that should not have been in the report. It will be removed. Thanks.”

School Board President Chad Hoopman “said as part of the process of hiring the superintendent focus groups met and ‘any characteristic mentioned by any participant in attendance is recorded and appears on the list of traits for that particular focus group for complete transparency to any potential candidates to review.'”

An undated post on the school district’s website announcing the search states, “base salary range expected to be $140,000-$180,000 (based on experience).”

It adds, “As the district looks ahead, it seeks a leader who aligns with its values and shares a commitment to preserving the traditional principles that have made Cedar Grove-Belgium a unique and cherished educational community.”

The ACLU is raising concerns.

“The Civil Rights Act of 1964 makes it illegal for employers to discriminate on the basis of religion, including in the recruitment phase,” Ryan Cox, legal director with ACLU of Wisconsin told WPR. “The ACLU of Wisconsin is extremely concerned that a public body might be attempting to apply a religious test as a condition of employment, or even as a preferred ‘qualification.’”

Wisconsin Democratic U.S. Congressman Mark Pocan called it, “a complete disregard for the Civil Rights Act of 1964. You can’t hire based on religion for a public position.”

Meanwhile, the chair of a Wisconsin chapter of Moms for Liberty, which the Southern Poverty Law Center has labeled an anti-government extremist group, falsely claimed Christians are now being excluded from the search.

“In the era of woke ‘inclusive’ paganism, everyone is welcome… except for Christians,” Scarlett Johnson wrote on social media. Stating the ACLU “plans to investigate” the district “for their heresy,” Johnson added, “Imagine stating that ‘Christian Values’ in a superintendent might be good! How dare this community in Sheboygan, WI, stray from the qu-er gender-bending multicultural god to whom leftist wing radicals worship and sacrifice!”

Johnson also claimed ACLU attorneys “will investigate and deconstruct whiteness wherever they find it and look into past actions taken by the board as well.”

“Don’t worry, folks,” Johnson continued. “Christians will not have a voice in YOUR public school. The WPR and ACLU will be sure to take appropriate action. Rest easy and watch a drag show with someone else’s kids.”

 

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