Is It Fair to Call the Family Research Council a ‘Hate Group’?

Brian Brown of the National Organization for Marriage appeared on CNN this morning in the wake of the Family Research Council shooting. Brown calls for “civil debate” on all sides of the gay rights debate… which is strange coming from a group that says so many awful things about LGBT people. (In fact, the Southern Poverty Law Center labels FRC a hate group.

The reporter did the right thing at that point: She brought up the Hate Group designation and asked Brown to comment on it… then posted an example of what FRC has said about gay people in the past:

“One of the primary goals of the homosexual rights movement is to abolish all age of consent laws and to eventually recognize pedophiles as the ‘prophets’ of a new sexual order.”

Isn’t that hateful? she asked. Brown completely avoided answering the question by saying that sort of statement was perfectly legitimate.

She doesn’t really press him much more more on that, which is too bad.

But it raises a good question in light of what happened: Is it fair to call groups like FRC “hateful”?

David Badash at The New Civil Rights Movement makes the argument that the “Hate Group” designation is appropriate. And it’s not just because they’re anti-gay (or else just about every evangelical Christian church in the country would be on the list):

It’s not that the FRC stands for so-called “traditional” marriage. They are welcome to do that. It’s that the Family Research Council spreads lies and uses junk science that has been thoroughly discredited by practically every major medical organization to do so.

Defending “traditional” marriage doesn’t make you a hate group. Lying about a group of people makes you a hate group.

Bingo. And FRC and like-minded groups refuse to change their minds in light of all the research that says they’re wrong.

Timothy Dalrymple (a Patheos blogger) coincidentally interviewed FRC’s Senior Vice President Rob Schwarzwalder last week and asked him questions about the “hate” word and the research they ignore:

One of the reasons the FRC is sometimes construed as “hateful” is because its representatives, including Peter Sprigg and Tony Perkins, have associated homosexuals and pedophiles. What do you say to these claims?

We’ve never claimed that all homosexuals are pedophiles. Of course not. We would never make that claim. Yet the data does seem to indicate that homosexuals have a significantly higher incidence of pedophilia than heterosexuals. There are many homosexuals who are just as morally horrified by pedophilia as heterosexuals. But the data indicates that there is a higher proportion of pedophiles amongst homosexuals. Whatever the reasons for that, it’s just a statistical fact.

But the supporters of same-sex marriage have their own studies and researchers to point to, and will claim that you’re appealing to “junk science.” How are non-experts to sort through the competing claims and competing data?

I would only say that I know the people who have done the research that we support. I know how rigorous and intellectually honest they are, and also how politically driven many national medical organizations have become.

… because evangelical Christians are known for their scientific rigor and all the national medical organizations just make shit up.

None of this justifies violent actions against the people involved in these groups, of course. No one is condoning that.

All I’m saying is that these two sides are not equal. Just like Rachel Maddow is not a “liberal Rush Limbaugh,” the groups fighting for LGBT rights are not just polar opposites of the bigots. Our side sticks to the facts. Theirs doesn’t.

***Update***: SPLC Senior Fellow Mark Potok has a strong response of his own:

The SPLC has listed the FRC as a hate group since 2010 because it has knowingly spread false and denigrating propaganda about LGBT people — not, as some claim, because it opposes same-sex marriage. The FRC and its allies on the religious right are saying, in effect, that offering legitimate and fact-based criticism in a democratic society is tantamount to suggesting that the objects of criticism should be the targets of criminal violence.

As the SPLC made clear at the time and in hundreds of subsequent statements and press interviews, we criticize the FRC for claiming, in Perkins’ words, that pedophilia is “a homosexual problem” — an utter falsehood, as every relevant scientific authority has stated. An FRC official has said he wanted to “export homosexuals from the United States.” The same official advocated the criminalizing of homosexuality.

Perkins and his allies, seeing an opportunity to score points, are using the attack on their offices to pose a false equivalency between the SPLC’s criticisms of the FRC and the FRC’s criticisms of LGBT people. The FRC routinely pushes out demonizing claims that gay people are child molesters and worse — claims that are provably false. It should stop the demonization and affirm the dignity of all people.

(Thanks to @64spokes for the link)

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • Margaret Whitestone

    Is it fair to call the KKK a hate group?  The Neo-Nazis? 

    The FRC is dedicated to spreading lies about and fostering hatred of LGBT people. They work ceaselessly to keep GLBT people from having basic civil rights.  Yes, they are a hate group. 

    • Wild Rumpus

      The KKK isn’t a hate group. They work positively to promote the rights of white people and support traditional white people’s values. Yes they think black people are subhuman, but they don’t hate them in their totality.

      Also the KKK uses scientifically proven methods like phrenology to prove that all black people are predisposed to be criminals and to support the fact they should be pre emptively all locked up to protect all the good white folks.

      Also, everyone knows being black is a lifestyle choice anyways.

      • Yothisismicah

        Perfect.

  • arethey

    Hypothetical:  is it “hateful” to surmise that homosexuals (primarily men) engage in pedophilia more than do straight men?  

    In the above post, all I see is a cogitation on whether or not the FRC is a “hate-group”, not if their statements are factual or not.  One can’t dismiss fact or stigmatize the investigation of plausible suppositions merely because one dislikes the implications (sound familiar?).

    • unclemike

       They don’t “surmise,” they assert that homosexuals are pedophiles, with absolutely zero evidence to back up their claims.

      The non-factual nature of their statements isn’t what makes them a hate group. Groups have been making false claims for ages without being designated hate groups.

      But the FRC (amongst other groups) continually makes false statements about one certain group of humans in order to denigrate them. That’s a hate group.

    • SwedishSJ

      “stigmatize the investigation of plausible suppositions”
      I lost it right around here.

    • Baby_Raptor

      1) Go Fuck yourself.

      2) Your “plausible” supposition has been proven false already many times. Take your bullshit attempts at legitimizing slandering people elsewhere. 

    • Stev84

      FRC isn’t interested in honest research or facts. They will make up any shit and pull anything out of context to further their reason d’être: stigmatize gay people

    • SpaceViking

      Pedophilia doesn’t fall under the heterosexual/homosexual spectrum because, above all, pedophilia is opportunistic. They take what they can get, not what they prefer. In actuality, pedophilia is much closer to the prison rape phenomena in that it’s usually an exercise in power that happens to have a sexual component.

    • http://dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

      Although the evidence strongly supports the understanding that pedophilia is more common in straight men than gays, so what? FRC admits that not all gays are pedophiles, so that pretty much settles things. Opposition to homosexuality on the grounds that some homosexuals are pedophiles makes as much sense as opposition to heterosexuality because some straight men are pedophiles, or opposition to men in general because some are rapists.

      If their concern were genuinely to protect children from pedophiles, they’d be looking for solutions to that problem. They’re not, which makes their actual motives pretty clear.

    • Patterrssonn

      It’s extra hateful when you know it’s a lie.

    • Coyotenose

       It isn’t in any way a plausible supposition, thanks. That would be true even if it wasn’t already known that pedophilia occurs at the same percentages among heterosexuals as it does among homosexuals.

    • me

      If they were really fighting against pedophiles shouldn’t they be protesting the Catholic Church a well known pedophile institution?

      • rlwemm

         Exactly. 

        OTOH, the Catholic Church has responded with a similarly untenable “solution”:  to do a better job of screening out people who are aware that they have homosexual preferences from commencing study for the priesthood. 

        This helps them ignore the unpalatable and doctrinally incompatible truth:  the problem has very little to do with homosexual preference and a great deal to do with the unnatural sexual repression required of its clergy.

    • rlwemm

      If you are ignorant of the facts then it is not hateful to surmise something that is demonstrably untrue.  That just makes you a deluded idiot that is being manipulated by a group that is motivated to suppress or manipulate any objectively verifiable information that does not support its agenda to harm their target group.  Which group do you belong to?  The Manipulated Idiot group or the Deliberate Bigot group?

  • LesterBallard

    And when a heterosexual male abuses a little girl? What do they call that? Fucking shit stains.

    • rlwemm

       That is called “legitimate rape”.

  • http://profiles.google.com/vic.tanner Vic Tanner

    Hateful? Yes. And delusional. 

  • Baby_Raptor

    Why are we even having this conversation?

    By talking about it, we’re lending credence to their attempt to avoid accountability. 

    They’re a hate group. No questions asked.

  • Gregory Lynn

    When your rhetoric on a topic can be boiled down to telling the entire world that a certain segment of society isn’t good enough to share all the benefits of society then you’re damn right you’re a hate group.

    • brianmacker

      I think this criteria is incorrect.   What if that certain segment are criminals?  Do criminals deserve “all the benefits of society”?    I don’t think so.

      • Margaret Whitestone

         Are you comparing LGBT people with criminals? 

        • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

          Yes, he is. Just ignore the MRA.

      • rlwemm

         I agree.  The FRC does not deserve all the these benefits.

  • Guest

    Of course they are.  The very definition of hate is failure to conform to the Left’s dogmatic definitions of diversity and freethinking group think that arrives at the same conclusion as all other diverse leftists.  After all, leftists today are 100% sure they are 100% right, so obviously their truth is the only acceptable truth that demands conformity.  If not being a secular leftist isn’t hate, I don’t think the term has any meaning, at least in the 21st century.

    FWIW, I love how so many on the left have rushed to move the attention away from the shooter and, not too subtly, onto the agency that was victimized.  That little agenda is getting harder and harder to hide – assuming there are any who still wish to do so.

    • Lucilius

      Amazing. How did you teach your anus to type?

    • Patterrssonn

      You definitely win weirdest gibberish of the day.

    • Baby_Raptor

      Of course, if someone were doing the things that qualifies a group as a hate group, but at Christians, or some other group Guest here approves of, they sure wouldn’t be demonizing it. The SPLC would be a godsend for calling such a group out and would be doing God’s work.

      • Guest

        Well done as well.  Except for OregoniAn, the rest of the responses were the type you expect from children who haven’t passed beyond the third grade.  Which suggests they had little to offer in terms of rebutting my post.

        • Coyotenose

           If you’d said anything that wasn’t lies and trolling, you’d be worth more rebuttals. That a lot of people share your uninformed conspiracy theories do not lend them credibility. Suck it up, crybaby.

        • rlwemm

           You have not provided any indication that you could effectively differentiate between the logic of Third Graders and the logic of distinguish academics.  In any case, your assessment of the rebuttals against your rather uneducated outburst is hardly likely to do more than confirm that you have nothing reasonable to say.

    • RobMcCune

      Try not to go off on a tangent mid-sentence. That’s how word salads get made.

    • OregoniAn

      “FWIW, I love how so many on the left have rushed to move the attention
      away from the shooter and, not too subtly, onto the agency that was
      victimized. ”

      It’s the internet, Guest. Things move along pretty fast ’round here..

      • Guest

        Congrats, you actually responded with an answer.

        • Bball246165

          Previous commentors have already explained why FRC is designated a hate group. They knowingly spread false information that has been debunked. It doesn’t matter if one is left or right. Research has shown FRC is wrong.

    • Piet Puk

      Troll.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=553145445 Gordon Duffy

       “Reality has a well known liberal bias”

    • amycas

       “FWIW, I love how so many on the left have rushed to move the attention
      away from the shooter and, not too subtly, onto the agency that was
      victimized.”

      Within hours of the shooting a spokesperson from FRC blamed the shooting on the SPLC’s labeling them a hate group. The FRC immediately shifted the blame from the shooter to the SPLC. All we’re doing is defending the SPLC and saying that the shooter is responsible.

    • rlwemm

      If you were intent on being reasonable instead of hateful you have consulted a reputable dictionary instead of making up a “definition” of  “hate”.    What you have written is a very good example of what hatred really is. 

  • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

    Notice right at the end he says “that the Family Research Council is the same as some violent hate group”

    Nobody has ever said they are a ‘violent’ hate group.  Just a hate group.  Nice strawman there.

    Edit: also notice zero (approved) comments on the youtube video.

    • Margaret Whitestone

       “Edit: also notice zero (approved) comments on the youtube video.”

      The cowards also don’t allow ratings.

    • Edmond

      THANK YOU!!  I noticed he added “violent” on there too, all by himself, quoting no one, I’m glad I wasn’t the only one to catch that.

  • MV

    And this is an excellent example of why calling for civility is not always a good thing.  It’s a pity the irony is lost on some bloggers.  You can be extremely uncivil while not using any harsh language.

    • randall.morrison90

      And its clear that there are a number of atheist coalitons that would count as hate groups.

      • Baby_Raptor

        Feel free to point some out. 

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=553145445 Gordon Duffy

           but… that would be evidence. Can’t we just take it on faith?

      • rlwemm

        To whom?  To you? What is the evidence for this and what are the characteristics of the people who find it compelling?

    • Margaret Whitestone

       What’s worse, the RW types always call for “civility” after they’ve engaged in the most un-civil speech/actions imaginable.  You know, like the anti-gays were calling for civility after they spent months spewing hateful lies to eradicate marriage equality in California. 

  • Coyotenose

    It’s entirely accurate. What the FRC does is perfectly analogous to Blood Libel.

  • AtoZ

     Pedophilia has nothing to do with sexuality and sexuality has nothing to do with pedophilia.  Linking the two, especially in this way, is nothing be a way to be hateful and link a group you don’t approve of to a group no one approves of.
    Besides if we go off these people’s “logic” we could make the case that the data does seem to indicate that catholic priest have a significantly higher incidence of pedophilia.  Just read this article, http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2012/08/17/the-economist-estimates-the-catholic-church-spent-171600000000-in-2010/.

  • PFLAG

    At 2:37 in the video we see an exact quote from the Family Research Council. At 3:00 in the video notice the nervous sound in Brian Brown’s voice when he says “by no means”. It’s as if Brian Brown had an “oh s***!” thought in his mind when he was put on the spot for something he didn’t expect the country to see. Sorry Mr. Brown but everyone watching just saw why the Family Research Council was listed a hate group when they “cross the line” with that kind of labeling! That is what is totally unacceptable!!!!! Round of applause for CNN for putting that quote up exposing the Family Research Council for what they really are to the country!!!

  • Illusiveanswer

    Any group who “hates” another group’s “likes” could be considered a hate group. Since most “group” beliefs are diametrically opposed to some other “group” beliefs, I suppose all “groups” are “hate” groups.

    • rlwemm

       Not at all.  Most groups aren’t “diametrically opposed”. 

      For example, groups of high school students are not diametrically opposed to groups of elementary school students.  Family groups are not diametrically opposed to singles groups.  Pedestrians are not diametrically opposed to car drivers.  Groups of legitimate scientists are not diametrically opposed to other groups of legitimate scientists. 

      OTOH, pseudo scientists are diametrically opposed to anything factual presented by legitimate scientists.  “Focus on the Family” is opposed to family groups that do not support its ideological agenda.  Students educated in fundamentalist Christian High Schools are opposed to children in other high schools who have not been indoctrinated into their particular brand of dogmatism.

      The difference is in the level of universally accepted credentials of those making the claims, the degree to which the group ignores, twists or manipulates objectively verifiable facts and extent to which they claim absolute or infallible knowledge and the  measure of their authoritarianism.

      A little philosophy is a dangerous thing.  Learn more.

  • PFLAG

    It amazes me how stupid people can be to believe the lies of the Family Researc Council. Take a look at a comment in the comments section in this link by someone named “lolome” which he says:

    “Okay. The SPLC thinsk that the FRC is “spreading hate” by releasing data that show that homosexuals are more likely to be sex offenders. FACT: Homosexuals are both more likely to have been victims of child molestation and are more likely to committ child sexual molestation. There is no “hate” in making the statement, even if it were incorrect. It is a true statement and serves as a warning for parents and organizations that work with children. There are several studies that report these findings. Main stream psychology just like the MSM turns a blind eye to these facts for ideological purposes alone. They care NOTHING about children.”

    http://newsbusters.org/blogs/matt-hadro/2012/08/20/cnn-again-gives-credibility-hate-group-label-frc

    Seriously? Does someone want to relpy to this IDIOT who chooses to believe myth over fact? He mentions about studies that report these findings, what studies? That’s not confirmed by the American Psychological Association, or the Child Molestation and Research and Prevention Institue or even Dr. A. Nicholas Groth, who wrote a letter to the FRC demanding to remove his name from a FRC article about homosexuals molesting children for distorting his work, who is also one of the pioneers in research on sex crimes against children.

    It’s stupid idiots like “lolome”who clearly coose to believe fantasy over reality!!! Yet these are the kind of people the FRC pleases!


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