Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The 700 Club on the Family Research Council's Hate-Group Label

The 700 Club recently aired a segment on the Southern Poverty Law Center's decision to list the Family Research Council as a hate group, due to the FRC's promotion of anti-gay falsehoods.  (To read a transcript of the segment, click here.)

While the segment did discuss the mission of SPLC and featured quotes from Intelligence Report editor Mark Potok, it devoted far more attention to conservative anti-gay voices, such as Peter Sprigg and Bishop Harry Jackson. Peter Sprigg of the Family Research Council defended FRC, insisting that his organization presents evidence for its anti-gay views, adding that he doesn't think "the debate should be shut off by these gratuitous charges of hate." Sprigg cited a controversial study published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior, claiming that most male child molesters studied identified as homosexual or bisexual.

The claim that gay and bisexual men allegedly abuse children at higher rates than other populations has been proven incorrect by several sources. Also, Box Turtle Bulletin posted commentary that placed the Archives of Sexual Behavior study in context.

Sprigg and Jackson also claimed that anti-gay activism cannot be equated with racism, with Jackson citing the violence against African-Americans that his father witnessed in the South. Sprigg accused the SPLC of inappropriately extending the hate-group label to organizations that "hold politically incorrect positions on certain issues like homosexuality."

These claims ignore the reality of homophobic violence, as well as homophobic discrimination and discriminatory legislation (i.e., anti-sodomy laws, DOMA, and the now repealed DADT). To claim that racism is a form of oppression and anti-gay attitudes are not is to ignore widespread evidence to the contrary. For Sprigg to claim that homosexuality is simply an "issue" that people can disagree on is to belittle millions of gays and lesbians while ignoring the oppression that LGBT people encounter.

I regret that The 700 Club did not take a more balanced approach to the SPLC's decision to label FRC as a hate group. It appears that some anti-gay voices cannot understand why FRC has warranted this label, or why homophobia is noxious in the first place.

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