Big news this week from the Gianforte for Governor campaign, as the Congressman touted the endorsement of the Family Research Council Action PAC, the political wing of an organization that wants to outlaw abortion in the United States and espouses such vile rhetoric about the LGBTQ community that the Southern Poverty Law Center named them a hate group.
The Family Research Council, headed by Tony Perkins, has been around since the Reagan era, and while it describes itself as a Christian organization focused on faith and family, its primary purpose has been to stoke the flames of the culture war by attacking the LGBTQ community.
How bad are they? This bad.
- In 2010, Perkins claimed that “activists like to claim that pedophilia is a completely distinct orientation from homosexuality, evidence shows a disproportionate overlap between the two. … It is a homosexual problem.”
- In 2011, he argued that it was “disgusting” to show LGBTQ kids the “It Gets Better” video, which was designed to help them see that they could overcome bullying and abuse.
- In 2010, they opposed a Congressional resolution condemning proposed legislation in Uganda that would have imposed the death penalty on the LGBTQ community.
- They support cruel and psychologically damaging conversion therapy (the kind Gianforte has funded in the past), a practice that is so destructive and scientifically unsound that nineteen states, including Utah, have banned the practice.
- They promote discredited, misrepresented pseudo-science suggesting that LGBTQ people are pedophiles, can’t parent children as well as straight parents, and suffer from mental illness because of their sexuality.
- They compared the treatment of a baker forced to not discriminate against his gay customers to the Holocaust.
And let’s not forget this detail about FRC Action:
For the past few years, Josh Duggar, eldest son of the 19 in the Duggar clan, has been the face of the Family Research Council (FRC) at rallies against LGBT equality across the country. As executive director of FRC Action, the organization’s political arm, he helped fundraise for the organization, hobnob with Republican presidential contenders, and promote its anti-LGBT talking points, including claiming that his lesbian aunt “chooses” her “lifestyle” and that LGBT people are a threat to children. But Duggar just resigned from FRC after admitting to allegations that he molested several young girls as a teenager, including some of his sisters.
That’s just a small sample of the way they use a potent cocktail of bigotry and pseudoscience to fundraise to promote candidates like Greg Gianforte and the lifestyle of their leadership team.
It’s not just LGBTQ issues, of course. The FRC is also bent on destroying reproductive rights, embracing a radical worldview that would outlaw all abortion and even many forms of birth control. From Rewire News:
FRC’s animus toward reproductive rights is clear. On its website, the group advocates for “equal protection under the law” for zygotes, embryos, and fetuses. In practice, this kind of “personhood” policy would outlaw and criminalize abortion and certain kinds of birth control. FRC also opposes over-the-counter contraception (including hormonal birth control and the morning-after pill); advocates allowing health-care providers to claim religious objections to providing essential care to patients; opposes fetal tissue research; claims (with no evidence) that “motherhood in the context of marriage promotes positive health outcomes for women”; and supports crisis pregnancy centers that lie to patients.
And, of course, Greg Gianforte has personally funded the very “crisis pregnancy centers that lie to patients,” too.
If Greg Gianforte were truly the candidate he’s pretending to be in 2020—someone who is more interested in promoting sound business policy than in a reactionary social agenda—he wouldn’t tout the FRC endorsement. He’d probably reject it for the toxic, hate-filled mess it is.
But Congressman Gianforte not only bragged about their endorsement, he essentially paid for it, a case made by Tim Fox supporter and former Comms Director Eric Sell on Twitter, who pointed out that Gianforte gave the FRC $20,000 in 2015 alone :
— Eric Sell (@EricSell) February 7, 2020
The FRC endorsement captures the Gianforte 2020 strategy. Just like he did the with the rabidly anti-abortion Susan B. Anthony List endorsement, Gianforte is going to use his money to buy the endorsements of right-wing organizations from the D.C. swamp to fire up the Montana conservative base and undermine his opponents.
Important as that story is–and I’m quite certain it is important to Tim Fox and Al Olszewski–the real question is what kind of person donates money to organizations like the FRC? To horrific conversion therapy centers? To “crisis centers” that prey on those seeking abortions?
Gianforte is going to answer every question between now and November with a variant on “Susan and I started a business thirty years ago” or “President Trump…” because he doesn’t want us to know the truth: he’s still the same bigot who wants to impose his version of Christianity on Montana, no matter the consequences.
The way Gianforte spends his money and the people who endorse him (after receiving that money) make it perfectly clear that he’s an extremist and he’s a threat to equality.
No amount of money will change either.