Extremists of Many Stripes Gather at Values Voter Summit 2011
The anti-gay hate group Family Research Council (FRC) brought quite a collection of extremists to Washington, D.C., for its Values Voter Summit 2011 (VVS). According to the FRC, the event, which is being held today and tomorrow at the Omni Shoreham Hotel, has an attendance of some 3,000. It’s co-sponsored by organizations, like the American Family Association (AFA), that join the FRC in demonizing of the LGBT community. (The Southern Poverty Law Center today ran an advertisement in the Washington Post detailing these groups’ false claims about LGBT people). But bigotry toward gays and lesbians is not the only kind on display here today. Muslims took quite a beating, too. Speakers repeatedly expressed their fears about gay marriage and the expansion of LGBT rights. In his opening remarks, FRC President Tony Perkins warned that President Obama was “redefining the family” by refusing to defend the Defense of Marriage Act and by repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT). In a session Perkins moderated about the military, he wondered, given the repeal of DADT, who would protect those with “politically incorrect values?”
The extremism was most vivid in the main exhibit halls. Maybe the weirdest bunch in were from the American Society for Tradition, Family and Property (TFP), a self-described Catholic organization whose representatives seemed to be wearing red cloaks. The TFP table had a particularly noxious pamphlet – “10 Reasons Why Homosexual ‘Marriage’ is Harmful and Must be Opposed” – that argued that same-sex marriage “ignores a child’s best interests” and that it “turns a moral wrong into a Civil Right.” The pamphlet blamed same-sex marriage for forcing Christians to “betray their consciences by condoning … an attack on the natural order.” Another TFP pamphlet warned hysterically about the dangers of “socialism,” which, for some unknown reason, given our hyper-capitalist economy, they seem to think is on the march and targeting “traditional marriage” and “parental rights.” Anti-gay propaganda from the FRC and AFA was also on hand.
There was a table operated by the “Shariah Awareness Action Network,” a coalition that includes anti-Muslim hate groups. They were giving out material against the so-called “9/11 Mosque” – actually a Muslim cultural center run by a moderate cleric and called Park51 – that claimed “it will be a place for Islamic radicals around the world to celebrate their victory.”