Last week, the Washington Post‘s Dana Milbank wrote a woefully ignorant, stunningly tone-deaf column in which he whitewashed the Family Research Council’s decades-long record of homophobic bigotry, disingenuously depicted the organization as a mainstream group unfairly targeted by the LGBT movement, and called the Southern Poverty Law Center’s labeling of FRC as a hate group “reckless.” Nevermind that the FRC says that that gays are deviants and pedophiles, strongly promotes fraudulent ‘pray-away-the-gay’ therapy, claims that homosexuality is destructive to society, and calls for the imprisonment of gay people — in Milbank’s version of reality, none of those dangerous and demonstrably false claims qualify as hateful.
Milbank’s nauseating piece provoked justifiable outrage and widespread condemnation in the LGBT community and beyond. In fact, Scott Wooledge at Daily Kos reports that the Post has been deluged by negative feedback about the Milbank column, prompting the paper’s Deputy Editorial Page Editor Jackson Diehl to fire off a snarky tweet smearing those upset by Milbank’s distortions as “idiotic” and implying that the glut of critical emails in his inbox caused him to “endorse [Milbank's column] in full.” (Wooledge’s response, over at Daily Kos, is worth reading.)
Needless to say, I and many others have been none too happy with the Washington Post lately. But a recent column by Post writer Becky Garrison provides a breath of fresh air: she discusses the Family Research Council’s history of anti-LGBT extremism, refutes the dangerous assertion made by Milbank and others that hate is only hate when it wears white hoods or swastika armbands, and correctly points out that it was right-wing leaders like FRC’s Tony Perkins — not LGBT groups – who chose to exploit last week’s tragic shooting in an attempt to further their anti-gay agendas:
After a lone gunman opened fire at the headquarters Wednesday of the Family Research Council, 25 groups representing gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people signed a statement indicating they condemned the shooting and stood in solidarity with the Christian advocacy group.
The following day, FRC President Tony Perkins shattered this solidarity by accusing the Southern Poverty Law Center of sparking the shooter’s hatred.
After covering the SPLC’s excellent response to Perkins’ outrageous statement, Garrison continues:
John Becker, director of communications for Truth Wins Out, said such a designation is justified.
“[Wednesday’s] senseless act of violence does not exonerate the Family Research Council and other anti-gay hate groups from the decades they’ve spent slandering, demonizing, and actively lying about the LGBT community. The Southern Poverty Law Center – a venerable civil rights organization that monitors and documents extremism across the country – rightfully labeled the Family Research Council an anti-gay hate group because of its extensive history of spreading malicious, hateful falsehoods about gay people. FRC is not a hate group because of its public policy views, as Mr. Perkins has alleged. It is a hate group because it earned that designation.”
In closing, Garrison encourages Christians to “change the channel” on anti-gay organizations like the FRC and find common ground with LGBT-inclusive groups like Believe Out Loud that, she says, “seek to explore what it truly means to live out the baptismal covenant to welcome all.”
I couldn’t agree more. If you’d like to help spark the kind of change Garrison is writing about, read her Washington Post column in full and share it with friends and family members. The more that people tune out the FRC’s anti-LGBT hatred, the further we all can move towards that common ground.
Note: Just today, the Post published an excellent op-ed written by the new president of the Human Rights Campaign, Chad Griffin, about the importance of “calling out hate when we see it.” It, too, is worth reading.