Senate Subcommittee Invites Hate Group Leader to Testify about Religious Freedom

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Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council

Tony Perkins will be testifying before a Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing today on “protecting religious freedom abroad,” which is not only ironic, because Perkins has repeatedly proven himself anti-religious freedom, but also goes to show that Republicans like hate groups and just can’t stay away from them.

Perkins, of course, is president of the Family Research Council (FRC), which has been designated a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). Perkins is a hater’s hater: he hates gays and lesbians, he hates Muslims, immigrants, secularists – and he hates President Barack Obama.

The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs, chaired by none other than Lindsey Graham, and which also boasts Mitch McConnell as a member, for some reason I cannot fathom, thinks Perkins might be able to make some useful contributions to the topic of “Protecting Religious Freedom Abroad.”

Also testifying will be Fox News commentator and lawyer Jay Sekulow, Chief Counsel for the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), which was founded by Pat Robertson to counter the influence of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), and so, of course, has nothing to do with justice.

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Sekulow self-identifies as a Messianic Jew, a bit of an oxymoron since if you believe in Jesus you are not a Jew (the Israeli Supreme Court agrees) which essentially makes him a fake Christian AND a fake Jew, putting him one up on Perkins in the fakery department.

The invitation prompted Perkins to say,

Religious freedom is a fundamental, inherent, and international human right. It is not merely an American right—though religious freedom was foundational to the very existence of the United States. Additionally, standing for religious liberty should be a vital component of American foreign policy. Defending those whose right to practice their faith is penalized or jeopardized wins our country friends among people throughout the developing world and thus enhances the security of our nation.

The problem is that Perkins thinks only people like him should have religious freedom, meaning his religious freedom is actually religious tyranny. Not exactly the sort of expert you would expect, unless what these Republicans are really interested in is oppressing religious minorities. That is where Perkins’ expertise lies.

As Miranda Blue wrote yesterday at Right Wing Watch,

The inclusion of Perkins threatens to turn a hearing about a critically important issue into a political sideshow. Perkins has consistently used the persecution of Christians abroad as a political bludgeon at home, claiming that LGBT rights in the U.S. are fueling religious persecution worldwide and falsely asserting that President Obama has done nothing to stop the oppression of Christians because he secretly sympathizes with Islamic radicals.

Small wonder then that Senate Republicans, many of whom have already committed treason in order to derail the Iranian peace process, want to hear from a fellow hater like Perkins. He will verify their completely and often catastrophically erroneous preconceptions, and thereby convince them their hate of Obama is not misplaced.

Perkins then, is not only an apologist for a fake religion, which, of course, he calls “true” religion, but for fake facts. And that, it scarce needs be said, plays right into the Republican wheelhouse.

For example, according to radical fake Christian Perkins, Obama is not only a Muslim but a Muslim radical. Not only does Perkins have absolutely no evidence in support of this claim, but he has to ignore the mountains of evidence that this claim is a complete fabrication. Thus we are left with somebody pretending to be a Christian accusing an actual Christian of pretending to be a Christian.

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As I have said here before, Tony Perkins is a fake Christian with an out of control persecution complex. He not only believes that fake Christians like him have more rights than other Christians, but he has rejected the First Amendment entirely, claiming, like Bryan Fischer and the American Family Association, that Islam is not afforded First Amendment protections and that it “tears at the fabric of our democracy.”

Never mind Perkins’ own attempts to tear at the fabric of American democracy.

From the perspective of the rest of us – I’m talking about the huge majority of Americans, regardless of religious self-identification, who are not fake Christians – it doesn’t matter whose religious laws we are forced to live under: they are all incompatible with the United States Constitution’s guarantee of equality before the law and rejection of state-sponsored religion.

As Miranda Blue put it, “Religious persecution around the world is certainly a worthy topic for the Senate to address. But including Tony Perkins in such a hearing is not the way for a committee to convey that it is taking this issue seriously.”

Of course, it is not taking the matter seriously, except as another means to attack President Obama.

Tony Perkins is the last person who ought to be summoned to the Senate to talk about religious freedom. This is a blatant case of pandering to the so-called Religious Right and to hate groups that share Republican biases against ethnic and religious minorities. And it shows that the Republican-dominated Senate has, as the last thing on its mind, actually working on behalf of the American people.

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Inviting hate group leader Tony Perkins to speak about religious freedom is just more evidence of the GOP’s farcical approach to governance.

Perkins will be testifying today 2 PM EST in the Dirksen Senate Office Building, Room 124.

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