Fox News host Megyn Kelly attempted to whitewash the record of one of the country's most prominent anti-gay hate group leaders, ignoring his history of extreme bigotry towards the LGBT community.
During the April 3 edition of America Live, Kelly hosted Tony Perkins - president of the anti-gay hate group the Family Research Council (FRC) - to discuss the faux controversy surrounding comments made by Reverend Luis Leon during this Easter service attended by President Obama. During his homily, Leon highlighted examples of discrimination that he felt were promoted by the religious right:
It drives me crazy when the captains of the religious right are always calling us back ... for blacks to be back in the back of the bus ... for women to be back in the kitchen ... for immigrants to be back on their side of the border.
Kelly rejected the idea that Perkins and other "captains" of the religious right held bigoted and extreme views about the gay community:
KELLY: Tony Perkins, who is president of the Family Research Council. He is on as a captain of the religious right, who we believe is one of the ones being attacked by the reverend in that sermon.
KELLY: Tony, how alienating is that for you? As somebody who's been openly religious and a Christian conservative, to hear folks who believe as you do, that what you really want is you want blacks on the back of the bus, you want women back in the kitchen, you want gays in the closet, and you want immigrants back on their side of the border?
KELLY: It seems like some have given a pass to those who would criticize Christians, conservative Christians and their views on gay marriage, for example, because they just say, 'look, you are just bigots. That's just all there is to it. You're bigots if you're not behind gay rights and that's the civil rights issue of our time and therefore if you're on the wrong side of it you deserve to be condemned.'
PERKINS: Well, as was stated, he rolled into this statement he made on Sunday some very, very loaded language to portray those who would be against the redefinition of marriage as if they were bigots that wanted to see African-Americans at the back of the bus and women back in the kitchen. As Cal [Thomas] said, I don't know what time capsule he came out of, but clearly he is not able to discern the difference between those issues.
But if Leon's comments apply to anyone on the religious right, it's Tony Perkins.
Perkins has a long, well-documented history of extreme, bigoted anti-gay rhetoric, including falsely claiming that gay men are more likely to molest children than straight men and suggesting that openly gay teens commit suicide because they know being gay is "abnormal"
It's also hard to deny that Perkins would prefer gay people to stay "in the closet":
- He's argued that the GOP should stop nominating gay people to public office
- He's claimed that repealing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" would cause a spike in disease and undermine morale
- He's applauded Uganda's "Kill the Gays" bill, calling it an effort "to uphold moral conduct"
And, under his leadership, FRC employees have argued in favor of instituting "criminal sanctions" against gay people, with one FRC spokesperson suggesting that gay people should be deported from the United States.
As for wanting "blacks on the back of the bus," Perkins also reportedly has ties to white supremacists. In 1996, Perkins paid more than $80,000 to use the mailing list of a David Duke, a former chieftain of the Ku Klux Klan, and has given a speech to the Louisiana chapter of the Council of Conservative citizens, a white supremacist group.
Kelly is quick to defend Perkins, who has become a "captain" of the religious right thanks in part to her network's incessant promotion of his brand, but she ignores the realities of Perkins' career.