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Get to know your American Taliban — Tony Perkins, Family Research Council

Tony Perkins earns the seal of “dangerous” from Al Franken, who has invited him to be on his Air America radio show.

There’s a great profile of over-the-top wingnut and Family Research Council President Tony Perkins in the Louisiana Times-Picayune, called “Conservative Christians pray Bush takes Cue.” The frequent talking head is favored by the chat shows when they need to get a fringe voice on gay marriage, abortion and “family values.” You might laugh at this guy, but he has an $11 million budget and a country full of pastors that are organized to push FRC’s agenda, and the piece shows that he knows how to throw his weight around with the Bush admin.

Since President Bush won re-election and Republicans increased their majorities in the House and Senate — developments Perkins credits largely to what he calls “values voters” concerned about gay marriage and the continuation of policies that “promote abortion on demand” — Perkins has not been subtle in suggesting it’s time for Bush and the GOP Congress to deliver.

It’s fine for the White House to champion overhauling Social Security and the tax code, Perkins said, but voters really want a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage and confirmation of conservative judges who will eventually create the impetus to overturn the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision that established abortion rights more than 30 years ago.

“These value issues, which have gotten very little play from the White House since the election, need to be kept front and center,” said Perkins, who wasted little time in responding when Bush was quoted in the Washington Post in a way that suggested that he wouldn’t press senators to pass a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.

Perkins is undaunted by those who suggest he is exaggerating the role of issues such as gay marriage in the most recent election cycle. That includes some liberal religious leaders who say gay marriage is far less a threat to families than fathers who abandon their families or policies that make it hard for parents to provide for their children.

“Yes, religious conservatives were important. Yes, they contributed to the Republican victory, but to say that the victory was dependent on them would certainly be a stretch,” said Corwin Smidt, director of the Paul Henry Institute for the Study of Christianity and Politics in Grand Rapids, Mich.

…But Perkins said that in Ohio alone a network led by hundreds of ministers helped increase turnout among Christian conservatives. Perkins said that group included African-American ministers who helped Bush get a share of the black vote that historically goes overwhelmingly for Democrats. That was a decisive factor in giving Bush a 118,000-vote margin in a state he had to win to remain in the White House, Perkins said.

Again, I’m beating a dead horse, but the Democratic leadership better wake up. The Right is not going to leave gay marriage alone. You are going to have respond with a real position on gay civil rights. These folks are relentless and will continue to mobilize against candidates that take a mealy-mouth “position” and win. They have the money, the boots on the ground, and most of all, commitment to their agenda because they believe that they are right. Where are the Dems?

Patrick Guerriro hopes Tony Perkins will see the light and endorse the idea of civil unions. Bahahahahahaha.

OK, the next section of this excerpt just about made my head explode. We have fellow talking head and Log Cabin Republican head Patrick Guerriero schmoozing on Perkins. Why doesn’t he get that the religious right is unhinged? They have not and will not moderate their position on giving you rights.

Guerriero, who often appears opposite Perkins on cable news segments debating gay marriage, praised Perkins for his civility. “Despite our fundamental disagreement on this one issue, we have always dealt with each other with respect,” he said.

His one hope, Guerriero said, is that Perkins eventually will see the “morality and basic fairness” of at least giving gay couples the option of civil unions so they can visit their partners in hospitals, provide their partners with health benefits and pass on their inheritance when they die. [Patrick, keep dreaming — they want to burn you at the stake.]

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding