As the eve of this year's Values Voter Summit approaches, presidential contender Mitt Romney has remained silent about sharing a stage with Bryan Fischer, the controversial president of the American Family Association, one of the sponsors of this weekend's annual conference.
While Fischer has made headlines for his statements condemning Muslims, Mormons, and gay men and lesbians, Romney has been making his own headlines for not condemning Fischer's divisive rhetoric. Advocacy groups such as People for the American Way (PFAW), which publishes Right Wing Watch, and hate-group-designator the Southern Poverty Law Center have repeatedly called for Romney and other GOP presidential candidates to disassociate themselves from Fischer as they did last year. This issue has also infiltrated mainstream media: On Wednesday The New York Times attempted -- to no avail -- to get Romney on the record about associating with Fischer.
Thursday, PFAW President Michael Keegan posted an open letter to Romney in the Huffington Post, which reads, in part:
Bryan Fischer deserves to be a marginalized figure, not a celebrity embraced by the mainstream GOP. I hope that you won't silently hand over the microphone at a nationally televised event to a man with such a record of bigotry - including towards members of your own faith. Will you publicly distance yourself from Fischer and his dangerous rhetoric? [...]
- held gays responsible for the Holocaust and likened them to domestic terrorists and Nazis who are intent on committing "virtual genocide" against the military, asserts that "homosexuals should be disqualified from public office" and has even called for the re-criminalization of homosexuality; [...]
Fischer, however, is not alone in his flair for controversial language, particularly where minority groups are concerned. Using PFAW's Who's Who guide and The American Independent News Network's previous reporting, TAI brings you a snapshot of noteworthy words that have fallen out of the mouths of Values panelists speaking Friday. Political leaders and candidates have been bolded.
Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council (FRC) and lobbying arm FRC Action, which are the main VVS organizers, is scheduled to open Friday's morning plenary session, to be immediately followed by House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), whose office this week announced it is raising a $750,000 spending cap to $1.5 million to former U.S. Solicitor General Paul Clement, who is defending the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) is scheduled to follow Boehner.
Perkins speaking about the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” at the Oak Initiative Summit in May:
“[T]he homosexual community, the activists, they are very aggressive. … Our response to them should be one of love and of compassion. ... To me that is the height of hatred, to be silent when we know there are individuals that are engaged in activity, behavior and an agenda that will destroy them and our nation.”
Perkins in an August FRC donor letter condemning President Obama's endorsement of syndicated columnist Dan Savage's anti-teen-bullying campaign the It Gets Better Project:
"Can you imagine George Washington, Ronald Reagan, or any other president telling school children that it’s okay to be immoral and that they’ll eventually feel better about it? It’s disgusting. And it’s part of a concerted effort to persuade kids that homosexuality is okay and actually to recruit them into that ‘lifestyle.’”
Next in line is the retired Lt. Gen. Benjamin Mixon, who served in Iraq in as a commander in Iraq between 2006 through 2007. Last year, Mixon was censured by military officials for openly opposing the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" in a March 2010 letter published in Stars and Stripes:
"I suspect many servicemembers, their families, veterans and citizens are wondering what to do to stop this ill-advised repeal of a policy that has achieved a balance between a citizen’s desire to serve and acceptable conduct."
Scheduled to follow those speakers are Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) and Reps. Ann Marie Buerkle (R-N.Y.), Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo.), Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.) and presidential candidate Rick Santorum, who, as TAI has documented, has made many controversial public statements about gay people.
Scheduled to speak after Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), Texas Gov. Rick Perry and a conservative media panel is Laura Ingraham, talk show host for "The Laura Ingraham Show." Following her appearance on the Colbert Report last year, where host Stephen Colbert accused her of making "hideous, hackneyed racial stereotypes" about President Obama in her new book, Ingraham has once again been accused of making racist statements about the president.
Ingraham on her radio show this week, suggesting that Obama became president because of affirmative action and that he is not as black as presidential contender Herman Cain:
"What happens when individuals get pushed into positions, or elevated to positions for which they're not qualified? ... This is a problem with affirmative action, is that people get pushed, pushed, pushed farther than their abilities can match the position, and then they just keep failing, then they feel terrible about themselves, then everyone's annoyed. ... Well I have a question. Herman Cain, if he became president, he would be the first black president, when you measure it by -- because he doesn't -- does he have a white mother, white father, grandparents, no, right? So Herman Cain ... he could make the claim to be the first -- yeah, the first Main Street black Republican to be the president of the United States. Right?"
Ingraham will be followed by Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), former Texas Solicitor General Ted Cruz, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, and Herman Cain.
Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal are scheduled to precede Star Parker, president and founder of the Center for Urban Renewal and Education (CURE), who has made vitriolic statements pertaining abortion and LGBT rights.
Parker on the American Family Radio's "Today's Issues" in July, defending the Family Leader's controversial Marriage Vow presidential pledge, which at one point implied that African Americans had healthier families during slavery.
"Now we don’t have clear data, getting to your question about what black family life looked like during slavery, as what the attacks are now even against people like Michele Bachmann who signed on to a document that said the black family was more intact than it is today. ... I’m going back to this point in history that they went back to, which was slavery, during slavery. Because black family life, in the vulnerable state that it was, some could say was more healthy than it is today."