Wednesday was a difficult day for The American Independent News Network, which is the larger entity that operates The Iowa Independent. Our chief executive and founder announced two of our sister sites would close and their content would be moved to The American Independent.
Groups that helped oust Iowa judges earn ‘hate group’ designation
Several of the out-of-state organizations that played a key role in advocating for the November ouster of three Iowa Supreme Court justices have been labeled as “hate groups” by a national civil rights watchdog.
The Southern Poverty Law Center announced Tuesday that, after researching the views of 18 anti-gay groups, an additional 13 would be placed on its 2011 listing of hate groups.
“Generally, the SPLC’s listings of these groups is based on their propagation of known falsehoods — claims about [homosexual] people that have been thoroughly discredited by scientific authorities — and repeated, groundless name calling,” explained Evelyn Schlatter of the SPLC. “Viewing homosexuality as unbiblical does not qualify organizations for listing as hate groups.”
Added to the list for next year is the American Family Association, which was the primary funder for Bob Vander Plaats’ organization, Iowa for Freedom.
… The AFA seeks to support “traditional moral values,” but in recent years it has seemed to specialize in “combating the homosexual agenda.” In 2009, it hired Bryan Fischer, the former executive director of the Idaho Values Alliance, as its director of analysis for government and policy. Taking a page from the anti-gay fabulist Scott Lively (see Abiding Truth Ministries, above), Fischer claimed in a blog post last May 27 that “[h]omosexuality gave us Adolph Hitler, and homosexuals in the military gave us the Brown Shirts, the Nazi war machine and 6 million dead Jews.” (Ironically, the elder Wildmon was widely denounced as an anti-Semite after suggesting that Jews control the media, which the AFA says “shows a genuine hostility towards Christians.”) Fischer has described Hitler as “an active homosexual” who sought out gays “because he could not get straight soldiers to be savage and brutal and vicious enough.” He proposed criminalizing homosexual behavior in another 2010 blog post and has advocated forcing gays into “reparative” therapy. In a 2010 “action alert,” the AFA warned that if homosexuals are allowed to openly serve in the military, “your son or daughter may be forced to share military showers and barracks with active and open homosexuals.” …
The Family Research Council, based in Washington, D.C., and the Family Research Institute, based in Colorado, are also organizations that have sought to influence the views of Iowans, especially in the political realm. It was the Family Research Council, a national affiliate of the Iowa Family Policy Center, that sponsored an Iowa bus tour featuring national and state conservative leaders to urge residents to oust the three Iowa Supreme Court justices that appeared on the November ballot.
Started as a small think tank by Gary Bauer, the former U.S. undersecretary of education under Ronald Reagan, the Family Research Council (FRC) merged with the much larger religious-right group Focus on the Family in 1988. Bauer lobbied on behalf of Focus until 1992, when the two groups legally separated to protect Focus’ tax-exempt status. By that time, FRC had become a powerful group on its own.
Headed today by former Louisiana State Rep. Tony Perkins, the FRC has been a font of anti-gay propaganda throughout its history. It relies on the work of Robert Knight, who also worked at Concerned Women for America but now is at Coral Ridge Ministries, along with that of FRC senior research fellows Tim Dailey (hired in 1999) and Peter Sprigg (2001). Both Dailey and Sprigg have pushed false accusations linking gay men to pedophilia: Sprigg has written that most men who engage in same-sex child molestation “identify themselves as homosexual or bisexual,” and Dailey and Sprigg devoted an entire chapter of their 2004 book Getting It Straight to similar material. The men claimed that “homosexuals are overrepresented in child sex offenses” and similarly asserted that “homosexuals are attracted in inordinate numbers to boys.” …
Also included on the 2011 “hate group” listing are Abiding Truth Ministries (Massachusetts), Americans for Truth About Homosexuality, American Vision, Chalcedon Foundation (California), Christian Anti-Defamation Commission (California), Dove World Outreach Center (Florida), Faithful Word Baptist Church (Arizona), Heterosexuals Organized for a Moral Environment (Illinois), Illinois Family Institute (Illinois), MassResistance (Massachusetts), and Traditional Values Coalition (California).