Robert Knight, formerly of the Family Research Council and Concerned Women for America, wrote an interesting piece about the Southern Poverty Law Center. It’s the usual ” SPLC is unfairly picking on Christian groups” meme that we have been hearing ever since the organization declared several anti-gay groups – including FRC – to be hate groups:
If you want to know where the left is taking the country, a quick trip to the Southern Poverty Law Center’s website is instructive. There you will find a “hate map,” on which the precise locations of reputable Christian organizations are listed, along with skinheads, Nazis and other actually disreputable groups. Above the map is a photo of what appear to be storm troopers, none of whom resembles Family Research Council President Tony Perkins, but that’s beside the point. On Aug. 15, 2012, the hate map was used by would-be mass murderer Floyd Lee Corkins II, who walked into the Family Research Council lobby in Washington, DC, with a loaded gun and a backpack full of 80 more rounds of ammo and 15 Chick-fil-A sandwiches. Convicted on Feb. 6, 2013, under the District’s domestic terrorism law and sentenced to 25 years in prison, Corkins told investigators that he was inspired by the SPLC hate map to target the Family Research Council, and that he had planned to murder as many people as possible and stuff chicken sandwiches into their faces. Chick-fil-A’s owners and the Family Research Council support natural marriage.
First of all, Knight is lying. It’s something he does quite well. SPLC’s map does not contain “precise locations” of the organizations they designate as hate groups. The map only shows the states where they are located.
And with regards to Corkins, he did not say that SPLC’s map inspired him to do anything. It was determined that Corkins was already mentally ill and had been thinking about a way to carry out his plan for years.
But that’s not the subject of my post. The subject is Knight’s audacity in attacking SPLC . As I indicated before and Knight does in his column, he used to work for the Family Research Council.
And during his time there, it was Knight who pushed a lot of the junk science and lies (such as connecting homosexuality to pedophilia) about the lgbt community which eventually led SPLC to designate the Family Research Council to be a hate group. The following is from SPLC’s webpage:
Robert Knight, a longtime conservative writer and journalist and major anti-gay propagandist, served as the FRC’s director of cultural affairs from 1992 until 2002, when he went to Concerned Women for America (CWA). Knight later moved on to be a senior writer at Coral Ridge Ministries, now Truth in Action Ministries. He is currently a senior fellow at the right-wing American Civil Rights Union. During his years at the FRC, Knight penned anti-gay tracts that used the research of thoroughly discredited psychologist Paul Cameron, head of the Colorado-based hate group the Family Research Institute.
Knight authored numerous anti-gay papers, and even used Cameron’s infamous “gay obituary” study in testimony he offered before Congress to oppose the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) in 1994. In his prepared statement on that topic, he said, “A study of more than 6,400 obituaries in homosexual publications reveals that homosexuals typically have far shorter life spans than the general population.” Cameron’s study has been thoroughly discredited for several reasons, one of which is its deeply flawed methodology. When asked in 2004 about using Cameron’s work, Knight, by then with CWA, responded, “Yes, we have used his research. So what?”
While at the FRC, Knight also co-wrote (with Robert York, a former editor at Focus on the Family) a 1999 booklet with the attention-getting title of Homosexual Behavior and Pedophilia. Among its more remarkable claims was the baseless assertion that “one of the primary goals of the homosexual rights movement is to abolish all age of consent laws and to eventually recognize pedophiles as the ‘prophets’ of a new sexual order.” The same publication argued that the “homosexual rights movement has tried to distance itself from pedophilia, but only for public relations purposes.” The booklet has since disappeared from the FRC’s website, but the organization has not withdrawn the claims it made.
For the sake of disclosure, I happen to know that Knight did freely admit to using the discredited information of Paul Cameron via that 2004 incident. I was the person to whom he gave the flippant response during a visit he made to the University of South Carolina. And I repeatedly talked about the incident on this blog and in my first book on anti-gay propaganda.
Basically, if it weren’t for Knight’s influence in FRC information gathering, perhaps the organization wouldn’t be attempting to live down the “hate group” designation.
No doubt, unfortunately, this irony will escape Knight and especially FRC.