The Rev. John Thomas, general minister and president of the United Church of Christ, today joined a chorus of voices condemning Tony Perkins for his efforts to link homosexuality to the scandal involving disgraced Republican congressman Mark Foley.
Perkins is the head of the Family Research Council, a Religious Right group with strong ties to the Republican Party.
"Perkins recent remarks are destructive to gay and lesbian persons and their families and distract the nation's attention from the real issue at hand, which is protecting young people from sexual predators," said the Rev. John H. Thomas, the UCC's general minister and president.
On October 2, Perkins issued a statement claiming "the real issue" in the Foley scandal was a "link between homosexuality and child sexual abuse." On Oct. 3, Perkins made similar accusations on MSNBC's "Hardball with Chris Matthews," where he likened homosexuals with "sexual deviants."
Thomas said the former congressman's sexual orientation should not be part of the public debate. The American Psychological Association, in addition to numerous other reputable medical and scientific groups, has found that "gay men are no more likely than heterosexual men to perpetrate child sexual abuse."
Perkins is a strange choice by the Religious Right to be a spokesperson on values in America. He spent his political career in Louisiana as an ally of Neo-Nazis and other racist organizations.
Max Blumenthal wrote in 2005:
Four years ago, Perkins addressed the Louisiana chapter of the Council of Conservative Citizens (CCC), America's premier white supremacist organization, the successor to the White Citizens Councils, which battled integration in the South. In 1996 Perkins paid former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard David Duke $82,500 for his mailing list. At the time, Perkins was the campaign manager for a right-wing Republican candidate for the US Senate in Louisiana. The Federal Election Commission fined the campaign Perkins ran $3,000 for attempting to hide the money paid to Duke.
If the Republicans keep relying on leaders like Foley and Perkins to be their point people on family values we can only hope that voters hold their party accountable.