The Values Voter Summit, hosted by (among others) Tony Perkins and the Family Research Council, is upon us. It will be held September 14-16 at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in DC. As I’ve written before (for example, see here), this gathering is only interested in voters who share a certain set of “there’s no separation of church and state” values. And there is a very specific interpretation of the meaning of both “church” and “state” in those values.
“Public officials” speaking at the Summit are a key element, and drawing card for attendees and media. Mitt Romney was invited, but unsurprisingly, hasn’t confirmed he’ll attend. Paul Ryan sent his confirmation in, of course. And after a one day speculation that the Values Voter Summit invitation to Ann Romney would be accepted, turns out she declined, according to HRC.
With each Values Voter Summit, efforts are made, from the Summit side, to use the list of “public officials” as an indication of their power, while from the other side of things, efforts are made to see that same list as an indication of supporting discrimination. This year, Human Rights Groups Urge Public Officials Not to Attend Values Voter Summit, Avoid Legitimizing Anti-LGBT Extremism,
… because its host, the Family Research Council, has spread demonizing lies about the LGBT community, and because one of its co-sponsors, the American Family Association, has linked homosexuality to the Holocaust.
The entire letter can be read here. Excerpts:
Given the FRC’s and AFA’s public statements, we urge you not to lend the prestige of your office to the summit.
The FRC is far outside of the mainstream. It has engaged in repeated, groundless demonization – portraying LGBT people as sick, vile, incestuous, violent, perverted, and a danger to the nation. One of its officials has gone so far as to say homosexuality should be criminalized. …
The FRC’s extremism is vividly illustrated by the fact that it has invited the AFA to co-sponsor the Summit … . Here is what Bryan Fischer, the AFAs Director of Issue Analysis, wrote in 2010: ‘Homosexuality gave us Adolph Hitler, and homosexuals in the military gave us the Brown Shirts, the Nazi war machine and 6 million dead Jews.’
Those signing: J. Richard Cohen, President and CEO, Southern Poverty Law Center; Michael Sherrard, Director, Faithful America; Herndon Graddick, President, Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation; Chad Griffin, President, Human Rights Campaign; Sharon J. Lettman-Hicks, Executive Director and CEO, National Black Justice Coalition; Janet Murguía, President and CEO, National Council of La Raza; Michael B. Keegan, President, People For the American Way Foundation.
The letter was sent to: U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann; Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer; House Majority Leader Eric Cantor; Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli; U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint; U.S. Rep. Jeff Fortenberry; U.S. Rep. Tim Huelskamp; U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan; U.S. Rep. Steve King; U.S. Rep. Jim Lankford; Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell; U.S. Sen. Rand Paul; U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio; U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan; and U.S. Rep. Allen West.
‘Our message is a simple one,’ said Richard Cohen, president of the Southern Poverty Law Center. ‘Public officials should not lend the prestige of their office to groups that spread demeaning and false propaganda about other people.’
According to CitzenLink:
Speakers – including vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan, former presidential candidate Michele Bachmann and author and historian Oliver North – will discuss topics ranging from religious freedom and the sanctity of human life to government spending and health care reform.
The most important issues could easily be the country’s ‘virtue deficit,’ or the breakdown of values threatening families, marriage and the sanctity of life, said American Values President Gary Bauer, who is also scheduled to speak at the summit. …
The summit also serves as a means to “bring together those folks around the country committed to family, faith and freedom,’ Bauer added.
The Heritage Foundation, a one of the summit’s co-sponsors, will feature some of its own speakers, including Matthew Spalding, who will discuss economic inequality.
A “virtue deficit” as defined, of course, by voters with the Right kind of values. By (that) definition, and as a lesbian, I’m clearly “out” in “deficit” territory. But you know, I actually feel quite valued.
(Values Voter Logo via Values Voter FB)