Earlier this month, Governor Bobby Jindal appointed Tony Perkins, the former Louisiana State Representative and current head of Family Research Council, to the Louisiana Law Enforcement Commission. Tellingly, although Perkins was appointed nearly three weeks ago, Governor Jindal’s office kept things quiet; the appointment was first revealed by Woody Jenkins, a man who is best known in Louisiana for his three quixotic campaigns for the United States Senate. Indeed, according to multiple sources, Governor Jindal’s office had repeatedly denied or refused to acknowledge Perkins’s appointment until only yesterday, when it became the subject of national news.
Perkins, who is perhaps best known as the host of a talk radio show and as an infrequent contributor to CNN, has spent the bulk of his professional and political career advocating hate and discrimination against gay and lesbian Americans, denying the validity of science and vaccines, and distorting the Christian faith in order to defend bigotry and racism.
We also oppose all efforts to mix the races of mankind, to promote non-white races over the European-American people through so-called “affirmative action” and similar measures, to destroy or denigrate the European-American heritage, including the heritage of the Southern people, and to force the integration of the races.
Perkins subsequently said he had no idea that he was speaking in front of a bunch of white supremacists, but believe it or not, this wasn’t Perkins’s first brush with white supremacy; he paid $82,500 to the former grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, David Duke, for a copy of Duke’s mailing list. Funny enough, Perkins paid for the list while managing the campaign of none other than Woody Jenkins. They were fined $3,000 for the violation. Again, Perkins claimed ignorance, which may be convincing to anyone who doesn’t understand the difference between ignorance and stupidity.
Even before his run-ins with white nationalists and Klansmen, Tony Perkins was suspended and subsequently resigned from law enforcement (bold mine):
According to The Nation, in 1992, while a reserve police officer in Baton Rouge, Perkins failed to report an illegal conspiracy by antiabortion activists to his superiors. That was Operation Rescue’s “Summer of Purpose,” when the group targeted the Delta Women’s Clinic in Baton Rouge. Perkins was dividing his time between his duties as a volunteer for the city’s police force and his job as a reporter for “Woody Vision,” a local right-wing television station owned by his mentor, Republican State Rep. Louis “Woody” Jenkins.
Perkins and his camera crew were a frequent presence outside the clinic, The Nation reported. According to Victor Sachse, a classical record shop owner in the city who volunteered as a patient escort for the clinic, Perkins’ reporting was so consistently slanted and inflammatory that the clinic demanded his removal from its grounds. In order to control an increasingly tense situation, the police chief had a chain link fence erected to separate anti-abortion activists from pro-choice protesters, and he called in sheriff’s deputies and prison guards as extra forces. Perkins publicly criticized the department and the chief and then, after learning about plans for violent tactics by antiabortion activists to break through police lines and send waves of protesters onto the clinic’s grounds, failed to inform his superiors on the force. As a result of his actions, Perkins was suspended from duty in 1992, and he subsequently quit the reserve force.
Remember, again, this is the same man Governor Bobby Jindal appointed to serve on the Louisiana Law Enforcement Commission, a man who was suspended from duty from the reserve force because he failed to alert superiors about plans for violence.
Perkins hasn’t exactly mellowed out in recent years. While he’s no longer courting white nationalists and white racists, Perkins now spends a great deal of of time and energy lambasting gays and lesbians, or scientists who believe in evolution and vaccines, or people who simply strive toward ecumenical fairness and love.
Why is Perkins’ bigotry so uniquely toxic? Mostly because it’s so intensely insane. While most anti-gay activists have moved onto vague prattle of defending marriage andprotecting family, Perkins still clings to the most appalling (and thoroughly disproven) component of homophobia: the charge of pedophilia. According to Perkins, pedophilia “is a homosexual problem” that seeks to “recognize pedophiles as the ‘prophets’ of the new sexual order.” Gay men are “more likely to engage in child sexual abuse than are heterosexual men”; in fact, “homosexuals have entered the [Boy] Scouts in the past for predatory purposes.” What’s worse, “homosexual activists”—those “intolerant,” “hateful,” “vile,” and “spiteful” predators—aren’t just content to engage in pedophilia: They’re also “part of a concerted effort” to “recruit … kids” into the gay “lifestyle.”
And that’s really only the start of the lunacy. Perkins has also compared gay rights activists to terrorists (“it’s a strike against the general populace simply to spread fear and intimidation”), supported Uganda’s death penalty for gays, and linked mass shootings with the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. There’s more, but you get the idea. Perkins isn’t a member of the modern, almost apologetic anti-gay movement. He’s a relic from the Reagan-era culture wars, fixating on debunked obloquy, tossing off discredited calumnies with the conviction of a very passionate dolt. Until now, Perkins’ twisted gospel has mostly echoed around his own increasingly disreputable fringe. But Gov. Jindal just put him in the driver’s seat of an entire state’s law enforcement. We should all brace for the crash.
Perkins’s hate group represents the anthesis of a free and open democracy, and if Governor Jindal had even an ounce of integrity left, he’d remove the bigot.