In light of last week's attempted murder of employees at the Family Research Council (FRC), we pro-family organizations ask Fox News to discontinue guest appearances by homosexual agitator Wayne Besen on the popular O'Reilly Factor TV show. Besen has a long history of slandering conservative groups and the ex-gay community in language that foments hatred and undermines civil discourse.
Last week Fox News reported that Tony Perkins, FRC's president, blamed the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) and its rhetoric of hateful lies against FRC for helping to create a climate that led to shooter Floyd Corkins' actions.
The SPLC and Wayne Besen are united in demonizing conservative organizations and individuals. Despite repeated complaints about Besen's appearances, producers of the O'Reilly Factor continue to feature Besen, a radical homosexual activist aligned with the SPLC, as a guest commentator.
Last year the controversial Besen and his SPLC ally jointly staged a protest outside of FRC's Values Voters conference, falsely accusing FRC and the American Family Association of hatred and lies. Besen publicly labeled FRC's conservative speakers as "certifiable lunatics with dangerous agendas." Both Besen and the SPLC took out an ad in The Washington Post falsely blaming FRC for gays being more likely "to be victimized by violent hate crimes" and "driven to suicide by relentless bullying."
Besen and the SPLC also target the ex-gay community, claiming that former homosexuals are a "myth" and that ex-gays are not entitled to the same rights and respect that gays currently enjoy. In a bizarre move, Besen and SPLC are now filing complaints against therapists who counsel homosexuals with unwanted same-sex attractions, thereby denying gays the right of therapeutic self-determination.
Condemnation of the SPLC's—and by extension Wayne Besen's—designation of pro-family groups as "hate groups" comes from both the political Right and Left. Rich Lowry of National Review wrote, "The SPLC's promiscuous labeling of organizations it disagrees with as 'hate groups' came to the fore last week when someone tried to shoot up one of its targets."
And liberal journalist Dana Milbank echoed Lowry's criticism: "[T]he Southern Poverty Law Center should stop listing a mainstream Christian advocacy group alongside neo-Nazis and Klansmen."
It is time that the O'Reilly Factor cease using Besen as a guest commentator. Providing Besen with a forum lends credibility to his pernicious tactics and enables Besen to exploit his appearances for fundraising purposes.
When Fox News provides a forum to a radical homosexual activist known for employing inflammatory and hateful language in the service of promoting lies, the network becomes complicit in the damage done to the victims of Wayne Besen's and the SPLC's smear campaigns.
We ask the News Corporation, Fox News and Bill O'Reilly to find more ethical spokespersons for the liberal view of sexuality. In their infamous Washington Post ad accusing FRC of hateful values, Besen and the SPLC claim that "words have consequences." Yes, they do. And Besen's may lead to violence.
Mathew D. Staver, Founder and Chairman, Liberty Counsel
Sally Kern, Oklahoma State Representative
Diane Gramley, President, American Family Association of Pennsylvania
David Smith, Executive Director of the Illinois Family Institute
Laurie Higgins, Cultural Analyst for the Illinois Family Institute
Matt Barber, Vice President, Liberty Counsel Action
Denise Shick, Founder and Director, Help 4 Families
Regina Griggs, Executive Director, Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays & Gays (PFOX)
Arthur Goldberg, J.D., Co-Director, Jews Offering New Alternatives for Healing (JONAH)
Greg Quinlan, President, Pro-Family Network of Ohio
John Kirkwood, Pastor, Grace Gospel Fellowship
Brian Camenker, Executive Director, MassResistance
Peter LaBarbera, President, AFTAH
Scott Lively, J.D., President, Defend the Family International
Chaplain Gordon James Klingenschmitt, PhD, The Pray In Jesus Name Project
Linda Harvey, President, Mission America
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