Views & Voices

‘This animal. This cretin. This travesty. This demon.’ A Christian speaks out against Tony Perkins

Tony Perkins

Tony Perkins

Below is Tony Perkins. If you’re not familiar with him, this is not the Tony Perkins who played Norman Bates in Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho. This Tony Perkins is much, much scarier. This Tony Perkins makes blood spiraling down a bathtub drain look like a cup of cherry Kool-Aid spilled at a Girl Scout fundraiser.

This Tony Perkins is the president of the Family Research Council, the political offshoot of Focus on the Family, James Dobson’s main organization.

Tony Perkins

James Dobson is a Christian. So is Tony Perkins. So is everyone who works for and/or supports either of their massive organizations.

Tony Perkins carries “a tremendous burden to reclaim the culture for Christ.” That’s what it says about him on the FRC website. So it must be true.

Oh, and that little kerfuffle you might have heard about last winter, when the Southern Poverty Law Center designated the Family Research Council as a hate group, because it’s that virulently anti-gay? According to Perkins, that was nothing more than “the left’s smear campaign of conservatives.”

It’s all just part of Tony’s burden.

Being a polilobbyist (to coin a phrase: it means half-politician, half-lobbyist, and aren’t they all anymore?), Tony’s other burden is money. Tony wants lots and lots of money. And he knows that nothing makes a certain kind of person reach for his or her wallet faster than the fear that there are actually gay and lesbian people in the world.

Hence, this recent fundraising letter sent by Tony to Family Research Council supporters:


So, I just came back from five days spent at this place, where my wife and I celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary. Upon our return home I found a few emails alerting me to the letter above. So I thought I’d write a little something about it. After all, Tony Perkins, James Dobson, Focus on the Family, and the Family Research Center are still to so many the public face of Christianity. And that’s a travesty that I, a normal, non-insane Christian, am inclined to help combat.

But as hard as I tried, I just couldn’t write a decent piece about this letter. No clever angle for the story came to me; no witty perspective, no engaging spin. It’s like at some level I just didn’t care about Tony Perkins and his pathetic letter. I got as far as what’s written here above the letter, and no further. After that I just ran out of writing juice.

I chalked it up to some sort of anniversary hangover.  After all, I am still on the week off I’m spending with my wife. I dunno. But I can tell when I’m just not going to be able to write a story, and this was one of those times. So I let it go.

And I spent a wonderful day at home with my wife.

And just now, as I was heading off to bed, it occurred to me why I couldn’t figure out how to write this story. It’s because my feelings about it are absolute. There’s zero traction in it for me. It’s like trying to run on ice. No grip.

Every single time I think of Tony Perkins and this letter, nothing more interesting or edifying comes to my mind than a block of feelings that, broken down, runs about like this:

This animal. This cretin. This travesty. This demon. This parasite. This blight. This twisted purveyor of evil. This insidious enemy of everything for which Christ stood. This sickening mule. This heartless charlatan. This shameless huckster. This vile opportunist. This creator of human suffering. This trafficker in pain. This braying bully. This puffing affront to decency.

This preening, flag-waving goon.

This grinning, slavering creature who, in exchange for money, induces children to commit suicide.

This odorous, rotten chum pretending he’s nourishment.

This lover of hate.

If you’re a Christian who actually understands and cares about Christ, please tell anyone who will listen that Tony Perkins is to Christianity what a slimy, chewing worm is to a perfectly wonderful apple.

So. There’s that bit of venting.

For the next week or so I’ll make a point of sincerely including Tony Perkins in my morning prayers. Consider joining me in that, if you will. For surely no heart in the world more than Tony Perkins’ could benefit from the delivery into the fiery pit of its toxicity and rage the uplifting, healing message that it gets better.

If he couldn’t hear it from Dan Savage, maybe he’ll hear it from God himself.

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