Hate group leader Tony PerkinsPhoto: Screenshot
Apparently, attacking LGBTQ rights isn’t enough full-time work for a variety of right-wing groups. So they’ve taken up other projects, adding voter suppression efforts and disinformation about the COVID vaccine to their portfolio.
In addition to fundraising for themselves, anti-LGBTQ leaders are throwing cash to support voter suppression after Trump’s loss in the election. Their also appealing to a similar base of right-wing “anti-vaxxers” who are skeptical of the establishment medical community as a way to remain relevant.
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The efforts to support voter suppression are spurred by Donald Trump’s ongoing lie that there was widespread election fraud last November in an effort to protect his fragile psyche from acknowledging a loss. Front and center are some of the same characters who have made a career (and a fortune) out of attacking LGBTQ rights.
The Family Research Council, the American Principles Project and the Heritage Foundation are all raising millions of dollars for the state-by-state effort to limit voting.
Unfortunately, Trump’s followers were quick to embrace the lie. The result has been a rush in state legislatures to restrict voting by mail and early voting.
“We’ve got 106 election-related bills that are in 28 states right now,” Tony Perkins, president of Family Research Council, told an audience at a “Pray Vote Stand Townhall.”
“So here’s the good news: There is action taking place to go back and correct what was uncovered in this last election,” Perkins claimed.
The Family Research Council has been designated a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center because of its decades-long attacks on LGBTQ rights. Perkins was in the news just last month for saying that President Biden’s policies, including his decision to protect transgender service members, was “literally from the pit of hell.”
Joining Perkins at that townhall was Michael Farris, president of Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF). ADF is best known for its relentless attacks on marriage equality and efforts to impose exemptions to nondiscrimination protections on the basis of religious belief.
American Principles Project (APP) is less well-known, but equally powerful and just as anti-LGBTQ. Last fall, APP was caught texting millions of Pennsylvania voters with the claim that Joe Biden endorsed sex change operations for eight-year-olds.
The Heritage Foundation is using its political arm to amplify the voter suppression efforts. The Foundation, which former vice president Mike Pence recently joined, has been waging a high-profile campaign against the Equality Act.
The voter suppression efforts are in line with the right’s mentality that their morals and values are under siege from an increasingly diverse and secular America. Instead of modifying its positions to attract more voters, the Republican party has decided that the way to hold onto power is to disenfranchise voters.
As if disenfranchising voters isn’t enough, the right is also doing its best to stir distrust of the media, the mainstream medical community, and the government’s response to the COVID-19 vaccines.
Doing so allows for further spread of the virus to vulnerable people, many of whom are disenfranchised voters, further killing them (and everybody else) by downplaying the effectiveness of the vaccines.
Mat Staver, head of the Liberty Counsel, has been appearing on the group’s TV show to promote conspiracy theories about the virus and the vaccine. Liberty Counsel is yet another anti-LGBTQ hate group, which as recently as last fall was calling on the Supreme Court to overturn marriage equality.
On his show, Staver claimed that “COVID-19 was just the stepping-stone to this more global issue of controlling and vaccinating everyone and tracing and tracking every single movement.”
Staver was engaging in a back-and-forth with Lee Merritt, an orthopedic surgeon with America’s Frontline Doctors, a fringe group promoting false scientific ideas. When Merritt said that people should think of the vaccine “like a computer chip” and an “experimental biologic agent.”
“Everybody who’s getting the quote-unquote vaccine — you’re the guinea pig,” Staver responded.
The right’s world view is markedly different from reality. They live in a bubble, scared of the world around it and in denial of a changing world. All of their efforts — attacking LGBTQ rights, suppressing voting and promoting conspiracies to own the libs — stem from the same impetus: to hold onto a rapidly disappearing world.
At some point, though, reality always wins.