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Ben Carson's next misstep: Catering to extreme Illinois Family Insitute

by Jeremy Hooper

Readers who have followed my coverage of the Illinois marriage debate know how over-the-top the Illinois Family Institute is. The IFI—one of the few state-level anti-gay groups, I should note upfront, that the Southern Poverty Law Center designates as a hate group—makes no attempt to hide its animus. Here is just some of what its president, David Smith, has said and done in recent weeks:

Cap Header Final 0-5 -- Calls homosexuality "depraved" and "unnatural": "The reality is [pro-LGBT Christians] cannot tolerate the mere thought of any moral authority, let alone one that holds to a belief in sexual depravity. Their chants of 'homophobe,' 'bigot' and 'hate monger' are not just attempts to intimidate and silence opponents — which they are — but they are part of a larger effort to frame the debate to normalize homosexual behavior and establish it as a civil right in the minds of Americans. The media is a willing ally in assisting to propagate this message. Repeating these lies often enough has been successful in persuading people into believing that the so-called 'gay' community is being victimized, being denied civil rights and are in need of special legal protections. Too many faithful Catholics and Protestants have succumbed to this message and its political agenda. As a result, the homosexual lobby continues to boldly push for special laws and policies to compel the American public to accept unnatural sexual practices, regardless of their religious beliefs."

-- Says marriage equality is "
blatantly blasphemous to nature"

-- Equates gay couples
with pedophiliac and incestuous ones: "Polyamorous people cannot redefine marriage by eliminating the criterion of numbers of partners. Incestuous couples cannot redefine marriage by eliminating the criterion regarding blood kinship. And those who believe they are in love with minors cannot redefine marriage by eliminating the criterion of minimum age. However, homosexual activists persistently demand that marriage be redefined to suit their selfish desires." Similarly, Smith asked if President Obama's support for same-sex marriage would evolve to support other forms of marriage: "I’d like to know if this 'evolution' will soon include the redefinition of marriage to include plural marriages, incestuous marriages, and adult-child marriages. If Obama has flipped-flopped back and forth in his evolutionary thinking on this issue, it isn’t a stretch to believe that further redefinition of marriage is possible."

-- Spouts
"ex-gay" junk science: "Homosexuality is changeable, just like any other sinful behavior."

-- Says gay-headed families
are both innately dysfunctional and cruel: "It is a sad fact that in this fallen world children are sometimes raised by single parents or grandparents, but being raised in a climate of homosexuality by two men — or two lesbian women — subjects children to a cruel social experiment and denies the real need and benefit of having both a mother and a father. It wasn’t too long ago that this type of a household would have been considered the ultimate in dysfunction. Today, our radically liberal president embraces this dysfunction as just another form of 'family'."

-- Says that marriage equality advocacy is "ill-advised activism" that "
continues to taint the God-ordained institution of natural marriage"; refers to it as a "push to normalize sexual anarchy"

-- Suggests gay parents
would be better off being cast into the sea

-- Says gays can and should "change"; claims gays have "depressing lifestyle" (
FULL: David Smith [GLAAD CAP]

There's also IFI researcher and cultural analyst Laurie Higgins, who has weighed in with stuff like this:

Cap Header Final 0-5 -- Refers to homosexuality as "a disordering of the sexual impulse"

-- Says people must speak out against "deviant" gays: "volitional homosexual behavior is deviant, immoral behavior regardless of its etiology. That moral claim is not only a legitimate but also a necessary moral claim to make publicly. And we should be making it with at least the same frequency, fervor, clarity, and tenacity with which others are making the claim that volitional homosexual acts are moral and good."

-- Writes of the Christian's supposed call: "When I think about the evil done to children by teachers who tell them that homosexuality is deserving of respect and affirmation, I become angry, and I desperately want others to experience the righteous anger that should well up in decent people who see young children taught that evil is good. We do not embody the love of Christ when we remain silent while body and soul-destroying lies are being affirmed to and in children, teens, and adults." … "Our depraved, carrion-devouring culture swoops down and offers them the bleakly deterministic lie that they were born homosexual. They are told that acting on homosexual impulses is a moral good. They are told that refusal to act on such impulses is an act of futility that will result in utterly unfulfilled, lonely lives. And they are told that anyone who dissents from those claims hates them."

Claims: "Incestuous relations between consenting adults is no more depraved and perverse than sexual relations between two men or two women, which we now celebrate in our streets and our public schools."

-- Once compared the silence of church leaders on homosexuality to the silence in the face of Nazism: "What is alarming about the account of the German Evangelical Church's reprehensible failure [in combating Hitler] is its similarity to the ongoing disheartening story of the contemporary American church's failure to respond appropriately to the spread of radical, heretical, destructive views of homosexuality. Don't we today see church leaders self-censoring out of fear of losing their positions or their church members? Don't we see churches criticizing those who boldly confront the efforts of homosexual activists to propagandize children and undermine the church's teaching on homosexuality? Aren't the calls of the capitulating German Christians for "a more reasonable tone" and a commitment to "honor different views" exactly like the calls of today's church to be tolerant and honor "diversity"? Don't pastors justify their silence by claiming they fear losing their tax-exempt status (i.e. government assistance)? Don't they rationalize inaction by claiming that speaking out will prevent them from saving souls? What is even more reprehensible in America, however, is that church leaders don't currently face loss of livelihood, imprisonment, exile, or death, as they did in Germany, and yet they remain silent. The church's failure to respond adequately to the relentless and ubiquitous promulgation of profoundly sinful ideas reveals an unbiblical doubt in the sovereignty of God; an unconscionable refusal to protect children; a willful ignorance of history; and a selfish unwillingness to experience the persecution and hatred that God has promised the followers of Christ that we will experience and that we should consider joy."

-- Says of pro-LGBT children's books: "Humans were quite obviously created anatomically and biologically as heterosexual beings. Using any objective criteria, all humans are heterosexual. There exists no argument about the morality of heterosexual acts per se, so the numbers of books in a library that depict heterosexuality positively is irrelevant to any discussion of the appropriateness of including a book that depicts homosexuality positively. Publicly funded schools have no right to make available to young children ideas and images that many believe are profoundly immoral."

-- Says Boy Scouts should deny gays because gays "demonstrate a profound disrespect for God and for themselves"

-- Says it's unfortunate that schools are hiring gay teachers: "Although schools are, unfortunately, already hiring teachers in homosexual relationships…"

FULL: Laurie Higgins [GLAAD CAP]

And let's not forget Linda Jernigan, the "former lesbian" who has become the IFI's de facto outreach coordinator. Linda, who is fond of saying homosexuality is "Satan's plan" and teaches that the Devil has stolen gay people's identities, recently headlined an IFI event, where she told an agreeable crowd that gays must be inebriated to have sex:

Okay, so why do I mention all this now? Oh, well because Dr. Ben Carson, the man who conservatives have presented as the person to save the Republican party, is scheduled to speak to this very same group in just a few months' time:

Screen Shot 2013-04-02 At 11.39.42 Am

It's probably not the kind of booking I would make if I wanted to distance myself from my political career–ending comments that linked homosexuality to bestiality and NAMBLA or if I wanted to prove that I might be anything close to electable on a national level. Just a thought.

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