In addition to Huckabee and Carson, scheduled speakers include Gov. Brian Kemp; Melissa Ohden, founder, Abortion Survivors Network; Anne Graham Lotz, founder, AnGeL Ministries and a daughter of the late evangelist Billy Graham; and Jentezen Franklin, senior pastor, Free Chapel, Gainesville, Ga.
Founded in 1983, the FRC is a non-profit think tank that describes its mission as informing people “about family issues that affect the nation from a biblical worldview,” according to its website.
The Rev. Anthony George, senior pastor of First Baptist Atlanta, said the church is allowing the organizers to use the building, but it did not have an input in the programming.
“It will just be a time for educating Christians on issues that are important for values-based voters,” he wrote in an email.
For several years FRC has been on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s hate watch for its anti-LGBTQ ideology.
The Family Research Council “has consistently demonstrated the use of anti-LGBTQ rhetoric and dissemination of materials that target LGBTQ people, spread demeaning untruths, and defame LGBTQ people and their supporters,” Rachel Carroll Rivas, SPLC’s interim deputy director of research, Intelligence Project wrote in an email.
Bishop Thomas Lewis Brown Sr. presiding bishop of the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church in Georgia and a founder of Faith Works, a voting rights group representing more than 1,000 Black congregations accused the Family Research Council of wanting to roll back gains made in the last senate and presidential elections.
“It shows we did something right in 2020. There is definitely a battle for the soul of America, but this is all wrapped up in religious language and sentiment,” he said. “This is a battle of over just what kind of America we want to be.”
He pointed out the group’s stand against abortion.
“They want to make sure that women are not free and the most basic right that anyone has is to decide what to do with her own body,” he said.
It’s no coincidence that the summit is being held in Atlanta.
Georgia is an important battleground state with two closely watched races between Democratic Sen. Raphael G. Warnock and Herschel Walker, a Republican backed by former President Trump.
Warnock’s win in 2020 helped turn Georgia, a reliably red state to blue as Joe Biden won the state and the White House.
The state’s gubernatorial seat is also at stake in a contest between incumbent Republican Gov. Brian Kemp, the former secretary of state, and Stacey Abrams, who ran a close race in 2018.
FRC has come under scrutiny by House Democrats, who recently asked the IRS to review the tax-exempt status of the group, arguing that it may be using that designation to avoid financial scrutiny, according to a recent article in The Washington Post.
Democrats opposing the IRS designation, say the group’s tax status “strains credulity” because the group operates primarily as “a political advocacy organization,” according to the Post article.
In opinion piece in the Aug. 18 issue of Washington Times, a conservative daily newspaper, Tony Perkins, president of the FRC, described the group as a religious organization “with a published statement of faith that works with thousands of churches across the nation. So, we sought and obtained the classification as an association of churches...
“…This designation is not a legal dodge. We have relationships and partnerships with more than 40,000 churches of many denominations and traditions nationwide.”
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Where: First Baptist Atlanta, 4400 North Peachtree Rd. Atlanta