Family Research Council

Family Research Council

The Family Research Council (FRC) is a Christian right non-profit think tank and lobbying organization. It was formed in the United States by James Dobson in 1981 and incorporated in 1983. The group was designed to be a lobbying force for conservative legislation on Capitol Hill. In the late 1980s the group officially became a division of Dobson's main organization Focus on the Family, but in 1992 IRS concerns about the group's lobbying led to an administrative separation. Its function is to promote traditional family values. The current president is Tony Perkins.

The Family Research Council has been publicly involved in promoting socially conservative views on many issues, including divorce, homosexuality, and abortion. "The Church Report" ranks FRC first in the category of Christian political organizations. [ "The Church Report" Top 20 List of Political Christian Organizations] URL accessed May 12, 2006.]


According to the organization's website, "the Family Research Council (FRC) champions marriage and family as the foundation of civilization, the seedbed of virtue, and the wellspring of society. FRC shapes public debate and formulates public policy that values human life and upholds the institutions of marriage and the family. Believing that God is the author of life, liberty, and the family, FRC promotes the Judeo-Christian worldview as the basis for a just, free, and stable society".

"The idea of the Family Research Council originated at the 1980 White House Conference on Families. Among the conferees, James Dobson stood out because of his rare combination of Christian social values and academic and professional credentials. A practicing clinical psychologist and noted author, Dobson had recently transitioned into radio broadcasting and also launched a nonprofit, family service organization. He felt that the time was ripe to establish an organization that would drive the national debate on family issues. In 1983, the Family Research Council incorporated as a nonprofit educational institution in the District of Columbia; its founding board included Dobson and two noted psychiatrists, Armand Nicholi Jr. of Harvard University and George Rekers of the University of South Carolina," it states.

"Under the leadership of Jerry Regier, a former Reagan Administration official at the Department of Health and Human Services, FRC began to link policy makers with researchers and professionals from a variety of disciplines. Gary Bauer, a domestic policy advisor to President Ronald Reagan, succeeded Regier in 1988 and by the mid-1990s the organization had grown into a $10 million operation with a nationwide network of support...", it states. [cite web
last = Family Research Council
year = 2006
url =
title = Over 23 years defending family, faith, and freedom
work = About FRC: History/Mission
publisher = Family Research Council
accessdate = 2006-08-12

The FRC is associated with James Dobson's Focus on the Family and William J. Bennett.

Edgar Prince helped Gary Bauer start the Family Research Council. [cite journal + Edgar Prince helped Gary Bauer start the Family Research Council.
last = Scahill
first = Jeremy
year = 2006
title = In the Black(water)
journal = The Nation
issue = June 5, 2006
url =
accessdate = 2006-08-12

Politics and Policies

The FRC policies are in general those of the Christian Right:
* Supports an increase in abstinence-only sex education.
* Supports the wide availability of a vaccine for human papilloma virus (HPV), a virus that causes cervical cancer, but "oppose any measures to legally require vaccination or to coerce parents into authorizing it." [ [ Family Research Council Statement Regarding HPV Vaccines] , February 21, 2006. Retrieved July 15, 2007 from] . In 2005, a representative of FRC described vaccination in an interview with "New Scientist" magazine as 'potentially harmful, because [young women] may see it as a license to engage in premarital sex.' [ [ Will cancer vaccine get to all women? - sex - 18 April 2005 - New Scientist ] ] FRC later released a clarification saying, "After extensive study of the vaccine and discussion with medical experts, we concluded that the public health benefits of developing and distributing such a vaccine far outweighed any potential, hypothetical concerns about its impact on sexual behavior. Therefore, we announced in October of 2005 that we would enthusiastically support the development of the vaccine and federal approval of its use, including its addition to the list of vaccines recommended to physicians and of those made available to lower-income families through the Vaccines for Children program." [ [ Clarification of 2005 Family Research Council Media Remarks on HPV Vaccine] , Family Research Council web site (undated material). Retrieved July 16, 2007.]
* Supports intelligent design and the movement's "Teach the Controversy" campaign. [ [ Will South Carolina's Science Curriculum Evolve?] Washington Watch Daily Radio commentary, June 29, 2006.] [ [ Intelligent Design Deserves Intelligent Debate] Tony Perkins' Washington Update, October 18 2005.] [ [ No Freedom to Choose in Education] , Tony Perkins' Washington Update, January 12 2006.]
* Campaigns for tighter regulation of pornography, especially internet pornography and indecency on broadcast-TV. Actively opposed the introduction of a .xxx domain name, and lobbied for an increase in indecency fines from the FCC. Believes hotel pornography should be prosecuted. [cite web
last = Crary
first = David
year = 2006
url =
title = Conservatives try to curtail hotel porn
work = News
publisher = Associated Press
accessdate = 2006-08-23
] [cite web
year = 2006
url =
title = Campaign for Corporate Responsibility targets hotel porn sellers
work = Press release
publisher = Citizens for Community Values
accessdate = 2006-08-23
] [cite web
last = Brynaert
first = Ron
year = 2006
url =
title = Coalition of conservative groups believe hotel porn may be prosecutable
publisher =
accessdate = 2006-08-23
* Strongly opposes legal abortion.
* Opposes research which involves the destruction of human embryos. Rather, it advocates research using adult stem cells to treat a host of diseases/disorders.
* Opposes legal recognition of same-sex domestic partnerships (in the form of either marriage or civil unions).
* Opposes gays serving in the Republican Party. Tom McClusky, chief lobbyist for the Family Research Council, has said: "The big-tent strategy could ultimately spell doom for the Republican Party," ... "All a big-tent strategy seems to be doing is attracting a bunch of clowns." [ [,0,2662938.story?coll=la-headlines-politics Some Seek 'Pink Purge' in the GOP] Johanna Neuman. Los Angeles Times, October 18 2006.]
* Favors preclusion of (in order to overturn) all legislative, executive, or judicial action at any level of state or local government designed to protect the status of persons based on their 'homosexual, lesbian or bisexual orientation, conduct, practices or relationships.' [ [ ACLU Case No. 679 Romer v. Evans] ]
* Opposes population control measures.
* Advocates for lower taxes and limited government.
* Favors strong military action against "radical Islam".
* Supports simplifying the tax code, increasing the child tax credit, and permanently eliminating the marriage penalty and estate taxes.
* Opposes of the idea that humans are responsible for global warming.cite web |url= |title=One-Size Politics Doesn't Fit All |accessdate=2007-05-10 |last= |first= |authorlink= |coauthors= |date=27 |year=2007 |month=April |format= |work= |publisher= Christianity Today|pages= |language=|archiveurl= |archivedate= |quote= ] cite web |url= |title=The Sky Is Warming! The Sky Is Warming! |accessdate=2007-05-10 |last= |first= |authorlink= |coauthors= |date=|year=|month= |format= |work= |publisher=Family Research Council|pages= |language=|archiveurl= |archivedate= |quote= When Gore introduced a 10-point plan to make the environment a U.S. priority, conservatives argued that taking the steps he proposed would stifle the economy and harm the family... Evangelicals Should Not Be Fooled by Global-Warming Hysterics] cite web |url=
title=Group Calls for Population Control to Stop Global Warming |accessdate=2007-05-10 |last=Bansal |first=Monisha |authorlink= |coauthors= |date=18 |year=2007 |month=April |format= |work= |publisher=Cybercast News Service |pages= |language=|archiveurl= |archivedate= |quote=
* Strongly opposes all forms of gambling. This position has created some controversy within the Christian community, as gambling is not prohibited in the Bible [ [,%20William%20J. May 6, 2003, Moral Crusader Says He Will Gamble No More, New York Times] ] . This schism is evidenced by the fact that many churches hold gambling contests, especially bingo, to raise funds. Focus’ insistence on this position, as a result, has been interpreted as “extra-Biblical doctrine” that was created by some within the Christian Right who are personally opposed to gambling. At the November 14, 2007 House Judiciary Committee hearing entitled “Hearing on Establishing Consistent Enforcement Policies in the Context of Online Wagers” [ Hearing on Establishing Consistent Enforcement Policies in the Context of Online Wagers] ] , Family Research Council Vice President Tom McClusky testified that his organization favored banning Internet poker in the United States. When questioned further by Rep. Steve Cohen [D-TN] on how much gambling FRC advocated banning, McClusky testified that FRC wished to ban all gambling in America, including even poker. Upon hearing this, Rep. Cohen incredulously asked "is there any fun you are for?", leading many in the blogosphere to nickname sister organization Focus on the Family “Foes of Fun” [ [ Daily Kos, Nov. 18, 2007, FoF = Foes of Fun?] ] .

In their report "Funding the Culture Wars" [John Russell. [ Funding the Culture Wars: Philanthropy, Church and State] , January 2005.] the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy [ [ The National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy] ] lists the Family Research Council as one of the leading organizations funding the activities of the Christian right and the conservative movement.

The FRC publishes frequent e-mail updates, usually in the form of three short articles. These can also be viewed on their website. These articles typically take the form of advocacy for a conservative Christian perspective on current political and social issues.

Controversy and criticism

Alleged link between homosexuality and pedophilia

The Family Research Council has suggested that there is a link between pedophilia and homosexuality. The FRC claims that up to one-third of child molestation is committed by gays, and that gays only account for 1-3% of the total population; thus, the FRC concludes that homosexual men commit child sexual abuse at a disproportionately high rate. [ [ Family Research Council: Tuesday, March 25, 2008 "IS02E3" ] ] In a USA Today article, a number of experts strongly refuted the claims [] [] . Tony Perkins also linked the two issues in commenting about the Mark Foley scandal. [ [ Tony Perkins: 'Tolerance And Diversity' Are To Blame For 'Congressmen Chasing 16-Year-Olds'] Center for American Progress. Retrieved on October 4, 2006]

2006 Values Voter Summit

Between September 22 - 24, the political arm of FRC, FRCAction, sponsored a summit of evangelical voters which drew Sean Hannity, Ann Coulter, Mike Huckabee, George Allen, Tony Snow, among others. The summit became controversial when a number of religious figures took the podium to denounce homosexuality; one speaker referred to homosexuals as faggots, while another claimed that "the gay rights movement ascended to us from the pits of hell itself" and stated that the anti-Christ would be a homosexual. [] Co-sponsors of the event included other political action arms of major Christian Right groups: Focus on the Family Action (Dr. James Dobson), Americans United to Preserve Marriage (Gary Bauer), and American Family Association Action (Donald Wildmon). [cite web
last = Think Progress
year = 2006
url =
title = ‘Values Voter Summit’ Features Attack on ‘Faggots,’ Claim That Gay Rights Movement Inspired ‘From The Pit Of Hell Itself’
work =
publisher = Think Progress
accessdate = 2007-01-14
] [cite web
last = The Nation
year = 2006
url =
title = With the Party of Dobson
work =
publisher = The Nation
accessdate = 2007-01-14


The Southern Poverty Law Center has linked the Family Research Council to racism through the activities of its president Tony Perkins. [ 'A Mighty Army': Family Research Council] , "Intelligence Report" profile, p. 3.] In the April 26, 2005 issue of The Nation magazine journalist Max Blumenthal wrote that Tony Perkins has longstanding ties to racist organizations, including an alleged deal with David Duke to share his mailing list:

"Four years ago, Perkins addressed the Louisiana chapter of the Council of Conservative Citizens (CCC), America's premier white supremacist 1996 Perkins paid former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard David Duke $82,000 for his mailing list. At the time, Perkins was the campaign manager for a Republican candidate for the US Senate in Louisiana. The Federal Election Commission fined the campaign Perkins ran $3,000 for attempting to hide the money paid to Duke." [Blumenthal, Max, [ "Justice Sunday Preachers"] , "The Nation", April 26, 2005]
Perkins has stated that he was unaware that David Duke had any relationship with Impact Media -- the organization that the 1996 Senate campaign of Woody Jenkins paid to make pre-recorded phone calls. [] Perkins has further indicated that he was "grieved" when he later learned of Duke's association with Impact Media because Perkins "profoundly opposes" Duke's racial views. [] Jenkins has accused media outlets of mischaracterizing the campaign's payment to Impact Media, stating that there "is absolutely nothing about the matter that should taint Rep. Perkins. His intentions were entirely honorable..." []


Along with the Heritage Foundation, Christian Coalition, and Focus on the Family, the Family Research Council is identified as a dominionist organization by TheocracyWatch [ The Rise of the Religious Right in the Republican Party [] "TheocracyWatch", Last updated: March 2006; URL accessed April 29, 2006.] [ [ Taking Over the Republican Party] "TheocracyWatch", Last updated: February 2005; URL accessed April 29, 2006.] , which says that the Congressional scorecard of the Family Research Council illustrates its success and the strength of dominionists in Congress. [ [ "Dominionist Influence in The U.S. Congress"] , "TheocracyWatch", Last updated: December 2005; URL accessed April 23, 2006.]

In United States politics

The Christian right in United States politics has helped shape domestic and foreign policy. The Christian right, as defined by a rightist/conservative political group with fundamentalist religious leanings, has grown and changed over the last few decades.

As a modern political force, the Christian Right began in 1974 when Robert Grant founded American Christian Cause to advocate Christian moral teachings in Southern California. Concerned that Christians overwhelmingly voted in favor of President Jimmy Carter in 1976, Grant founded Christian Voice to mobilize Christian voters in favor of candidates who share their values. Grant involved national conservative leaders including Gary Jarmin, Howard Phillips, Terry Dolan, and Richard Viguerie in his movement and made national headlines when Christian Voice-backed candidates including Ronald Reagan, Steve Symms, Dan Quayle, and John East defeated entrenched incumbents in the 1978 and 1980 elections. After Grant ousted Phillips, Dolan, and Viguerie several years later, the trio went on to recruit Jerry Falwell to build a new Christian Right organization, the Moral Majority. Grant's movement was said to have played a significant role in the election of President Ronald Reagan in 1980 and dozens of imitators were founded including Concerned Women for America, American Coalition for Traditional Values, and the Christian Coalition.

2007 Values Voter Summit

From October 19 to October 21, 2007, the Family Research Council convened a summit of several hundred conservative Christian activists in Washington, DC. The mission of the meeting was to conduct a straw poll on which presidential nominee would be the best choice for religious conservatives. [ [ FRC Action: Tuesday, March 25, 2008 ] ] [Michelle Vu, "Presidential Hopefuls Highlight 'Values' to Christian Conservatives," "The Christian Post," October 20, 2007'Values'_to_Christian_Conservatives.htm] There was a significant difference between the results of the online poll and those of the on-site poll (the online poll was conducted for several months prior to the summit). [ [ American Thinker Blog: Romney, Huckabee Top Straw Poll at Value Voters Summit ] ]

Leading candidates, online poll

*No. 1: Mitt Romney, 27.62%
*No. 2: Mike Huckabee, 27.15%
*No. 3: Ron Paul, 14.98%
*No. 4: Fred Thompson, 9.77%

Leading candidates, onsite poll

*No. 1: Mike Huckabee, 51.26%
*No. 2: Mitt Romney, 10.40%
*No. 3: Fred Thompson, 8.09%
*No. 4: Tom Tancredo, 6.83% [ [ FRC Action: Tuesday, March 25, 2008 ] ]


*Tony Perkins - President
*Chuck Donovan - Executive Vice President
*Tom McClusky - Vice President for Government Affairs
*Paul Tripodi - Vice President for Administration
*Charmaine Yoest - Vice President for Communications
*Robert Morrison - Vice President for Academic Affairs
*Jack Burkman - former Family Research Council lobbyist
*Robert L. Maginnis - former Vice President for Policy [ [ Lobby Watch, Family Research Council] The Center for Public Integrity. R. L. Maginnis is a policy analyst with the FRC the author of "Legalization of Drugs: The Myths and the Facts," a conservative text about drug addiction against drug legalization.]
*Michael Fragoso - researcher for the Center for Human Life and Bioethics [ [ Family Research Council ] ]
*Peter Sprigg - Senior Director of Policy Studiescite news |first=John |last=Stossel |title=Sex Sells, but at What Cost? |url= |work=ABC News |publisher=ABCNews Internet Ventures |date=2008-07-15 |accessdate=2008-07-19 ]

See also

* Moral Majority Coalition
* Christian Voice
* Christian Coalition

Notes and references

External links

* [ Family Research Council home page]
* [ FRC Radio home page]
* [ FRC Action home page]
* [ List of issues in which the FRC has sought involvement]
* [ "That's Unfortunate"] a pod for Current TV that discusses the Family Research Council's position on sex education
* [ Good As You's Family Research Council Archive]

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