ATLANTA — Gov. Brian Kemp is scheduled to speak Thursday to a group of religious conservatives, described by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a hate group. Backers of the Family Research Council dispute that.
Kemp is speaking at an event called the “pray/vote /stand for life summit,” where observers may see Kemp take a bit of a victory lap on the divisive election year issue of abortion.
The group behind this convention of religious conservatives is the Family Research Council.
It drew former President Donald Trump’s secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, as a guest speaker last year – along with one of the Duck Dynasty performers, Al Robertson.
"I don’t want to do what the left does. That’s terrible. It’s horrible. I want to show them our way is the right way because God gave it to us," Robertson said in a video of last year's event posted on YouTube.
The SPLC said the Family Research Council is a hate group with a “specialty in defaming LGBTQ people,” accusing them of pedophilia and calling "transgenderism" a “cult.”
But Mike Griffin, public affairs director of the Georgia Baptist Mission Board, said the group reflects a viewpoint that is well represented among Georgia voters.
"They believe in a biblical world view and that is considered extreme in many circles," said Griffin, who will also address the group. "(It has) nothing to do with anything regarding being prejudiced or discriminatory toward anyone. It’s just standing up for biblical truth that you believe, but it’s loving everyone."
The SPLC issued a statement saying, in part, "The organization advocates for the harmful use of conversion therapy, a widely debunked practice which has been proven to double the risk of suicide among LGBTQ individuals who have received it. The group uses debunked anti-gay pseudoscience to validate their dehumanizing and demonizing rhetoric about the LGBTQ community-at-large and use of this awful practice."