Family Research Council

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Family Research Council
Founded 1983, by Tony Perkins
Headquarters G Street
Washington DC , Washington DC
United States

The Family Research Council (FRC) is a conservative political interest group that aims to champion marriage and traditional Christian family life. Their mission statement claims: "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."[1]

While it is generally accepted that its founder, James Dobson, head of Focus on the Family, did not want FRC to be overly political, it soon became a lobbying group, which, in 1992, separated from the founding group over Internal Revenue Service concerns over political activity. In 1999, Gary Bauer left the leadership of FRC to run for the U.S. Republican Party presidential nomination; he was not welcomed back and now leads a group he had formed earlier, American Values. [2]


Founding: 1983-1988

Dr. James Dobson decided to found the FRC after attending a 1980 White House Conference on the Family. While at this conference Dobson met and prayed with eight Christian leaders at a Washington hotel. The FRC was finally founded in 1983 to combat various media outlets that spoke against family life. Gerald P. Regier, the first President of the FRC, formerly worked in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services under Ronald Reagan. He used various outlets to spread the FRC's message, such as testifying before Congress, providing reports for elected officials, creating legal briefs on family issues, securing appointments for government officials, and offering media commentary.


Gary Bauer became the next President of the FRC in 1988, and at this time the FRC became a division of Focus on the Family. Throughout the 1990s under Bauer, the FRC attempted to strengthen its network and experienced a rise in national attention. During this time the organization created a home office in Washington D.C. and a distribution center in Holland, Michigan. In 1992 the organization became an independent nonprofit organization.


In 2000, Keith Connor became the new president of the Family Research Council. Connor spent much of his time as president of the FRC to change their policy to focus on a Christian agenda. The organization is now focused on campaigning against abortion, for sanctity of marriage (against [[same-sex marriage\\), humane care of the elderly (against euthanasia), religious liberty, parental choice in education, and tax breaks for families. The organization also decided at this time that they wanted to be known more for what they support than what they oppose.

Nevertheless, in 2001, FRC criticized President George W. Bush for his "implicit endorsement of the homosexual political agenda" with the appointment of two openly gay men by the Bush administration.[2]

Tony Perkins, a former Louisiana legislator, became the fourth president of the FRC in 2003. Perkins' made the main focus of the FRC fighting against same-sex marriage. Perkins also encouraged Christian religious leaders to become more involved in politics and established a new department of the FRC called Church ministries.[3]


The FRC takes a social conservative political stance.

Human Sexuality

The FRC believes that abstinence should be the only type of sexual education taught in school. The organization believes that sex should only occur after marriage and that not teaching any other form of sexual education is the safest way for preventing sex before marriage. The organization also believes that homosexuality is dangerous to anyone who partakes in this activity and to society as a whole. The organization also opposes any action that would make homosexuality equivalent to heterosexuality.[4] This is widely considered by experts to be unsupported by the scientific evidence; a report by California Democratic congressman Henry Waxman in 2004 concluded that a great deal of material taught to students as part of abstinence-only sex education is of dubious scientific worth.[5]

Human Life and Bioethics

The FRC opposes abortion and hopes to help overturn Roe v. Wade in the future. The organization also believes that euthanasia and assisted suicide is unethical, and believes that individuals should help those who are terminally ill by alleviating pain (see palliative care) and maintaining their life. The FRC also opposes any science that involves any research on human embryos as they believe that this devalues human life (see stem cell research).[6]

Marriage and Family

The FRC believes that the best environment for a child to be raised is with their biological parents. They do believe, however, that adoption is a suitable alternative, and encourage adoption over abortion. The organization also believes that the family should receive the same tax breaks that a business receives, because they feel that family is the biggest business of all. The FRC feels that parents should be able to choose the education of their children.[7]

Perkins has been strongly critical of homosexuality.

Supporters of V. Gene Robinson, the newly consecrated homosexual Episcopal bishop, claim his elevation sends "a powerful message of love and tolerance." However, it is not "tolerant" to brush off opposition to the consecration of a homosexual bishop. Nor is it "loving" to suppress evidence that homosexual behavior is a "death-style" that is sending young people to an early grave.[8]

Religion and Culture

The FRC feels that the government should not be able to interfere with an individual's religious practice, but also feels that the Christian faith should receive the most protection. They also believe that there should not be a "wall of separation" between church and state, and that religion should be considered in elections and public policy.[9]


The FRC believes that the government needs to do more to protect children from viewing pornography. They also believe that there needs to be more regulation on the pornography industry. The organization also feels that individuals should be able to block any cable channel that they do not want at any time and for any reason, and that they should not be forced to pay for channels that they do not want.[10]

Ken Connor, president in 2003, said "Do you really think that when our troops from Delta Force crawl into Osama bin Laden's cave in Afghanistan or into the face of the muzzle of a terrorist machine gun, that they are doing it so that women can kill their children, so that pornographers can peddle their smut, so that people of the same sex can marry? If those features of American life become the fixtures of American life, I fear that our nation may not long endure." [11] In an announcement from the Christian Broadcasting Network, regarding a First Amendment challenge to the Children's Internet Protection Act, FRC spokesman Jan LaRue said "“With today’s effective filtering technology, there is no excuse for schools and libraries to become a virtual dirty peep-show open to kids and funded by taxpayers." Emily Shetekoff of the American Library Association, one of the plaintiffs, countered that "Filtering doesn't work. That's our big problem with it," [12]

The Courts

The FRC opposes what it describes as judicial activism and believe that it should be the legislators job to decide difficult policy issues. They aim to limit the powers of judiciary. The organization also believes that the judges of the Supreme Court of the United States should be individuals who are not judicial activists and are also people of faith.[13]

Organizational Structure

Public Perceptions and Controversies

The FRC has been noted for its controversial, right-wing stance on abortion, same-sex marriage, and divorce.

More recently, Tony Perkins, the FRC's president, has come under criticism in an article in The Nation for supposedly joining the mailing list of white nationalist politician David Duke, a former Grand Wizard of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan. The article noted that Perkin's signature was on the document which authorized the purchase of the mailing list. The article also noted that Perkins at one point gave a speech to the Louisiana chapter of the Council of Conservative Citizens, which is a group that battled integration in the South. Perkins has denied these claims.[15]


  1. Thought Crime Laws, The Family Research Council, 29 Sept. 2009
  2. 2.0 2.1 Organization Profile: Family Research Council, Right Wing Watch, People for the American Way
  3. History/Mission, Family Research Council, 29 Sept. 2009
  4. Human Sexuality. Family Research Council. Web. 29 Sept. 2009. <>
  5. Washington Post, Some Abstinence Programs Mislead Teens, Report Says, Dec 2, 2004
  6. Human Life & Bioethics. Family Research Council. Web. 29 Sept. 2009. <>.
  7. Marriage & Family, Family Research Council, 29 Sept. 2009
  8. Tony Perkins (4 November 2003), Washington Update
  9. Religion & Culture. Family Research Council, 29 Sept. 2009. Web. <>.
  10. Media. The Family Research Council, 29 Sept. 2009. Web. <>.
  11. Ken Connor, (2 October 2001), Reflections After the Terror
  12. Jan LaRue, Porn Invasion Targets Children,
  13. The Courts. The Family Research Council, 29 Sept. 2009. Web. <>.
  14. The FRC Team. The Family Research Council. Web. 5 Dec. 2009. <>.
  15. Bill, Berkowitz. "Tony Perkins' Family Research Council." Dissident voice. 7 July 2005. Web. 5 Dec. 2009. <>.