In a opinion piece today, one of Colorado’s evangelical leaders applauds Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner and U.S. Representatives Ken Buck, Doug Lamborn, and Scott Tipton for their 100 percent “pro-family rating” from the Family Research Council, which has been designated as a “hate group” by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

The Colorado lawmakers, all Republicans, earned their perfect scores for votes, listed by the Family Research Council. Gardner’s 12 votes during the last session of Congress included:

  • Three votes to repeal Obamacare.
  • Two votes in support Trump’s rollback of Obamacare’s mandate for health insurance coverage of birth control and related health-insurance issues.
  • Confirming  Jeff Sessions, Tom Price, Neil Gorsuch, Amy Barrett.
  • Supporting a resolution opposing the use of federal funds for Planned Parenthood.
  • Changing U.S. Senate rules to clear the path for the nomination of Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch.
  • Expanding tax-free savings accounts to include payments for religious and other K-12 schools and for expenses such as private tutoring.

(House votes are here.)

Jeff Hunt, who directs Colorado Christian University’s Centennial Institute, wrote in his opinion piece:

The strong pro-family leadership of Gardner, Buck, Lamborn, and Tipton should be applauded. Research has clearly demonstrated that healthy families lead to thriving communities and that thriving communities don’t require as many government resources…

Whether one is a Republican or Democrat, we all want children and our communities to have the best possible options to thrive. Promoting healthy families is a great step forward for our state and nation. Strong families, community engagement, limited government, and children thriving is a win, win, win, win for Colorado. We should all applaud Cory Gardner, Ken Buck, Doug Lamborn, and Scott Tipton for their leadership.

Here is how the Southern Poverty Law Center summarizes its reasons for designating the Family Research Council as a hate group:

The FRC often makes false claims about the LGBT community based on discredited research and junk science. The intention is to denigrate LGBT people as the organization battles against same-sex marriage, hate crime laws, anti-bullying programs and the repeal of the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy.

To make the case that the LGBT community is a threat to American society, the FRC employs a number of “policy experts” whose “research” has allowed the FRC to be extremely active politically in shaping public debate. Its research fellows and leaders often testify before Congress and appear in the mainstream media. It also works at the grassroots level, conducting outreach to pastors in an effort to “transform the culture.”

Denver Post Editorial Page Editor Chuck Plunkett has argued in recent weeks (here and here) that Hunt’s advocacy for partisan Republican causes has strayed at times from his professed religious agenda.

In a tweet, Hunt took issue with the motives of the Southern Poverty Law Center, linking to a Wall Street Journal opinion article“Extremists use @splcenter false rating system to inflict violence upon conservatives. @FRCdc was targeted for a mass shooting as a result of SPLC. It’s wrong to use them, Jason,” he tweeted.

U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet got an 8 percent rating for voting in opposition to all the Family Research Council’s positions on the scorecard except a measure allowing for the confirmation vote of Gorsuch. The scores of other Colorado Congresspeople varied (Coffman 67 percent, DeGette 11 percent, Perlmutter 0 percent, and Polis 0 percent).