World Congress of Families say it is not a hate group
Salt Lake City —
(KUTV) The question was simple, and the answer succinct.
"Are you a hater?" 2News asked the director of the upcoming World Congress of Families in Salt Lake City.
"Ah, no," said Janice Shaw Crouse, PdD in Communication, academic, former speech writer for the first President Bush, and accused "exporter of hate" according to the pro-LGBT Human Rights Campaign.
"I can't tell you how much that hurt, actually," said Crouse in a one-to-one interview on Wednesday at the Sutherland Institute, sponsor of the World Congress of Families convention here.
Crouse said the Congress has two themes---pro-life causes and promoting families with a mother and father.
Last weekend, the Human Rights Campaign held a news conference in Salt Lake, again attaching the "hate" label to the World Congress of Families, saying it is linked to anti-gay laws in countries as diverse as Russia and Uganda.
"Quite frankly, this comes as a shock to us, because we are scholars," said Crouse, who maintained the organization does not lobby governments, and that it condemns violence against anyone.
Its Salt Lake convention will be held in late October at the Grand America Hotel. A Catholic Archbishop and an LDS General Authority are slated to speak. Crouse, an Evangelical Christian, said the Congress has also drawn Jews and Buddhists.
But in giving Crouse a "dishonorable mention,' a Human Rights Campaign site showed video of Crouse speaking before a group.
"Without authentic moral absolutes, America as we know it is at risk," she said on the video. On an audio clip, edited right next to the video, she is quoted as saying, "They want to make sure that sex between adults and children is mainstreamed…so that there are no barriers to sex between any person…persons and animals, anything goes."
Crouse stood by her words on Wednesday, and while many might infer it, she insisted she never referred to the gay community in making those statements.
Within the last several months, she and members of the Sutherland Institute invited local LGBT activists to lunch. The activists, she said, agreed to refrain from tossing the "hate" moniker, and also would take down a website that was critical of the World Congress of Families.
"Did they do that?" 2News asked.
"Yes they did," said Crouse. "I'm very pleased to say they kept their word."
She suspected out-of-town activists spurred the news conference last Saturday.
Mark Lawrence of Restore our Humanity was at the lunch with Crouse, and said he removed the website as a gesture of good will, but said the two groups views are far apart. Still, Lawrence felt the Human Rights Campaign went too far with the "hate" description.
Another activist, Troy Williams of Equality Utah, said the sponsoring Sutherland Institute should "repudiate" laws in other countries that he said target gays.
The name -- the World Congress of Families -- may conjure images of a global organization with vast international reach. But Crouse said the epicenter of WCF has two full-time employees, and its conference presentations draw from 700 to 5,000 people.
And in the center is a common denominator, according to Crouse.
"The one thing that links us all is our desire to promote the natural family."