Family Research Council's 'Values Bus,' parked outside First Baptist Church during Council President Tony Perkins' sermon at the church in March 2012.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A national anti-LGBT hate group will hold a nationally-broadcast “Star-Spangled Sunday” at First Baptist Church on Sunday, Sept. 14, featuring U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R).

Other guests at the event include the Family Research Council’s president, Tony Perkins, as well as Jason and David Benham, twin anti-gay evangelicals and sons of anti-gay street preacher Flip Benham who lost a show on HGTV after backlack due to their radical activism opposing LGBT equality and women’s health.

The event is sponsored by the Family Research Council, a Washington, D.C.-based anti-LGBT advocacy group the Southern Poverty Law Center has named a hate group. The Montgomery, Ala.-based SPLC says the council’s “specialty is defaming gays and lesbians” and that it “makes false claims about the LGBT community based on discredited research and junk science.” Staffers at the Family Research Council have long claimed, despite all evidence to the contrary, that gay men are more likely to be child molesters. One staffer, Peter Sprigg, once said, “I would much prefer to export homosexuals from the United States than import them,” and has advocated outlawing homosexuality.

The event will be hosted at First Baptist Church, pastored by the Rev. Mark Harris, who was a contender in this year’s Republican primary for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan. Harris, while president of the North Carolina Baptist State Convention, was also a founding member of the the Vote FOR Marriage NC referendum committee, which supported the passage of North Carolina’s anti-LGBT constitutional amendment in 2012.

The event will be broadcast online. It begins at 7 p.m. on Sept. 14.

It’s not the first time First Baptist has hosted Perkins and the Family Research Council. In March 2012, in the lead up to the amendment vote, Perkins delivered a sermon at First Baptist at Pastor Harris’ invitation.

Perkins, a former Louisiana state House representative, has ties to the white supremacist movement, once speaking at a Council of Conservative Citizens meeting in May 1997.

Matt Comer

Matt Comer previously served as editor from October 2007 through August 2015 and as a staff writer afterward in 2016.