Tony Perkins, pro-family leader & Baptist in La., named FRC president
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)--A man known for leadership on moral issues in Louisiana and involvement in his Southern Baptist church is the newest president of the Family Research Council.
Tony Perkins, currently a member of the Louisiana House of Representatives, was named president of the Washington-based organization by its board of directors Aug. 13. He officially will begin serving as president Sept. 1.
Perkins has gained a pro-family reputation in Louisiana with his vocal opposition to gambling and abortion and his authorship of the nation's first covenant marriage law. His concern about the influence of the homosexual movement led him to found the Louisiana Family Forum in 1998.
He is a member of Greenwell Springs (La.) Baptist Church.
"They could not have chosen a better man," Perkins' pastor, Dennis Terry, told Baptist Press. "Tony Perkins is perhaps one of the godliest men I've ever known."
Perkins, who has been a member of the church for approximately three years, occasionally preaches in Terry's absence.
"He walks the walk," Terry said. "He talks the talk. He's just an unbelievable guy. ... God's given him a tremendous gift."
Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religions Liberty Commission, praised the decision.
"I look forward to working with Tony on causes of common concern in our nation's capital," Land said. "He brings a powerful combination of deep commitment to moral reformation in our nation as well as tremendous political experience and skill."
Perkins' leadership in the covenant marriage issue symbolizes his "deep commitment to the family and to the moral reformation of our nation," Land said. "He remains a tremendous inspiration in this ongoing and critically important initiative to strengthen marriages around the U.S."
Focus on the Family's James Dobson, who serves on the Family Research Council board of directors, said Perkins' leadership comes at a critical time in the nation's history.
"The very bedrock of our society and nation, the institution of marriage, is under attack," Dobson said in a statement. "I can't think of anyone more prepared to lead FRC and to promote and defend the sanctity of marriage and the family at this time than Tony Perkins."
Perkins is a former Marine and a former police officer. He has been married to his wife, Lawana, for 17 years. They have four children.
Perkins replaces Ken Connor, who resigned as president in July.
"Rarely is there a piece of legislation passed or a court ruling handed down that doesn't affect the family," Perkins said in a statement. "I am honored to have been asked to lead the country's premier public policy organization dedicated to strengthening the family and defending the sanctity of life."
Perkins failed in a bid for the U.S. Senate last year.
"It just wasn't God's time or place," Terry told Baptist Press, adding that Perkins is "the one who has fought for us as believers in the state of Louisiana for many years."
"... I don't know if Southern Baptists realize the man that we have there. He is a tremendous brother."
Dwayne Hastings contributed to this article. (BP) photo posted in the BP Photo Library at http://www.bpnews.net. Photo title: TONY PERKINS.