The FRC was founded by James Dobson in 1981 and is a major organization representing religious conservatives. It is is a strong proponent of social conservative causes such as opposition to abortion, same-sex marriage and embryonic stem cell research. In 2010, the Southern Poverty Law Center classified the organization as a hate group due to its positions on gay rights, a classification Perkins denounced as part of “the left's smear campaign [against] conservatives.”

In 2012, a security guard was injured when the FRC's Washington, D.C., headquarters was attacked by a gunman who reportedly disagreed with the group's politics.