First things first. Violence is not the answer. I condemn in the strongest possible way any act of terrorism, be it by Muslim, Christian, Secularist, or (insert group here). As I wrote earlier in the week:
But no matter how strongly I feel about the FRC, I would never advocate violence against them. This attack on their offices and the wounding of their guard is tragic. I am thankful that no one was killed. If the attack was indeed committed because of the stances the FRC takes on social and political issues, then it disgusts me even more. Violence is not the answer
Is that clear? Good.
With that being said, the Family Research Council is still a hate group. A lone psycho with a gun does not suddenly give you a free pass on all the hateful rhetoric you have spent years spreading. Nor does it give you the right to hypocrisy, ‘tsk tsk’ing your opponents for calling you on your hate while continuing to spew forth incendiary propaganda.
Is that also clear? Good.
In the wake of the vile shooting, the FRC held a press conference that attempted to place partial blame for the shooting on their critics. As Dispatches from the Culture Wars reports:
In the aftermath of the vile shooting at the offices of the Family Research Council in Washington, DC, the FRC is working overtime to convince people that those who criticize their rank bigotry are at least partly to blame for the shooting. They held a press conference to make exactly that argument:
In a news conference outside the Family Research Council’s building addressing the incident and the arrest of the alleged shooter, Floyd Corkins II, Perkins said: “Let me be clear that Floyd Corkins was responsible for firing the shots yesterday that wounded one of our colleagues … but Corkins was given a license to shoot an unarmed man by organizations like the Southern Poverty Law Center that have been reckless in labeling organizations ‘hate groups’ because they disagree with them on public policy.”
Perkins, the group’s president, added that he “appreciates” those LGBT organizations that issued a statement of condemnation for the shooting but asked those groups “to join us in calling for an end to the reckless rhetoric that I believe led to yesterday’s incident.”
Also from Dispatches, here is Tony Perkins of the FRC assigning partial blame to ….. Obama?
Perkins: What I would call an attack on religious freedom is trickling down in our country. It’s not just isolated to the administration but it’s as if the President and his administration’s indifference towards religious freedom has really created an open season all across this country.
Perkins: Well I think as we witnessed this past week at the Family Research Council, clearly linked to that same atmosphere of hostility that’s created by the public policies of an administration that’s indifferent or hostile to religious freedom and groups like as I mentioned the Southern Poverty Law Center that recklessly throws around labels giving people like this gunman who came into our building a license to take innocent life.
From RightWingWatch, here is Janet Mefferd suggesting that groups should stop their criticism:
Mefferd: I was reading through for example what the Human Rights Campaign had posted the day before the shooting and they had a whole list there that was very inflammatory about the Family Research Council, ‘they want to export homosexuals from the US’ and ‘they equate homosexuals with pedophiles’ and all this stuff. I thought: if you were somewhat of an unstable person and you read this sort of stuff and you were in line with what they believe I think it could drive somebody to violence.
Anti-abortion rhetoric not only could drive people to violence, but has multiple times. Yet anti-abortion groups keep pushing out the reckless rhetoric.
That being said, calling groups out on their hate is not “reckless rhetoric.” It is the truth. If the FRC doesn’t want to be labeled a hate group, then stop being a hate group!
At the recent National Prayer Breakfast, President Obama took the podium calling for greater civility in Washington, which in my opinion is a laudable goal. However, his comments quickly turned to his preoccupation with defending homosexuality.
The President criticized Ugandan leaders for considering enhance penalties for crimes related to homosexuality. The press has widely mischaracterized the law which calls for the death penalty, not for homosexual behavior which is already a crime, but for acts such as intentionally spreading HIV/AIDS, or preying upon vulnerable individuals such as children, which has been a problem in Uganda for years because the large number of orphans.
The President said that “We may disagree about gay marriage, “but surely we can agree that it is unconscionable to target gays and lesbians for who they are.” Mr. President as long as you characterize efforts to uphold moral conduct that protects others and in particular the most vulnerable, as attacking people, civility will continue to evade us.
That’s almost funny. He says that President Obama, who spends almost all of his time on issues like the economy, foreign policy and spending, has a “preoccupation with defending homosexuality.” Meanwhile, Tony Perkins has an actual occupation that does little other than find ways to demean gay people and deny them equal rights. Talk about projecting one’s own obsessions.
More importantly, he’s lying about what the Ugandan bill does. He pretends it’s just about intentionally spreading HIV, which is absolutely false. That bill also prescribes the death penalty for anyone who is a “serial offender” — that is, anyone who engages in homosexuality multiple times. That means pretty much every gay person. But to Perkins, apparently, that’s just an effort to “uphold moral conduct.” And they wonder why they’re called a hate group.
You don’t like reckless rhetoric, Tony? Really? You run an organization that has spent the last few decades calling gay people child molesters who only want to get married in order to destroy the institution of marriage and probably American civilization too. Your group put out a pamphlet that said:
“One of the primary goals of the homosexual rights movement is to abolish all age of consent laws and to eventually recognize pedophiles as the ‘prophets’ of a new sexual order.”
You have no problem lying about and dehumanizing gay people, portraying them as monsters who want to devour people’s children. Your group continues to cite the research of the completely disgraced Paul Cameron, whose entire career has been devoted to inventing lies to foment hatred of gays. You continue to argue that gay people are so broken that they should get failed “reversion therapy” to turn them straight.
Jesus Christ on a bike, you just hired Jerry Boykin as your executive vice president. Boykin can’t open his mouth without saying something absolutely batshit crazy. The guy thinks that public school textbooks are written to bring about a “Marxist revolution” and wants to ban the building of mosques in America. And “reckless rhetoric” bothers you? Give me a fucking break.
Violence is not the answer. Terrorism is not the answer. Everyone should be against the shooting at the FRC’s offices.
But the FRC is still a hate group, and we still need to work against them at every opportunity.