Joyce L. Arnold, Liberally Independent, Queer Talk, equality activist, writer.
UPDATE at end: From WND’s Joseph Farah, “Who Put Target on FRC’s Back.”
The Family Research Council shooting story, in which a guard was wounded while he and others stopped the shooter continues to develop. Not surprisingly, a part of the focus from some on the Religious Right has been pointing the accusatory finger at the Southern Poverty Law Center and LGBT organizations for naming FRC a “hate group.”
Floyd Lee Corkins of Herndon, VA., 28 years old, was arrested at the scene. To this point, the only indication of motive provided by authorities are comments Corkins allegedly made against FRC’s anti-LGBT positions. There has been no indication of his own sexual orientation.
First and foremost: violence is wrong.
As Alvin McEwen writes at Pam’s Houseblend:
Shooting at the Family Research Council – ALL violence (physical and spiritual) must be condemned
… a 28-year-old man came in pretending to be an intern. On his person, he had two guns. The security guard fought him and kept him from fully using these guns, at the expense of getting wounded.
According to reports, the young man committed this act because he disagreed with the Family Research Council’s anti-gay stance.
First of all, let me say that I totally condemn what this young man did. Violence is never the answer. The security guard, who is in stable condition, is also in my prayers. He is a hero for what he did. Finally, I am glad that the situation did not get worse.
However, let me also say that while I condemn physical violence, I also condemn spiritual violence.
And in that respect, something must be said about the Family Research Council.
This is a very unusual position for the LGBT communities, to have someone use violence as a way of, supposedly, condemning the FRC’s anti-LGBT policies. Everything I’ve read is similar to what McEwen writes: the violence is condemned. But the actions of this one man are no more representative of the vast majority of LGBT people than are the actions of any one of the heterosexual men who have committed mass shootings representative of all heterosexuals. And as McEwen mentions, as wrong as Corkin’s actions were, they don’t remove the judgmental, and yes, hateful, words that routinely come from FRC, National Organization for Marriage, and others.
Zack Ford, at Think Progress:
Understanding ‘Hate’ In The Wake Of The Family Research Council Shooting
Wednesday’s shooting at the Family Research Council was a tragedy, and the wounded security guard and others who put themselves in harm’s way to overpower the shooter are indeed heroes. But how conservatives have responded in the shooting’s wake is incredibly disconcerting, an attempt to appropriate a tragedy to cover up the harm caused by their anti-gay views. As FRC readies its ‘Religious Liberty Under Fire’ campaign, the National Organization for Marriage’s Brian Brown has offered the most flagrant response, claiming that the use of the term ‘hate group’ is an invitation to violence:
BROWN: ‘… For too long national gay rights groups have intentionally marginalized and ostracized pro-marriage groups and individuals by labeling them as ‘hateful’ and ‘bigoted’ — such harmful and dangerous labels deserve no place in our civil society and NOM renews its call today for gay rights groups and the Southern Poverty Law Center to withdraw such incendiary rhetoric from a debate that involves millions of good Americans.’
As Ford points out, if Corkins attacked FRC based on their religious beliefs, or on the basis of their “heterosexuality,” then that could be a hate crime, and should be investigated as such. But even then, FRC’s history is such that the “hate group” designation is well earned. Ford:
The Southern Poverty Law Center defines ‘hate groups’ as those organizations whose beliefs or practices ‘attack or malign an entire class of people, typically for their immutable characteristics.’ Groups like FRC do just that, spreading lies to the public about the supposed harms of homosexuality and lobbying against LGBT equality. In fact, members of FRC have publicly supported ‘criminal sanctions’ against people just for being gay. By advocating for hetero-supremacy in society, groups like FRC own the identity of “bigot” through their outspoken intolerance and the classification of ‘hate group’ through their actions.
At AmericaBlogGay, John Aravosis, writes:
Does the shooting at the Family Research Council exonerate the group’s 20 years of hate?
… Conservatives, such as CNN’s Erick Erickson, are already trying to tie Democrats to the attack. Why? Because people on the left had the audacity to challenge the Family Research Council’s decades of hateful and bigoted attacks against gay and lesbian Americans. And other conservatives are calling for the Southern Poverty Law Center to no longer list the FRC as a hate group because of today’s violence. That would be wrong.
Because of conservatives trying to take political advantage of the shooting I’m now forced to recap just how hateful and bigoted an organization the Family Research Council really is. I’d have preferred to have avoided that this so soon after the attack, but conservatives leave us no choice.
Aravosis provides an overview of some of the reasons the “hate group” designation is appropriate, including: endorsing imprisonment of LGBTs; stating that LGBT children are “abnormal,” and LGBTs are “destructive to society,” and are “pedophiles.”
Go here for the SPLC report on FRC.
About FRC’s actions since the shooting, this from Good As You:
FRC readying a ‘Religious Liberty Under Fire’ campaign
The campaign has not been launched, but the stand-in page (with mostly dummy text and dead links) went up on FRC’s domain over night. I really hope the ‘under fire’ language is not a veiled reference to anything … .
Here’s a link to FRC’s Religious Liberty Under Fire Campaign.
Finally, here’s something I very much appreciate, and encourage you to check out. Via Box Turtle Bulletin, “41 LGBT Advocacy Groups Jointly Condemn FRC Shooting.”
UPDATE: I have no idea why I got an email from WND, with CEO Joseph Farah’s letter about the FRC shooting. I can’t make myself suggest you go read the whole thing, but here’s an excerpt. I’ll keep this letter, because it’s is one of the best / worst examples of why “hate” is used in describing what some of the more extreme religious right types push and publish.
… In light of the shooting attack on the Family Research Council today, maybe it’s time for organizations like the Southern Poverty Law Center and Planned Parenthood to get a dose of their own poison.
Both of these organizations literally did their best to put a target on the back of FRC and other pro-family groups by labeling it as a ‘hate group’ (SPLC) and ‘terrorist or extremist organization’ (Planned Parenthood). …
In this case, it appears the attacker was in agreement with the positions of Planned Parenthood and SPLC. One can only wonder whether this was the kind of reaction these groups were trying to ignite or whether they were more interested in how much money they could raise by demonizing a respected organization carrying out its First Amendment rights. …
Other groups and individuals on those lists – including me and my news organization – are … beefing up security precautions in anticipation of more violence provoked by slanderous and vicious assaults of this kind. …
For hate-mongering, fear-mongering groups like Planned Parenthood and SPLC, the chickens are coming home to roost.
I know neither one of these groups believes in prayer, but, if I were among their severely disturbed and deranged leadership, I would be praying the shooter is not a card-carrying member.