Thursday, August 16, 2012

The Family Research Council is Still a Hate Group...

I debated posting about this. I really did. Part of me really wanted to be the "grown up" here, and just let it go. Ignore it and move on, the little voice of reason inside my head said, there is nothing to gain by engaging with these people. And that little voice of reason is probably right.

But you know what?   Screw it.  There is nothing  reasonable  about any of this.   So let's start with the facts.

Yesterday in  Washington DC, a man named  Floyd Lee Corkins,  walked into an office building.  Allegedly voiced  his opposition to the business that was head quartered there,  pulled out a gun and  fired at a security guard, wounding him in the arm.  The wounded security guard then  disarmed Corkins and held him until Police and FBI agents  arrived on the scene.

In the wake of yet another shooting incident  in a public place in the United States,  you would think the story here would be about another disturbed individual  who  was able with little or no trouble, acquire an incredibly dangerous firearm, along with ammunition and then commit an act of domestic  terrorism.    But in this case,  the who, what  and when  are  just the background for the much bigger issues of  where this happened and the possible reasons  why.

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I have blogged extensively about the Family Research Council, and specifically about its President, Tony Perkins.   Yet  before  we  take hold that  that particular  thread of this story,  it is  important to make one thing perfectly clear.    Domestic Terrorism  is a crime against  the  very  heart and soul of America.  Our right to  the "pursuit of happiness",  the  ability to  go about our lives without living in fear.

Should it be proven that  Floyd Corkins, was not just a crazy guy with a gun who wandered in a random building and opened fire;  Then it would make him  no different than the sick twisted madmen who recently  shot up a Colorado movie theatre, and a Wisconsin  Sikh Temple.  Or for that matter,  no different  than  the sick and twisted men who blew up the Oklahoma City Federal Building, or  assasinated  Kansas Doctor George Tiller as he sat in Church one Sunday Morning.

Terrorism is Terrorism. The idealogical motivation is irrelevant.

We all can wish for the speedy recovery of the wounded FRC employee, and hold him, his family and his co-workers in our thoughts and prayers. Also we all can agree that any act of Domestic Terrorism is a tragedy and the gunman who attacked the FRC offices should face as swift and fair a prosecution as we would do with any domestic terrorist.

Literally moments after reports of the shooting  went out over the airwaves and  internet,  various surrogates and  supporters of the  FRC  began to suggest that this attack on the offices  of  a Social Conservative Advocacy Group  was a Liberal Hate Crime, and  it was  rhetoric critical of the FRC,  by groups like the Southern Poverty Law Center, and  LGBT Rights organizations that  had perhaps motived Corkins to commit this act of  terrorism.

We do not yet know what  Corkin's motives for this were.   Fox News has cited un-named witnesses who claim Corkins  made statements  about his personal dislike for the mission and positions of the FRC before he opened fire.

Sources told Fox New that after guard took away his gun, the suspect said, “Don’t shoot me, it was not about you, it was what this place stands for.”   Authorities were treating the attack as a case of domestic terrorism, although James McJunkin, the head of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, said authorities do not yet know the gunman’s motive.

I have in the last few hours read blog posts and comments where friends of mine, people who I have known and respected for decades; have put forward the notion that this is an example of the "violent radical gay left". The Conservative media and blogosphere has jumped on the "left wing hate crime" narrative with gusto.    Speculating that  "Left-wing hate speech against  Christians " motivated Corkins to do what he did.

The Southern Poverty Law Center,  after careful examination of the words, policies, and actions of the FRC recently added them to their list  of groups that promote hatred and violence against minorities. (From the SPLC Website)

The Family Research Council (FRC) bills itself as “the leading voice for the family in our nation’s halls of power,” but its real specialty is defaming gays and lesbians. The FRC often makes false claims about the LGBT community based on discredited research and junk science. The intention is to denigrate LGBT people in its battles against same-sex marriage, hate crimes laws, anti-bullying programs and the repeal of the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy.

To make the case that the LGBT community is a threat to American society, the FRC employs a number of “policy experts” whose “research” has allowed the FRC to be extremely active politically in shaping public debate. Its research fellows and leaders often testify before Congress and appear in the mainstream media. It also works at the grassroots level, conducting outreach to pastors in an effort to “transform the culture.”

Now in the wake of yesterday's shooting, FRC President Tony Perkins, and numerous surrogates have fanned out across the media claiming, that it was the designation by the SPLC that is to blame for what happened. Brian Brown from the anti-civil rights group the "National Organization for Marriage" went on CNN to try to make the case that it was the FRC being criticised for its hateful speech, rather than the hateful speech itself that was to blame

It is insanity to blame a victim of a crime for the actions of the criminal who committed it. Yet, the Family Research Council  is quite happy to excuse the criminal when the victim of a hate crime or act of terrorism is Gay, Lesbian, Bi-Sexual or Transgender. The FRC in fact, believes the victim had it coming.   So if we are going to talk about hateful rhetoric then fine. I will allow the Family Research Council speak for itself. - in their own words:

” Gays are like a gun to the head of America. That’s what we’re talking about whenever you’re talking about gay rights. You’re talking about giving somebody a gun to put at the head of anybody who disagrees with them, whether it’s the Boy Scouts, whether it’s a local dry-cleaning establishment or a giant corporation like Shell Oil.” – Robert  Knight, FRC  

Let's be very clear here.  If Gay Rights advocates ever used the same language  when talking about Conservative Christians,  Tony Perkins  and those like him would be screaming for marshal law and suspension of the First Amendment.   No LGBT rights group has EVER called for conservative Christians to be rounded up, imprisoned and killed. Yet  Perkins and the  FRC have publicly called for exactly that, for  Gay and Lesbians  through their support  for efforts to make simply being Gay a capital crime in places like Uganda.   

I don't know what motivated Floyd Corkins to attack the offices of the Family Research Council.   Latest news reports indicate Corkins has been arraigned, charged, and ordered  held without bond for a mental health evaluation.   Police and  the FBI are not  saying what motive, if any,  Corkins has revealed  for his  actions.   Yet the idea that there is some  pervasive cloud of anti-Christian hatred in America, created by the Political Left, and sustained  through  hateful and violent rhetoric against Christians by LGBT rights groups;   is a load of opportunistic, hypocritical nonsense of such proportions as to truly boggle the mind.

On this very blog,  I have often used strong language when talking about the Family Research Council, and its President, Tony Perkins. Many times I have referred to the FRC as being the "American Taliban" , and made the sarcastic suggestion that Perkins himself may be a closeted Homosexual. Is it possible that the words I have used could be taken to heart by someone like Floyd Corkins, and used as justification for acts of violence against Social Conservatives?  It's possible, but highly improbable.

But having said that, I will make Tony Perkins a deal.   I will own every thing I have ever written or said about him and his organization and its allies. I will accept that my words and writings may have contributed to a member of  the FRC  staff getting shot in the arm. I will concede Perkins'  point that rhetoric critical of  his  point of view and policy efforts may have  directly lead to the events of yesterday. I will agree to it all, but that means the same standard applies to Tony Perkins and the entire FRC as well.

If we all accept the idea that calling the Family Research Council a "hate group" has resulted in a a climate where Floyd Corkins felt it was ok to shoot a member or its staff, that means Tony Perkins and the FRC can and must be held directly accountable for the impact of more than twenty years of their own campaign of hatred and dehumanization of Gays and Lesbians.

So  I am more than willing to  personally apologize to the FRC's wounded staff member and his entire family, If in  return,  Perkins does the same to the families he and his organization have harmed.  Starting with these.

I am willing to stand up, apologize and say I own my own  words, and  the possible role they may have played in what happened at your offices yesterday, but then Perkins and the FRC own all of theirs    At the time these horrific crimes and tragedies against  LGBT people  happened,  what was The response from the Family Research Council? - Silence.

Actually,  I take that back.   Tony Perkins did go on Television to fight  against ANY efforts to address bullying of LGBT kids in schools. Going on to say that it was not the bullies who drove those kids to their deaths, or anti gay hatred that the problem, but rather, "gay activists" who in his view were “exploiting these tragedies to push their agenda."    

Ironic, when you watch Tony Perkins on Fox News yesterday, trying to  do exactly that.

I don't know of anyone who isn't condemning the attack on the FRC. We ALL wish the brave security guard who was wounded, a speedy recovery, and look to see  Floyd Corkins  justly charged and tried for his actions.    Yet the it is hard to get past the glaring hypocrisy here, Tony Perkins wants to create a false equivalency and avoid all accountability for the role of the Family Research Council in the massive litany of violence committed against LGBT Americans on regular basis. While at the same time, demanding those who disagree with him, own the events of yesterday.

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