Last week, a gunman walked into the Family Research Council’s (FRC) D.C. headquarters and opened fire on a security guard after expressing his disdain for the views of über-conservative, non-profit lobbying organization, particularly concerning those directed at the LGBT community. For years, the FRC has been fervent in pushing their “pro-family,” “pro-marriage” (read: anti-gay) agenda, going so far as to demand “criminal sanctions against homosexual behavior,” as well as labeling gay men pedophiles and a “danger to children.” In 2010, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) labeled the FRC a hate group, a designation the FRC obviously contested.
Shortly after the shooting, the gunman was identified as 28-year-old Floyd Corkins II, who had been volunteering at The DC Center for the LGBT Community for the past six months. Almost immediately, 27 pro-equality organizations (as of time of writing this, the number has risen to at least 45) issued a joint statement condemning Corkins’ actions, as well as offering sympathy to the victim’s family and co-workers at the FRC. Despite the olive branch, however, the FRC and a multitude of other anti-gay groups—including the National Organization For Marriage (NOM), American Family Association (AFA), and Liberty Counsel—saw it as a chance to blame the gays, specifically targeting the SPLC. In an interview with Fox News, Perkins said, “Floyd Corkins was given a license to shoot an unarmed man by [the SPLC] that have been reckless in labeling organizations hate groups because they disagree with them on public policy.”
It’s one thing to have a set of beliefs that you’re passionate about, but it’s another entirely to politicize the tragic actions of a deranged madman in order to advance those values. What Tony Perkins and the rest of these prominent right-winged “Christians” are doing is nothing short of despicable. They’re using this deplorable act as an opportunity to demonize the entire gay community, even as the gay community rallies behind the very people who have treated us as if we’re a subhuman species for decades. For that matter, if one gay man’s violent dissent is supposed to be representative of all gay people, why shouldn’t the 84 percent—a prodigiously larger number of people than one—of U.S. prisoners who identify as Christians be representative of all Christians? Some have even ventured to accuse leading LGBT resources, such as The Advocate, as pushing an anti-Christian, anti-Republican agenda. In actuality, The Advocate is a gay news publication, and as such, they report stories that pertain to the LGBT community, including those involving discrimination, hate, and violence towards the community. By and large, the people perpetuating these qualities do so under the guise of religion and/or politics, the majority of whom identify as Christian and/or Republican/Rightist.
The silver lining in all of this is that the mainstream now gets to see what types of people those behind these organizations truly are. To use a senseless act of violence that could have resulted in the death of many as a catalyst for hate-spewing brings to light what these people are actually about. They sneer at the term “anti-gay” because of its perceived hostile connotation, but what are we to call them when what they’ve been preaching and currently are saying comes across as nothing but virulent and not-so-subtle hate speech?
What Tony Perkins and others on the Right are doing by politicizing the FRC shooting is insinuating that the unwarranted violence is somehow a victory for their cause by blaming it on the Left and the gays. The reality is that unnecessary bloodshed is never a triumph and, furthermore, a travesty for humanity as a whole.