Family Research Council (FRC) President Tony Perkins in an interview this afternoon with Fox News blamed the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) for what he claimed was a “license to shoot an unarmed man” by labeling his organization a “hate group.” Yesterday, a man named Floyd Corkins allegedly shot an FRC employee initially identified as a security guard in the arm. Corkins, according to police reports, was carrying 15 Chick-Fil-A sandwiches in his backpack and was heavily armed.
”Let me be very clear here that Floyd Corkins was responsible for the wounding of one of our colleagues and one of my friends yesterday here at the Family Research Council,” Perkins told Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly. ‘”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.”
“And I believe the Southern Poverty Law Center should be held accountable for their reckless use of terminology that is leading to the intimidation and what the FBI here has categorized as an act of domestic terrorism,” Perkins added.
“And in those stories where it says the Family Research Council it says they’re a certified hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center,” Perkins continued. “We’ve seen that term used increasingly over the last two years and it marginalizes individuals and organizations, letting people feel free to go and do bodily harm to innocent people who are simply working and representing folks all across this country.”
In fact, the Southern Poverty Law Center did not add the Family Research Council to its list of Active Ant-Gay Hate Groups in 2010 “because they disagree with them on public policy.”
Perkins habitually uses the term “public policy” to stand for issues like same-sex marriage and adoption of children by gay parents.
And Perkins clearly rejected any responsibility whatsoever for helping to create and foster a climate of hate, which does “marginalize” LGBT people.
Perkins went on to say the the Southern Poverty Law Center “did this up in Minnesota with a parents group that was defending a policy that the school board had adopted.”
That “parent’s group” is a conservative religious group of parents from the Anoka-Hennepin school district called the Parents Action League (PALS), which was “defending” a “don’t say gay” policy, a clear violation of students’ First Amendment rights. PALS, as The New Civil Rights Movement reported in January, also demanded that the school board teach students about “ex-gay” and “ex-transgender therapy” — which have been deemed harmful by major medical associations — and teach children that homosexual sex has “medical consequences,” and teach students about, as their resolution stated, “Gay-Related Immunity Deficiency Syndrome.” GRIDS is the name given in 1982 to what is now referred to as AIDS, and has been since 1986.
The Southern Poverty Law Center responded to Perkins’ shocking statement, that they gave the gunman a “license to shoot an unarmed man” with a lengthy statement, including this salient explanation:
Perkins’ accusation is outrageous. The SPLC has listed the FRC as a hate group since 2010 because it has knowingly spread false and denigrating propaganda about LGBT people — not, as some claim, because it opposes same-sex marriage. The FRC and its allies on the religious right are saying, in effect, that offering legitimate and fact-based criticism in a democratic society is tantamount to suggesting that the objects of criticism should be the targets of criminal violence.
As the SPLC made clear at the time and in hundreds of subsequent statements and press interviews, we criticize the FRC for claiming, in Perkins’ words, that pedophilia is “a homosexual problem” — an utter falsehood, as every relevant scientific authority has stated. An FRC official has said he wanted to “export homosexuals from the United States.” The same official advocated the criminalizing of homosexuality.
Perkins and his allies, seeing an opportunity to score points, are using the attack on their offices to pose a false equivalency between the SPLC’s criticisms of the FRC and the FRC’s criticisms of LGBT people. The FRC routinely pushes out demonizing claims that gay people are child molesters and worse — claims that are provably false. It should stop the demonization and affirm the dignity of all people.
In the video interview, below, Fox News’ Megyn Kelly admits that Corkins had “15 sandwiches of Chick-Fil-A on him,” but refuses to allow the possibility that Chick-Fil-A’s support of anti-gay organizations like the Family Research Council could be the motivation for Corkins.
Perkins, too, mentions the Chick-Fil-A link, but, shockingly, doesn’t allow that maybe, just maybe, Corkins was angry about Chick-Fil-A’s support of the Family Research Council and that was maybe his motivation.
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