Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Voices on the Left and Right Respond to FRC Shooting

As mentioned in a prior post, a gunman opened fire at Family Research Council headquarters in Washington D.C. this morning, injuring a security guard. A suspect is in custody, and the injured guard is receiving medical care, according to news reports. Voices from both the left and right have offered support to the FRC in the wake of the shooting, but unfortunately, some figures have already politicized the incident.

First, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation posted a joint statement issued by leaders of dozens of LGBTQ organizations, including GLSEN, Log Cabin Republicans, Human Rights Campaign, PFLAG National, and the Trevor Project.

"We were saddened to hear news of the shooting this morning at the offices of the Family Research Council. Our hearts go out to the shooting victim, his family, and his co-workers.

The motivation and circumstances behind today’s tragedy are still unknown, but regardless of what emerges as the reason for this shooting, we utterly reject and condemn such violence.  We wish for a swift and complete recovery for the victim of this terrible incident."

Wayne Besen, executive director of Truth Wins Out, condemned the shooting and offered support to the FRC.
"In America we settle political differences through robust debate in the public square, not with violence. If the shooting is found to be politically motivated, it is a detestable act of cruelty and cowardice and the perpetrator should be punished to the fullest extent of the law. We stand squarely with the Family Research Council today and  offer them our full support and prayers."
Members of the progressive blogosphere condemned the violence as well. For example, Ed Brayton of Dispatches from the Culture Wars had this to say about the incident.
"The FRC is a terrible organization. I’ve spent the last decade — more, actually — working actively against them and I will continue to do so as long as they exist. But violence is not the answer and it is never justified in such situations. If we are going to criticize those on the right who use violence in the service of their political agenda — and we damn well do, and should — we must do the same thing when it’s done against those we disagree with as well."
Rob Tisinai at Box Turtle Bulletin praised the FRC security guard for his heroism in a dangerous situation.
"Details are scarce, but all reports indicate that FRC’s security team acted heroically under fire. I wish a speedy recovery to the guard who was shot and I hope he gets the recognition he deserves. The struggle for equality is a battle for hearts and minds; bloodshed has no place in the fight."
Jeremy Hooper at Good As You extended sympathy to the guard who was injured in Wednesday's shooting.
"I deplore violence. I hate guns. Mr. Johnson and all who were scarred by the incident (physically or emotionally) are in my thoughts.

The people who are already politicizing this need to stop."
Unfortunately, some voices from the right are already using the shooting as an opportunity to lash out at the left, particularly at the Southern Poverty Law Center for labeling the FRC a hate group. For example, a CBN commentary asks "Did 'Hate Group' Label Stir FRC Shooting?"

Matt Barber, vice president of Liberty Counsel Action, wasted no time in joining the scuffle. Barber's twitter account features jabs at the Southern Poverty Law Center for labeling the FRC a hate group. (Hat tip to Good As You. See twitter[dot]com/jmattbarber)
""Gay" activists & liberal groups should demand @SPLCenter retract its reckless "hate group" smear of #FRC & others to halt further bloodshed"

"Hey, @SPLCenter, the DC police chief hailed the wounded @FRCdc security guard a "hero." How can a hero work for a "hate group"?"
In an August 15th post at the National Organization for Marriage blog, NOM president Brian Brown insisted that the attack "is the clearest sign we've seen that labeling pro-marriage groups as 'hateful' must end." Brown used the shooting to demand that pro-LGBTQ groups stop using so-called "incendiary rhetoric." (See www[dot]nomblog[dot]com/27069/)
"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."
In a commentary piece at Life Site News, Kathleen Gilbert praised LGBTQ organizations for their swift condemnation of the shooting. However, she also accused LGBTQ leaders of demonizing right-wing groups such as FRC as evil.
"Yet these leaders bear much of the shame for hammering the message that opposing the redefinition of marriage means you “hate” certain people, and pushing the Southern Poverty Law Center’s classification of FRC as a “hate” group to rubberstamp this concept. A quick look around Twitter during the Chick-Fil-A controversy showed prominent LGBT voices, including the groups noted above, attacking pro-family groups in the most hyperbolic terms as hateful, bigoted, and downright evil - for supporting what even President Obama professed a few months ago: that marriage should be between a man and a woman."
In a blog post at the Bound4Life website, Matt Lockett wrote that the FRC has been "maliciously mislabeled" in the past by liberal groups and the media. He incorrectly stated that progressive organizations have said nothing in response to the shooting. (See
"Leftist organizations have labeled the FRC a “hate group,” and yet many of them have remained silent in light of today’s events. I am personal friends with Tony Perkins and many of the staff there, and I can confidently say that they have been maliciously mislabeled by both liberal organizations and the main stream media."
I find these jabs not only inappropriate, but nonsensical. The shooting does NOT somehow invalidate the rights and dignity of LGBTQ persons. Nor is the validity of the Southern Poverty Law Center's hate group designations the important issue here.

Enough. Let's focus on showing support for those affected by the shooting instead.

To read additional commentary, visit the following links.

Holy Bullies and Headless Monsters: Shooting at the Family Research Council - ALL violence (physical and spiritual) must be condemned

Politicus USA: Atheists Condemn Family Research Council Shooting


  1. That contrast between voices on the left and the right. So stark. So predictable.

    Excellent reporting, Ahab.

    1. Cognitive Dissenter -- Thanks. I'm eager to see how the rest of the Religious Right reacts to this. Will some of them show class and sensitivity, or use this as another excuse to slam people?

  2. I was so busy yesterday that I heard something about this but was unable to actually find much about it. Thank you so very much for all of the information.

    I am so sad for those who were injured and so thankful that someone was not killed. But the FRC spreads hate. That is not something that I am going to take responsibility for.

    1. Left Leaning Lady -- I'm relieved that bystanders reacted quickly and there wasn't further bloodshed. There is no excuse for violence. Still, none of this invalidates the rights of LGBTQ persons!

      By the way, did you hear what FRC president Tony Perkins said?

  3. I have seen that. But what I just posted on Facebook is that if Fox News and Sarah Palin were in no way responsible for what happened to Ms. Giffords and those murdered and injured in Arizona, then do not point the fingers at the SPLC.

    The FRC spreads hate. And they do it under a banner of Christianity.


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