Earlier today, Floyd Lee Corkins pleaded guilty to several counts relating to when he opened fire at the Family Research Council, injuring a guard before he was subdued. FRC’s Tony Perkins used that news to reiterate his belief that by labeling groups like his as “hate groups,” the Southern Poverty Law Center gave Corkins a “license” for violence:
PERKINS: The day after Floyd Corkins came into the FRC headquarters and opened fire wounding one of our team members, I stated that while Corkins was responsible for the shooting, he had been given a license to perpetrate this act of violence by groups like the Southern Poverty Law Center which has systematically and recklessly labeled every organization with which they disagree as a “hate group.”
Today both assertions were validated in court as Corkins plead guilty to multiple criminal charges, including terrorism. The Southern Poverty Law Center can no longer say that it is not a source for those bent on committing acts of violence. Only by ending its hate-labeling practices will the SPLC send a message that it no longer wishes to be a source for those who would commit acts of violence that are only designed to intimidate and silence Christians and others who support natural marriage and traditional morality.
Once again, I call on the SPLC to put an immediate stop to its practice of labeling organizations that oppose their promotion of homosexuality. Whether the SPLC continues to demonize those who hold to biblical morality or not, the Family Research Council will remain unequivocally committed to our mission of advancing faith, family and freedom.
Perkins’ accusation is just as “outrageous” now as it was back in August. The SPLC is simply identifying “hate” as “hate.” Contrary to Perkins’ implication, hate crimes based on sexual orientation increased in 2011 despite the fact that the overall number of hate crimes declined. Of course, he never takes responsibility for the rhetoric FRC puts forth everyday, such as this morning when he reminded the world that he believes gay men are pedophiles, despite claiming to say the opposite. In September, just moments after once again painting FRC as a victim to the SPLC, Perkins then compared homosexuality to drug abuse. It’s not hard to draw a connection between that kind of hateful rhetoric and the ongoing harassment of the LGBT community, but FRC’s “mission of advancing faith, family, and freedom” is not particularly concerned with reality.
The National Organization for Marriage, which is not itself identified as an anti-gay hate group by the SPLC, also issued a statement attacking the labels. According to Brian Brown, “irresponsible ‘hate group’ charges nearly led to a massacre at the Family Research Council.”