Wednesday’s shooting at the Family Research Council
was a tragedy, and the wounded security guard and others who put themselves in harm’s way to overpower the shooter are indeed heroes. But how conservatives have responded in the shooting’s wake is incredibly disconcerting, an attempt to appropriate a tragedy to cover up the harm caused by their anti-gay views. As FRC readies its “Religious Liberty Under Fire” campaign, the National Organization for Marriage’s Brian Brown has offered the most flagrant response, claiming that the use of the term “hate group” is an invitation to violence:
BROWN: NOM has always condemned all violence and vilification connected to our ongoing national debate about the meaning and definition of marriage. 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.
This distortion of reality demands an understanding of the different ways the word “hate” is used. First, it’s important to point out that yesterday’s shooting should be investigated as a possible hate crime. The Family Research Council is a political organization — not a religious one — but it does couch its beliefs in religion. Religion does not justify the anti-gay positions the group has, nor does its extreme interpretation of Christianity in anyway represent what most Christians believe. If the shooter merely objected to FRC’s anti-gay political beliefs, then it probably was not a hate crime, but if the shooter was specifically targeting FRC for being a Christian or heterosexual organization, then it very well could be. FRC claims to oppose all hate crime laws because they “undermine the freedom of speech,” but any argument (like NOM’s) that uses the shooting to victimize all anti-gay Christians relies on the very same principles at the foundation of hate crime laws.
The Southern Poverty Law Center defines “hate groups” as those organizations whose beliefs or practices “attack or malign an entire class of people, typically for their immutable characteristics.” Groups like FRC do just that, spreading lies to the public about the supposed harms of homosexuality and lobbying against LGBT equality. In fact, members of FRC have publicly supported “criminal sanctions” against people just for being gay. By advocating for hetero-supremacy in society, groups like FRC own the identity of “bigot” through their outspoken intolerance and the classification of “hate group” through their actions.( Collapse )source
UPDATE: The Southern Poverty Law Center has issued a statement
responding the accusations that they somehow contributed to this shooting