ONTD Political

Understanding ‘Hate’ In The Wake Of The Family Research Council Shooting

10:26 am - 08/16/2012
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.

What’s “incendiary” isn’t the label “hate group” itself, but the words and actions that earn such a designation. Equality and inequality are not just opposite beliefs, but competing philosophies about whether different groups of people should have equal standing in society, or whether some should have an advantage over others. Those who advocate for LGBT equality do so for the express purpose of reducing harm. They advocate for marriage equality so that same-sex couples have the same opportunity to care for their children and loved ones. They advocate for nondiscrimination protections so that LGBT people have the same opportunity to work for a living, maintain shelter, and participate in their communities. They advocate for hate crimes laws and bullying policies to protect LGBT people from the violence and harassment that plays out daily across this country. And at every step of the way, they work to reduce anti-gay and anti-trans stigma, to free LGBT people from the psychological stress that limits their ability to live and love freely in society. Groups like NOM and FRC intentionally work against that vision of inclusion, and regardless of their motivations, the effect of their efforts is indistinguishable from hate, bigotry, and intolerance.

Violence is not the answer to solving any conflict and nothing justifies the actions taken Wednesday by Floyd Corkins. But any attempt to use the shooting to justify reinforcing the inequality LGBT people experience everyday is intolerance at its most basic.


UPDATE: The Southern Poverty Law Center has issued a statement responding the accusations that they somehow contributed to this shooting
bex 16th-Aug-2012 04:14 pm (UTC)
I didn't even hear about this. o.O I barely heard about the shooting in Texas - I think I first saw something about it here. Are shootings just so commonplace now that they're barely covered in the news? It's not like I live under a rock! I listen to the radio, get my news online, watch TV in the evening (though not our local news, which is a Fox affiliate and full of "UP NEXT: SOMETHING IN YOUR HOUSE MIGHT KILL YOUR CHILD AT ANY MOMENT, STAY TUNED" idiocy).
carmy_w 16th-Aug-2012 04:19 pm (UTC)
I hadn't seen a thing about it!
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kyra_neko_rei 16th-Aug-2012 04:19 pm (UTC)
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

Our civil society in which you can claim the term "pro-marriage" for a group whose ENTIRE PURPOSE is to deny and sometimes destroy marriages when they're the wrong gender matchup for you?

Our civil society in which I can open the op-ed paper any day and find some opinion piece or letter insisting that conservative Christianity owns both marriage and the state of Minnesota, that homosexuality is either a danger to society or just not holy enough for the sacredness of marriage, that sorry gay people you just can't reproduce "naturally" and that means you shouldn't use marriage, or demanding we justify to the editorial writer how we're any different from pedophiles. Regularly there is something praising the attempt to pass a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage in my state as "standing up for their values," the implication being that I don't have any, that both my civil rights and my religious freedom are a bad joke, and that banning gays and lesbians from marriage is somehow less harmful to us than sharing marriage with us (while still being able to get married themselves) is to them.

And that doesn't even get to the point where we've been the targets of hundreds or thousands of hate crimes over the years, plus decades of societal apathy about threats to us, plus the everyday grind of being considered, and treated as, less than---of navigating around people's reactions, of trying to intuit or predict where the next micro-or-macro-agression of hostility will come from.

Civil society, my ass. Maybe to a straight dude. Sorry, but "waah, you're treating us a little bit like we've made it our life's work to treat you" is not a valid cause for complaint, it's Symphony #69 for Tiny Violin.
darth_eldritch 16th-Aug-2012 05:10 pm (UTC)
This. All of this.
flcadam 16th-Aug-2012 04:39 pm (UTC)
I think that it's a rush to judgement on the part of NOM and FRC to assume that the shooter was motivated by the FRC's stance on gay marriage, though it's probably a good guess. I'm not so sure I agree with SLPC's definition of a hate group. It seems a little bit too broad and like it could actually include groups that are engaging in legitimate forms of political expression. For example, I wouldn't call a group that's devoted to racial justice that portrays white men as oppressors to be a hate group, but it seems that such a group would fit into SPLC's definition.

I agree with FRC and NOM about the rhetoric used by some on the left, but I don't think they have to worry about very much violence. It seems that the only major violations by pro-gay marriage supporters are church vandalisms that usually follows a decisive political moment. I don't see acts as extreme as violence as becoming a norm though.
aviv_b 16th-Aug-2012 05:07 pm (UTC)
The number of LGBT people who have been murdered, beaten, had their houses burned down, lost custody of their children (or had them stolen with the help of a Christian group)far outweighs anything that's been done to these anti-gay groups.

Of course the shooting is wrong, and I haven't heard anyone say it isn't. Funny, when LGBT get harmed, I don't hear these groups coming out and saying how terrible it is.

SPLC rightly identifies FRC as a hate group. If you want to prevent a whole group of people from having the same rights as everyone else, what the hell would you call it? A 'religious' group apparently, if you want to be able to whine about persecution. Using your religion to justify hate, does not exempt you from being identified as a hate group.
beoweasel 16th-Aug-2012 04:39 pm (UTC)
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

Except you place such labels on queer folk all the damn time. You regularly accuse the LGTB community of being pedophiles, of wanting to harm children, of trying to destroy society. You regularly blame homosexuals for the violence perpetuated against them, and encourage their ostracization. In short, your rhetoric is responsible for the suffering of thousands of queer people, and YEAH, you ARE hateful, you ARE bigoted, so shut the fuck up and sit the fuck down.
tabaqui 16th-Aug-2012 04:43 pm (UTC)
crossfire 16th-Aug-2012 04:40 pm (UTC)
All I can think of are the false equivalencies and persecution claims that are going to come from this.

I just can't.
tabaqui 16th-Aug-2012 04:43 pm (UTC)
OH, fuck them. All i hear is 'whaaaaaaaa!! not our fault!! we're really nice!'.

No, you're not.
aviv_b 16th-Aug-2012 04:57 pm (UTC)
So I guess their view is that advocating for the execution of gay people here and oversees constitutes civil discourse. Nice.

edited because I can't spell when my head is exploding.

Edited at 2012-08-16 05:00 pm (UTC)
sparkindarkness 16th-Aug-2012 05:06 pm (UTC)
Ugh we're going to be hearing about this for years. The peddlers of hate are going to have a field day. The rhetoric from the hate groups is already nauseating - because it's "encouraging violence" to label their hateful dehumanisation as hate - but their hateful dehumanisation isn't?
valarltd 16th-Aug-2012 06:07 pm (UTC)
Every major GLBT group has signed onto a letter of sympathy and condemnation sent to FRC.


If a Talibangelical gunman had massacred a bunch of kids at a GLBT youthgroup function, FRC would be hailing him as a hero.
When a former volunteer wounds a security guard, we send a nice letter.
One of these responses is civilized.
layweed EAT MOR CHIKIN?16th-Aug-2012 06:30 pm (UTC)
Just saw this headline pop-up while checking my mail: http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/lookout/family-research-council-shooter-chick-fil-corkins-170426728.html

What the hell does having 15 CFA sandwiches in a bag have anything to do with it? I don't get it.
brother_dour Re: EAT MOR CHIKIN?16th-Aug-2012 07:17 pm (UTC)
That other guy tried to burn Cheerios or some stupid thing. Those 15 Chick-Fil-A sandwiches probably makes some kind of sense to the shooter.

Edited at 2012-08-16 07:18 pm (UTC)
moonshaz 16th-Aug-2012 06:55 pm (UTC)
"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 if those "labels" are a true and accurate description of that which is being described, what then? We're not supposed to call something what it actually IS?

Yeah, right. In your dreams, hate-boy.
brother_dour 16th-Aug-2012 07:19 pm (UTC)
The Southern Poverty Law Center definition of 'hate group' says it all, really. If the shoe fits...
apostle_of_eris it has a name16th-Aug-2012 11:05 pm (UTC)
Stochastic terrorism is the use of mass communications to stir up random lone wolves to carry out violent or terrorist acts that are statistically predictable but individually unpredictable.

(from daily Kos, Jan 10, 2011)
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