by Leah Waldron
This week, carrying 15 Chick-fil-A sandwiches and an illegally-obtained gun, Floyd Lee Corkins II entered the lobby of the Family Research Council offices in Washington D.C. and opened fire on a security guard, Leo Johnson, who disarmed him with the help of other guards. Leo Johnson survived a shot to the arm, and Corkins is now in police custody. Within a few hours of Corkins’ arrest, FRC President Tony Perkins blamed his violent actions on the Southern Poverty Law Center, a civil rights law organization that had deemed the FRC a “hate group” in 2010. Perkins didn’t blame Corkins for the attack, but a national organization whose mission statement is to eradicate hate speech, and, ultimately, hate-inspired violence.
It seems we have a bit of a double standard on our hands, and a lot of irony.
If Corkins’ actions were politically motivated, one should consider the possibility that he was reacting to the language at the FRC, and not the label by the SPLC (big caveat here: I do not condone Corkins’ actions). The SPLC reported that the FRC was a “hate group” because of the dominant language on its website, its literature, and the non-science based “research” provided to the public at large. In a 1999 publication on the FRC website (since taken down), the organization claimed that “one of the primary goals of the homosexual rights movement is to abolish all age of consent laws and to eventually recognize pedophiles as the ‘prophets’ of a new sexual order.”
Speaking about the link between homosexuality and pedophilia, Perkins said that the “[American Pediatric Association] research is overwhelming that homosexuality poses a danger to children.” The APA, however, has never made this statement.
While employed at the FRC, Robert Knight said that there “is a strong current of pedophilia in the homosexual subculture. … [T]hey want to promote a promiscuous society.” Yvette Cantu, while employed at the FRC, said that “if they [gays and lesbians] had children, what would happen when they were too busy having their sex parties?” Another FRC official, Peter Sprigg, told Chris Matthews that homosexuality should be criminalized, and that repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” would lead to gay soldiers assaulting heterosexual soldiers.
To recap: gays are pedophiles who engage in orgies, try to capture your children and convert them, and if they join the military, they will sexually attack non-gay soldiers. The solution: put them in jail.
Any of that sound like the rhetoric of a “hate group?” If not substitute the word “Black” or “Catholic” for “gay” or “homosexual” in any of their quotes, and see where that gets you.
The FRC may not like being deemed a “hate group,” but in this case, they are trying to kill the messenger, instead of focusing on the culprit.
With all of that said, Corkins did not pull the trigger because of hate speech (from either side), or political ideology alone. He pulled the trigger because he is either crazy or criminally-minded. Considering the fact that millions of Americans have read the same debates about gay rights, maybe we should be examining why this particular individual, a 28-year-old man who still lives at home and doesn’t have a job, responded with violence. Was he mentally ill? Was he drunk or on drugs?
Was he ever a member of the FRC?
Corkins may be gay, but his sexual identity is irrelevant. As much as he may think that he was fighting for LGBT rights, Corkins does not represent the LGBT community any more than the Westboro Baptist Church represents Christianity, or the 9/11 terrorists represent Muslims.
Unfortunately, for the next few months—and possibly the next few years—the gay community as a whole will be associated with Corkins’ actions. His cowardly attempt at LGBT warfare was not only unforgivable and reprehensible, but counterproductive on a level he will probably never understand.
The FRC, on the other hand, knows exactly what it is doing.