'Reckless rhetoric' and 'domestic terrorism'
Charlie Butts - OneNewsNow
In a press conference at FRC headquarters in Washington, DC, on Thursday afternoon, Perkins pointed to groups such as Southern Poverty Law Center that issue a list of conservative and Christian organizations, the latter with biblically based views on issues, and "labeling them as hate groups because they disagree with them on public policy." He said that enflames some people to violence.
"And I believe the Southern Poverty Law Center should be held accountable for their reckless use of terminology that is leading to the intimidation -- and what the FBI here has categorized as an act of domestic terrorism," he stated.
Perkins did acknowledge statements from homosexual activist groups condemning the attack. "But I would ask them to go a step further and to join us in calling for an end to the reckless rhetoric that I believe led to yesterday's incident that took place right behind me," he said.
The consequence of 'evil rhetoric'
Authorities continue to investigate yesterday's shooting at the Family Research Council (FRC) building in Washington, DC.
Before opening fire, the shooter, who remains in custody, reportedly made comments about FRC's stance on political issues. National Organization for Marriage (NOM) spokesman Frank Schubert tells OneNewsNow the incident, which left a building manager wounded, is the sad result of what happens when organizations that support and advocate biblical principles are called "hate groups."
"This is the natural consequence of this evil rhetoric that is out there from groups like the Southern Poverty Law Center and increasingly from the Human Rights Campaign," Schubert asserts.
He says it is time for those groups and others with similar views to stop employing tactics that inflame people.
"We cannot as a civil society engage in an important debate when one side adopts tactics of calling the other 'hate groups' simply for honestly and sincerely expressing a point of view that was created thousands of years ago," the NOM spokesman contends.
He adds that claiming Christian principles are those of bigotry and hate does away with any chance of an honest discussion.
A climate of violence
Matt Barber of Liberty Counsel Action points out that groups like FRC, American Family Association, National Organization for Marriage, and others -- groups that remain steadfast on biblical principles, support traditional marriage, oppose abortion; yet are labeled as "hate groups" -- are susceptible to violent responses from those who stand in opposition.
He predicted such occurrences in a column last November titled "Liberal violence rising."
"And I pointed out that groups like the Southern Poverty Law Center -- by dehumanizing and smearing Christian organizations like the Family Research Council, by calling biblical truth 'hate,' by smearing these groups as 'hate groups' -- they are contributing to a climate of violence where somebody can say Hey, this group is just a hate group like the KKK, I'm really a hero if I go in and shoot them up because they're a hate group."
Barber says it is time that groups like the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Human Rights Campaign, and the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation -- groups that are smearing organizations with biblical principles -- issue a public apology and remove their hate group designations of Christian organizations. And he asks those groups to "remind like-minded left-wingers" not to engage in this kind of violence.
Update on wounded FRC staffer
FRC president Tony Perkins commented on the incident early Thursday on American Family Radio. According to Perkins, the wounded building manager -- Leo Johnson -- jumped into action after being shot. "He still with one arm was able to disarm the man, call for additional help from another one of our security individuals, and they were able to hold him until police arrived."
Perkins said he was with Johnson after surgeons did their work Wednesday night. The surgery went well and Johnson is in good condition.
"Leo came out of surgery, his extensive surgery and having to reconstruct his arm. They had to put a plate and a rod in his arm, but he's doing well," stated the FRC president. "In fact, his humor has not left him. I was there as he came to from the anesthesia and I told him ... Leo, I want you to know you're a hero. And he thought about it for a minute and he said You know, this hero business is hard work."
Reaction from American Family Association
In a press release on Thursday morning, AFA denounced the shooting incident, describing it as "an alarming turn in our cultural battle over values."
"The left's war on religion and Christianity has now gone from symbolic to literal," says AFA. "As conservatives, we believe that public policy disputes should be resolved through the use of ballots, not bullets; through votes, not violence; through reason, not rage."
The actions of the shooter, states the press release, "took the argument to a whole new and ugly level."
The Mississippi-based pro-family group -- which has worked with FRC on numerous cultural and social issues over the years -- then turned its attention to the Southern Poverty Law Center. "... The SPLC, by their own hateful and malicious rhetoric against FRC and AFA, has essentially claimed responsibility for this shooting, and they too should be held to account in the court of public opinion."
AFA has called on the SPLC "to explicitly and publicly condemn the motives of yesterday's shooter, and to remove both FRC and AFA from its hate group list."