Editor's Note: In the wake of the shooting of a Family Research Council security guard on Wednesday morning, The American Family Association (AFA) has issued the following statement.
We are thankful to God for His gracious hand of protection over the staff of our good friends at the Family Research Council. We applaud security guard Leo Johnson for his heroism and are likewise grateful that he will recover from his wounds.
However, this near-tragic incident marks an alarming turn in our cultural battle over values. The left’s war on religion and Christianity has now gone from symbolic to literal.
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.
Yesterday’s shooter, who was a homosexual activist who volunteered at a D.C. lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered community center, took the argument to a whole new and ugly level.
Disagreement is not hatred. We don’t hate anyone. In fact, we love homosexuals enough to tell them the truth about the risks involved in their lifestyle choices. But for those who hate the truth, the truth will seem to be hate.
We acknowledge the many homosexual activist groups who issued a statement condemning yesterday’s violence, and we commend them for doing so.
However, the Southern Poverty Law Center must be called to account. The SPLC argues incessantly that the use of inflammatory and incendiary language when talking about homosexuality promotes violence, and is quick to blame FRC and other organizations such as AFA for every act of violence they possibly can.
Yet the SPLC has consistently used dangerously misguided language in classifying the Family Research Council—with absolutely no foundation—as a “hate” group. They have repeatedly and without cause demonized FRC, and have spent years stirring up anger in the homosexual community and directing that anger toward an organization whose only crime is to promote and defend the classic American values of faith, family and freedom.
Thus according to SPLC’s own standards, it is the SPLC that is to blame for yesterday’s shooting.
We at AFA are blaming the shooter. He must be prosecuted to the full extent of the law for endangering the lives of so many innocent Americans. The AP is reporting that he had a box of ammunition and 15 Chick-fil-A sandwiches in his backpack, raising the possibility that he intended to leave a Chick-fil-A calling card with each of his victims.
But 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.
SPLC claims it only lists organizations as “hate groups” if they engage in the “propagation of known falsehoods” about homosexuality. But the SPLC website itself lists numerous falsehoods about homosexuality. For instance, the SPLC says, without a single shred of proof, that homosexuals are born that way, that it is impossible to leave the gay lifestyle and that homosexuals are not at elevated risks of depression, anxiety and substance abuse disorders.
In other words, if propagating known falsehoods about homosexuality qualifies an organization, then SPLC belongs on its own list.
We call on SPLC to explicitly and publicly condemn the motives of yesterday’s shooter, and to remove both FRC and AFA from its hate group list.
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