Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest gay rights organization, posted an alert on its blog Tuesday: “Paul Ryan Speaking at Hate Group’s Annual Conference.”
The “hate group” that the Republicans’ vice presidential candidate would be addressing? The Family Research Council, a mainstream conservative think tank founded by James Dobson and run for many years by Gary Bauer.
The day after the gay rights group’s alert went out, 28-year-old Floyd Lee Corkins II walked into the Family Research Council’s Washington headquarters and, according to an FBI affidavit, proclaimed words to the effect of “I don’t like your politics” — and shot the security guard. Corkins, who had recently volunteered at a gay community center, was carrying a 9mm handgun, a box of ammunition and a backpack full of Chick-fil-A — the company whose president recently spoke out against gay marriage.
Milbank correctly points out that you can’t directly blame HRC or the Southern Poverty Law Center, which first branded FRC a “hate group,” for the actions of a madman. However:
But both are reckless in labeling as a “hate group” a policy shop that advocates for a full range of conservative Christian positions, on issues from stem cells to euthanasia.
I disagree with the Family Research Council’s views on gays and lesbians. But it’s absurd to put the group, as the law center does, in the same category as Aryan Nations, Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, Stormfront and the Westboro Baptist Church. The center says the FRC “often makes false claims about the LGBT community based on discredited research and junk science.” Exhibit A in its dossier is a quote by an FRC official from 1999 (!) saying that “gaining access to children has been a long-term goal of the homosexual movement.”
Offensive, certainly. But in the same category as the KKK?
Thank you, Dana Milbank. The accusation of “hate group” and “hater” is thrown around so much by the cultural left that it has ceased to mean anything other than “someone who disagrees with the cultural left.” But some people take this talk seriously, just as some on the Right take self-righteous paranoia by movement loudmouths seriously.
And some people have guns.
A friend e-mailed the other day, after the FRC event, and said he worried that we were about to enter into a time of political violence in this country. In other words, the culture war might start involving actual shooting.