Family Research Council (FRC) President Tony Perkins commented on Fox News on Thursday that the Southern Poverty Law Center gave a shooter “license” to commit the act that injured a security guard at his organization’s headquarters in Washington, D.C.
Though Perkins said he wanted to “be very clear” about the fact that it was 28-year-old Floyd Lee Corkins II, of Herndon, Virginia was responsible for the crime, “I believe he was given a license to do that by group such as the Southern Poverty Law Center who … labeled us a hate group because we defend the family and we stand for traditional, Orthodox Christianity.”
“I think it’s time for people to realize with the Southern Poverty Law Center does with their reckless labeling of organizations that they disagree with,” Perkins told Fox News host Megyn Kelly. “They are responsible for creating an environment that led to yesterday’s shooting.”
Corkins was charged Thursday with injuring Leonardo Johnson, for which he faces up to 40 years in prison.
Perkins also criticized media links between the FRC and Chick-fil-A, whose founder declared in May he opposed same sex marriage and funded organizations that also oppose it. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee defended the owner’s views, calling on conservative Christians to eat there on Aug. 1, which he declared “Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day.” Perkins insisted that the company gave them “about $1,000 a couple of years ago,” though FRC “welcome[s] their support.” He then said the shooter had “15 Chick-fil-A sandwiches in his bag along with 50 rounds of ammunition. That’s not generally what you walk out to have a picnic or a lunch with.”
Other prominent anti-LGBT conservatives have criticized the SPLC, including the president of the National for Marriage (NOM), Brian Brown, who said Wednesday’s attack was “the clearest sign we’ve seen that labeling pro-marriage groups as ‘hateful’ must end” and that NOM renewed its call for “gay rights groups and the Southern Poverty Law Center to withdraw such incendiary rhetoric from a debate that involves millions of good Americans.”
Bryan Fischer, the Director of Issues Analysis for the conservative American Family Association, chimed in on the organization’s website on Thursday, “The left’s war on religion and Christianity has now gone from symbolic to literal. … 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.”
Watch this video from Fox News’ America Live, broadcast Aug. 16, 2012.
With additional reporting by Dave Edwards.
Kay Steiger is the managing editor of Raw Story. Her contributions have appeared in The American Prospect, The Atlantic, Campus Progress, The Guardian, In These Times, Jezebel, Religion Dispatches, RH Reality Check, and others. You can follow her on Twitter @kaysteiger.
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