SPLC: Tony Perkins using shooting to ‘score points’

By David Edwards
Friday, August 17, 2012 9:07 EDT
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Tony Perkins (Family Research Council)
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Tony Perkins is a political opportunist who is taking advantage of a shooting at the anti-LGBT Family Research Council (FRC) to exact revenge on the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) for labeling them a hate group, according to a senior fellow at the civil rights organization.

During a Thursday press conference and twice in appearances on Fox News, Perkins had claimed that the SPLC have given “license” to 28-year-old Floyd Lee Corkins II to shoot a Family Research Council guard in the arm on Wednesday.

In a statement released on Thursday, SPLC senior fellow Mark Potok said that his organization “deplores all violence” and Perkins was just using the tragedy to “score points.”

“For more than 40 years, the SPLC has battled against political extremism and political violence,” Potok explained. “We have argued consistently that violence is no answer to problems in a democratic society, and we have strongly criticized all those who endorse such violence, whether on the political left or the political right.”

He continued: “Perkins’ accusation is outrageous. The SPLC has listed the FRC as a hate group since 2010 because it has knowingly spread false and denigrating propaganda about LGBT people — not, as some claim, because it opposes same-sex marriage. The FRC and its allies on the religious right are saying, in effect, that offering legitimate and fact-based criticism in a democratic society is tantamount to suggesting that the objects of criticism should be the targets of criminal violence.”

Potok pointed out that Perkins had claimed that that pedophilia is “a homosexual problem” and another official at the Family Research Council had said he wanted to “export homosexuals from the United States.”

“Perkins and his allies, seeing an opportunity to score points, are using the attack on their offices to pose a false equivalency between the SPLC’s criticisms of the FRC and the FRC’s criticisms of LGBT people,” Potok Concluded. “The FRC routinely pushes out demonizing claims that gay people are child molesters and worse — claims that are provably false. It should stop the demonization and affirm the dignity of all people.”

David Edwards
David Edwards
David Edwards has served as an editor at Raw Story since 2006. His work can also be found at Crooks & Liars, and he's also been published at The BRAD BLOG. He came to Raw Story after working as a network manager for the state of North Carolina and as as engineer developing enterprise resource planning software. Follow him on Twitter at @DavidEdwards.
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