On Wednesday, Floyd Lee Corkins rode the current zeitgeist of shooting at things that bug you by walking into a place he disagreed with and firing shots. What made this different was that the business in question was the Conservative Christian Family Research Council. Lefties don’t usually do this sort of thing. Thankfully, Corkins was a poor shot and the only injury was a small one against a security guard.
So let’s get the usual out of the way: this kind of violence is wrong. Civilized, intelligent people don’t shoot each other over disagreements. They especially don’t shoot security guards who are just paying the bills and have no responsibility for the views or actions of those they’re guarding.
That said, while I don’t condone the action, I can’t feel too sorry for a group that has made hatred and anger its stock-in-trade when they find themselves on the receiving end of such. While no one at the Family Research Council may have personally done violence to a gay person, plenty of violence has been done to gay people with their barely-unspoken blessing. The FRC is billed as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, which knows one when it sees one.
Whenever some angry right winger shoots up a place or murders a doctor or bombs a clinic or whatever, we’re always assured that he’s a lone nut, acting completely on his own without any ideas or encouragement from others, even if his target just happens to be a person or group he’s been told constantly by the right-wing media is un-American, a terrorist, a threat, a sinner, an un-person. However, this time, of course, this one guy speaks for everyone who’s ever had an unkind thing to say about anyone who’s even remotely religious. This comes as no surprise: the right-wing manifesto is, “It’s all just fine until it happens to me, at which point it’s a tragedy.”*
As we saw with the idiotic Chick-fil-A nonsense (and yes, that dumb business was involved in the shooting), the right wing loves free speech so long as it’s the sound of their own mouths flapping, and seems to think it also includes protection from the consequences of that speech. The group that loves to yell boycott whenever some company acts insufficiently family-values enough for them gets furious and confused when such a withholding of business — a standard tool of the Capitalistic free-market economy they idolize — is turned against them. They feel they should be able to spew poison at a group of citizens who have done nothing apart from live their life differently from how these people think they should and suffer no consequences.
Let’s be clear: the reason Chick-fil-A received a boycott and the FRC got labeled a hate group is not because of what they think. It’s because of what they do based on their thoughts. In the case of the former, they donate their profits to the latter, and the latter uses that money to actively work against a group of people who have committed no crime (though the FRC would like to change this and make homosexuality illegal.) They’re not called a hate group because it’s some kind of Cockney rhyming slang, they’re called a hate group because that’s what they do. They hate gay people. (And in case you don’t care because you’re not gay, you also better hope you’re not divorced, child-free, or using birth control, because these folks aren’t keen on that either.)
But it’s not hate, they say. It’s the word of God. It’s actually love. They may fool themselves into thinking that, but they don’t fool anyone else. It’s not love and it’s not Christianity. If you knew someone who talked all the time about how great it is being a vegetarian and how vegetarianism changed their lives and how much better the world would be if everyone were a vegetarian while eating a thick juicy steak you would call bullshit on their “vegetarianism” no matter what they claim. The person their religion is named after, Christ, gave them one commandment, to love their neighbors, and that was apparently one too many. Love is not seeking to imprison your neighbors because they’re different from you. These folks are practicing an orthodox something but it’s not Christianity, not according to their own holy book. Ask folks in cafes in Israel or the World Trade Center or the Crusades if it makes them feel better that their attackers were just following their religion.
Mother Jones does a good job of summing up the whole sordid affair here, along with the FRC’s basking in their current victimhood. Despite being solidly in the accepted hegemony, these Christian groups have always enjoyed pretending they’re the true victims, and hey, in this incident they are, so they’re going to have a ball with it. Maybe now, though, this will show them a little of what it’s like to be afraid, to be a target of anger and violence. I somehow doubt it.
* — There’s nothing a bully hates more than when his victims fight back, which is also why Mitt Romney et. al. are so horrified and disgusted by a Democratic Party which, for a change, is actually showing some goddamn backbone and acting like it wants to win.