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Evidence obtained from the computer of the man who pleaded guilty today to the armed attack on the Family Research Council headquarters shows he identified his target through the website of the left-leaning Southern Poverty Law Center, according to the District of Columbia prosecutor on the case.
FRC President Tony Perkins said today the evidence and admissions in a District of Columbia court justify his charge last summer that SPLC “gave license” to Floyd Lee Corkins II to attack the Christian organization’s headquarters Aug. 15.
Corkins, 28, has confessed he was motivated by FRC’s stance against homosexuality and same-sex marriage. He pleaded guilty today to three charges stemming from the shooting in the nation’s capital, including committing an act of terrorism.
“The Southern Poverty Law Center can no longer say that it is not a source for those bent on committing acts of violence,” Perkins said in a statement.
SLPC has not replied to a WND request for comment.
Prosecutors said Corkins, scheduled to be sentenced April 29, claimed he was at FRC headquarter interviewing for an internship. When a security guard asked for ID, Corkins took a pistol from a backpack and fired three shots, striking security guard Leonardo Johnson in the arm.
Johnson, however, was able to wrestle away the gun from Corkins, preventing further bloodshed.
Perkins said today that only by “ending its hate labeling practices will the SPLC send a message that it no longer wishes to be a source for those who would commit acts of violence that are only designed to intimidate and silence Christians and others who support natural marriage and traditional morality.”
Corkins was carrying 15 Chick fil-A sandwiches in his bag when he was taken into custody. The fast-food restaurant was embroiled in controversy at the time over CEO Dan Cathy’s remarks in opposition to same-sex marriage in an interview. FRC was a vocal supporter of Cathy.
Corkins confessed in the hearing today he intended to “kill as many as possible and smear the Chick-Fil-A sandwiches in victims’ faces, and kill the guard.”
He told FBI agents who interviewed him after the shooting that he wanted to use the sandwiches to “make a statement against the people who work in that building … and with their stance against gay rights and Chick-fil-A.”
At a news conference the day after the August attack, Perkins claimed SPLC had encouraged the attack by listing his organization as a hate group.
“Let me be clear that Floyd Corkins was responsible for firing the shot yesterday,” Perkins told reporters in Washington Aug. 16. “But Corkins was given a license to shoot an unarmed man by organizations like the Southern Poverty Law Center that have been reckless in labeling organizations hate groups because they disagree with them on public policy.”
Perkins said at the time that SPLC “should be held accountable for their reckless use of terminology that is leading to the intimidation and what the FBI here has categorized as an act of domestic terrorism.”
He renewed his call today.
“Once again, I call on the SPLC to put an immediate stop to its practice of labeling organizations that oppose their promotion of homosexuality,” he said.
“Whether the SPLC continues to demonize those who hold to biblical morality or not, the Family Research Council will remain unequivocally committed to our mission of advancing faith, family and freedom,” said Perkins.
In August, Mark Potok, editor of SPLC’s Intelligence Report, responded to Perkins’ comments, calling them “outrageous” and repeating the charge that FRC is a “hate group,” because it “has knowingly spread false and denigrating propaganda about LGBT people.”
SPLC labeled the Family Research Council a “hate group” in 2010, attributing to the organization the characteristics of groups such as Aryan Nations 88, the National Socialist Movement and the American Aryan Reich.
On its website, SPLC has a page on FRC.
“FRC often makes false claims about the LGBT community based on discredited research and junk science,” the group says. “The intention is to denigrate LGBT people in its battles against same-sex marriage, hate crimes laws, anti-bullying programs and the repeal of the military’s ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy.”
SPLC insists it does not list FRC as a hate group “because of its opposition to gay marriage or because of its religious beliefs.”
“Instead, we list the FRC because it engages in baseless, incendiary name-calling and spreads demonizing lies about the LGBT community.”