A leftist organization whose identification of a team of Christian pro-family advocates as a “hate” group apparently facilitated homosexual activist Floyd Corkins’ gun assault on the Washington-based Family Research Council now says it wants the federal government to investigate all such organizations.
“We urge you to establish an interagency task force to assess the adequacy of the resources devoted to responding to the growing threat of non-Islamic domestic terrorism,” a letter from the Southern Poverty Law Center said.
The letter, signed by J. Richard Cohen, was addressed to Attorney General Eric Holder and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.
The organization routinely describes organizations such as the FRC, which holds firmly to the biblical teachings on issues such as homosexuality, as “hate” groups. It recently released its list of “hate” and “extremist” groups in the United States, lumping charitable ministries such as the FRC along with the KKK and others.
There were suggestions the SPLC itself fostered hate when homosexual activist Floyd Corkins last year entered the Washington-based offices of the Family Research Council armed with a gun and tried to shoot people.
Constitutional attorney Matt Barber, whose columns appear in WND, wrote recently about the irony of the SPLC’s condemnation of others for having a specific belief based on the Bible.
He said he’s warned that the SPLC’s labeling would produce trouble.
“With a column headlined, ‘Liberal violence rising,’ I wrote, ‘The SPLC’s dangerous and irresponsible (‘hate group’) disinformation campaign can embolden and give license to like-minded, though less stable, left-wing extremists, creating a climate of true hate. Such a climate is ripe for violence.’”
Barber said after Corkins shot and injured FRC employee Leo Johnson, he again raised the issue, writing, “I plead with the SPLC to end its ‘dishonest and reprehensible’ strategy of ‘juxtaposing FRC and other Christian organizations with violent extremist groups’ in a transparent effort to marginalize them.”
He wrote that he no longer believes the SPLC has a sense of good will.
“In fact, based on FBI evidence and the group’s own actions (and inaction), I and many others are left with no other inference but this: The SPLC – a left-wing extremist fundraising behemoth – may be intentionally inciting anti-Christian violence,” Barber charged.
While the SPLC list had all of those groups it routinely lists among its “hate” groups, Cohen said the government needs a lot stronger stance against some of those Christian groups.
“The resources devoted to countering domestic hate and radical antigovernment groups and those they may inspire do not appear commensurate with the threat,” the letter from Cohen said.
“The number of far-right antigovernment groups has exploded and the number of neo-Nazi and racist skinhead groups had remained at a high level,” the letter said.
Evidence in the case involving the FRC assault revealed the SPLC organization listed the exact location of the FRC office, and evidence from the computer of the man who pleaded guilty shows he identified his target through the SPLC.
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 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 a court hearing 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."
Cohen's letter said the SPLC had found that the number of "militias and radical antigovernment groups" and "hate groups" such as the FRC, grew to 1,360 in 2012.
He blasted individuals like Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., and U.S. Rep. Trey Radel, R-Fla., as well as former Arizona sheriff Richard Mack, Barber, Fox News Radio host Todd Starnes, and Montana pastor Chuck Baldwin. Groups in the bull's-eye included Oath Keepers, TeaParty.org and others.
WND previously has reported that the Obama administration warned that "returning veterans possess combat skills and experience that are attractive to rightwing extremists."
The 2009 report, from the Department of Homeland Security, was called "Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment." It also said Obama's governmental managers were "concerned that rightwing extremists will attempt to recruit and radicalize returning veterans in order to boost their violent capabilities."