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When tolerance attacks

“I don’t like your politics.” That’s what the shooter at the Family Research Council (FRC) in Washington, D.C., reportedly uttered before pulling a 9 mm pistol from his backpack and firing off a couple rounds, one of which struck a security guard in the arm.

The alleged shooter, Floyd Corkins II, is a homosexual rights activist who targeted FRC, an organization I ran for a decade, because it advocates for policies that uphold the sanctity of life and traditional marriage.

Though the media refuse to acknowledge it, a disproportionate amount of today’s political violence is being committed by leftwing activists against anyone who dares oppose their agenda.

For the past six months, Corkins has been a volunteer at the DC Center for the Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual, Transgender Community in Washington, D.C. His backpack reportedly contained 50 rounds of ammunition and 15 Chick-fil-A sandwiches. Chick-fil-A was recently in the news because its president, Dan Cathy, stated his support for the biblical definition of marriage and because Cathy has donated money to pro-family groups such as FRC.

Corkins’ parents told the FBI that their son held “strong opinions with respect to those who do not treat homosexuals in a fair manner.” Corkins has been charged with assault with intent to kill, and he may also be charged with committing a terrorist act, because his attacks were politically motivated.

I’ve received a lot of hate mail in my decades of leading organizations dedicated to promoting family values. But gay marriage and its related issues have always generated much more vitriol, in the form of obscene mail and phone calls and threats, than any other issue.

At one point during my time at FRC, the threats against my family’s and my safety became so frequent that security guards were parked in my home’s driveway around the clock.

In 2008, after California’s Proposition 8 marriage amendment passed, Catholic churches and Mormon temples were vandalized. Envelopes containing white powder that looked like Anthrax were sent to several LDS temples and the Knights of Columbus national headquarters.

A postcard was mailed to the homes and businesses of financial donors to the effort that read, “If I had a gun, I would have gunned you down along with each and every other supporter.”

In May, sex writer Dan Savage spoke at a high school journalism convention and delivered a profanity-laced attack on Bible-based views on homosexuality and gay marriage, comparing opposition to homosexuality to support for slavery. Then he insulted offended students who walked out.

Savage is the same man who joined my 2000 campaign for president as a volunteer and licked all the doorknobs and other objects in our offices in an attempt to pass his flu on to my staff and me.

The continued demonization of anyone who believes that marriage is between a man and a woman or that unborn children deserve protection will inevitably lead to more events like what happened last week.

The Southern Poverty Law Center labels FRC a hate group, as have many other liberal advocacy groups and politicians. A hate group is now defined as any organization that advocates an agenda that clashes with that of the left.

Words didn’t pull the trigger last Wednesday. But words matter, they have meaning, and they can incite people to action, and sometimes violence. Think about it: If pro-traditional marriage groups are hate groups similar to the Ku Klux Klan, then violence against them may be justified in some people’s minds.

If conservatives are trying to put black Americans “back in chains,” as the vice president said recently, then a call to arms may be appropriate. If churches are really trying to strip away women’s rights, as many on the left have claimed, then perhaps violence is the answer.

If, as Democratic Representative Henry Waxman alleged in June, Republicans are “getting away — literally — with murder” because of their record on the environment, then perhaps civil discourse and public policy debates are no longer enough. If conservatives really are denying homosexuals their natural human rights, then perhaps force is a legitimate response.

By identifying the views of those who oppose them as beyond the pale, many liberal activists turn their adversaries into something so abhorrent as to be almost inhuman. If one’s adversaries are really that evil, and if the threat they pose is really that dire, then violence can sometimes seem like the only answer.

Liberals aren’t the only ones guilty of using overblown rhetoric to disparage their opponents and incite their supporters. But such tactics have become a signature of the gay rights movement.

The gay rights movement now embodies the intolerance it has always claimed to exist in order to fight. And it now regularly employs the type of hatred it has always accused the other side of displaying. It may be only a matter of time before these ironies become deadly.

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