Atheists condemn shooting at Family Research Council
Today, a man walked into the Family Research Council’s headquarters in Washington, DC. He was carrying a gun, and he used it.
CNN reports that Floyd Corkins, 28, of Herndon, Virginia, walked into FRC’s lobby, made unspecified comments in opposition to the conservative organization’s policies, and started shooting with his 9mm handgun.
A security guard who confronted Corkins was shot in the arm. The guard is in stable condition, and was able to help law enforcement wrestle Corkins to the ground. There are no other reports of injuries.
The Family Research Council is a radical religious right organization which fights abortion, contraception availability, and gay rights. In 2010, the Southern Poverty Law Center declared the FRC an anti-gay hate group.
The FRC recently announced its solidarity with Chick-Fil-A, currently under fire for its CEO’s assertion that the family-owned company stands against same-sex marriage, and the company’s millions in charitable contributions to anti-gay organizations.
The Secular Coalition for America was quick to condemn the shooting.
“While we disagree with the Family Research Council on nearly every issue, the debate surrounding the role of religion in the public sphere should be fought with reason and logic, not guns,” said Edwina Rogers, Executive Director. “We absolutely condemn this sort of senseless violence.”
Rogers said that the thoughts of the Secular Coalition are with the security guard who was shot. The organization wishes him a speedy recovery and is glad that security guards were able to prevent further harm.
While Mr. Corkins’ particular motive has yet to be ascertained, the shooting is being investigated as a possible hate crime.
One of the greatest strengths nontheists and progressives have had in recent years is a nonviolent approach to disagreement. We’ve had great success contrasting this nonviolence with anti-choice activists who, for example, murder abortionists and blow up abortion clinics. The radical religious right frequently spawns terrorists.
But we don’t. Do we?
We don’t yet know whether Corkin was a believer, and if so, in what. But we do know he wanted to make a statement against oppression by the radical religious right.
This isn’t the way to go about it.
Corkin has instead given the radical religious right ammunition against those who do not wish to bow to their oppression, and has told them that we are willing to stoop to their vile level. This shooting will doubtless be featured in radical religious right fundraising letters, showing how the oppressors are “under attack”.
Please take a moment to write a letter to the editor of your local paper, as a humanist, atheist, nontheist, or whatever you are, condemning this senseless violent act. Explain that this is not who we are.