A new report published by the Human Rights Campaign ratchets up the rhetoric in its fight for LGBT rights, claiming pro-family activists have formed a "global network of extremists." Complete with pencil-sketched portraits, the report lists leaders of 12 pro-family organizations as the “most vitriolic American activists promoting anti-LGBT bigotry abroad,” HRC said in a press release. Conservatives liken the report to a hit list.
“It’s like the only things missing are the words ‘wanted dead or alive,’” said Peter Sprigg, senior fellow for policy studies at the Family Research Council (FRC).
Scott Lively, the first activist listed in the report, claims he received death threats following the report’s publication. Lively believes HRC published the list to incite intimidation against the people named, especially in light of one gay activist’s attempted mass murder at FRC two years ago. “As of today, I am for the first time going to start taking precautions against the possibility of violence by agents of the LGBT movement,” Lively said in a blog post.
In August 2012, Floyd Corkins II opened fire in the lobby of FRC’s Washington, D.C., headquarters, shooting one security guard in the arm before the unarmed officer subdued him. Planning to kill as many people as he could, Corkins carried more than 100 rounds of ammunition and 15 Chick-fil-A sandwiches to smear in his victims’ faces as a political statement. Corkins, who had been volunteering at The DC Center for the LGBT Community, targeted FRC after the organization backed Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy’s stance against gay marriage. In September, a district judge sentenced Corkins to 25 years in prison.
To create its report, HRC relied in part on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s list of anti-LGBT “hate groups.” Corkins admitted he used the same list to select FRC as his target, Sprigg said.
The report places the people listed in the uncomfortable position of arguing they aren’t “haters,” said Peter LaBarbera, president of Americans For Truth About Homosexuality and the fourth activist listed in the report. American culture is saturated with the idea that opposition to homosexuality equals hate, and the rhetoric espoused in the HRC report increases the difficulty of disassociating Christian beliefs from hate.
“This cultural war is hard to fight because these falsehoods are always advanced in the name of good,” LaBarbera said. “The average Christian is largely ignorant of how much premeditated work has gone into driving this false equivalence.”