In the wake of Wednesday’s tragic shooting of a security guard at the headquarters of the Family Research Council, right wing radio hosts Janet Mefferd and Peter LaBarbera have found someone to blame other than the shooter: people who quoted what the FRC’s staff, campaigns, and official publications have actually said.
Mefferd: I was reading through for example what the Human Rights Campaign had posted the day before the shooting and they had a whole list there that was very inflammatory about the Family Research Council, ‘they want to export homosexuals from the US’ and ‘they equate homosexuals with pedophiles’ and all this stuff. I thought: if you were somewhat of an unstable person and you read this sort of stuff and you were in line with what they believe I think it could drive somebody to violence. So we’re back to the question of, to what degree should there be public pressure on some of these gay rights organizations to tone it down?
Tone it down? These quotations are not something that LGBT groups have made up out of whole cloth. The FRC and its representatives really said these things. Peter Spring, senior fellow of the FRC, did say “I would much prefer to export homosexuals from the United States than to import them into the United States, because we believe that homosexuality is destructive to society.” Sprigg did say ” I think there would be a place for criminal sanctions against homosexual behavior.” And Tony Perkins, president of FRC, did say “While activists like to claim that pedophilia is a completely distinct orientation from homosexuality, evidence shows a disproportionate overlap between the two. … It is a homosexual problem.”
How exactly are we supposed to tone down their own words? If they’re really going to argue that mere exposure to their own words is sufficient to inspire violence (a notion they strangely find unthinkable when others point out that their ongoing campaign of homophobia and transphobia might be in part responsible for anti-LGBT hatred and violence, LGBT youth suicide, family rejection and homelessness), then how can they hold others accountable for simply quoting what they said, but not themselves for actually saying it? Why are they saying any of this in the first place if they don’t want anyone to know they said it, and believe that people are literally going to shoot them upon hearing what they’ve said?
It’s like they started with victim-blaming and ended up blaming everyone but themselves. When they say something, they are responsible for nothing; when we just quote what they said, we are responsible for everything. This makes no sense whatsoever. If you really don’t want anyone to notice that you said gay people are pedophiles who should be “exported” and criminalized, then there’s an easy way to avoid this: don’t say it in the first place.