As most people forget on a daily basis, there is a Baldwin brother named Stephen. He is an extremely poor actor and doesn’t have the looks that the rest of the family has made famous. He also is a wingnut, and since wingnuts really don’t have any talented celebrities to worship — actual talent tends to correspond with a more worldly point of view — they still cling to silly Stephen just enough to keep him in diapers and the occasional teevee spot. This is how he ended up
grunting toward talking to Soledad O’Brien on CNN yesterday:
During an interview on CNN, Baldwin reflected on a recent shooting at the Family Research Council headquarters and called for “common-sense, regular-Joe philosophy.”
“I think that there is a right and left, and then a very conservative perspective about what the future of the country is,” the actor explained. “And there’s a progressive movement that wants what it wants. And we are now seeing all of these types of difference coming to extreme heads and confrontations.”
“It makes it sound like you’re saying that the hostility and the tenor and the tone is it only going to ratchet up,” CNN host Soledad O’Brien noted. “You’re saying, harsher this way, harsher that way, and it bubbles into much more of a clash and an angry rhetoric and worse than angry rhetoric.”
“Yeah,” Baldwin agreed. “Obviously, we’re seeing more and more violence. Where is that coming from?”
The New Yorker‘s Richard Socarides pointed out that on some things, like LGBT rights — which the Family Research Council opposes — there seemed an emerging majority supporting basic fairness for everyone.
“There is a shift,” Baldwin admitted. “But at the same time you have organizations like Family Research Council that say, ‘Okay, but what about traditional? What about the foundations of what has been the origins of and the establishment of this country?’ It doesn’t mean don’t try to do the right thing.”
Here is the thing. Every LGBT organization unequivocally condemns the Family Research Council shooting. Honestly, most of us are completely shocked by it, because, whatever the motivation, we know that that’s not how our side tends to do things. We stand in complete solidarity with that guard’s family, and we want him to recover fully.
We do also know, based on their actions over the past few days, that the Religious Right is already using this as their great victim story to beat all other victim stories. They believe that they are now above criticism because someone used violence against them. They, of course, will not extend this courtesy to Planned Parenthood or other reproductive health providers, where actual bombs have gone off or actual people have died. They also will not extend this courtesy to Matthew Shepard’s family, or the families of any other LGBT person murdered for who they are. Why? Because they’re bald-faced hypocrites. Hypocrites, whose rights, of course, all of us on the side of fairness and love and justice who know a thing or damn two about this country would fight to the death to preserve.
Maggie Gallagher and Tony Perkins and others are currently bitching up a storm, blaming this on the SPLC’s designation of their groups as “hate groups.” Guess what? They ARE hate groups. If somebody had opened fire in the KKK’s offices (do they have offices anymore? Maggie: that’s your future. Not having offices.), it would be just as wrong, but it would likewise not change anything about who the KKK is. Likewise, there is no excuse — NONE! — for any person to translate their feelings about anything at all into exacting violence against the worst anti-gay bigots in our society — hell no! — but nothing changes who NOM and the FRC are. They’re irrational bigots. They spew hate into our nation on a daily basis, and they get paid for it. Kids end up killing themselves, in part because of the work of these groups. They are a net negative for our country, much as strip malls and subdivisions full of shoddily constructed McMansions contribute to blight in suburbs.
Any gay person out there, or any gay-supportive person out there, who would somehow look at violence against these people as the answer is a deluded waste of space who needs professional help. We who have fought day in/day out against these people are well aware that we’re winning this argument, hilariously and handily, and with nothing more than our intelligence. Hell, the crop of newbies with their My First Activist cards out there are even contributing to the success of this “culture war,” even if their naivete annoys the hell out of those who came before. Any slightly mentally unstable person out there reading this needs to know right now: we have already won. The Religious Right thinks they are still fighting a battle they can win, and good god, let’s just let them be delusional for a while until they figure out what’s really going on. Their own research group, Barna, shows that fundamentalists’ kids are mostly leaving the church the second they have a chance to, in large part because their parents and church leaders are such bigoted trolls. They’re not willing to accept such results yet, but they will. They’ll get it. One day. Why would we ever resort to violence?
The fact that these anti-gay bigot leaders are actually using this to cash in is kind of disgusting. None of us ever advocated for this. Right-wing blogs have a history of motivating people to violence — remember Oslo? — but left-wing blogs don’t. I’m so glad that the FRC security guard is alive, because I want him to live and thrive, but there’s also a part of me who is watching Tony Perkins’ actions right now and thanking god that he made it because it would be simply too disgusting to watch Tony fearmonger and raise money on top of a dead body. To think that somebody could actually give his life in support of Tony Perkins’ crusade of lies and hate? Wow.
Dead split ends like Dana Loesch (who supports the self-loathing GOProud) are rushing to defend the FRC, but we should take a moment to reflect on just how quickly these people and organizations have jumped up to scream about how great and holy and righteous they are, and how, before they even knew who did it, or why, they were defending their honor. Methinks they protest a lil’ bit too much, don’t you?
Here’s a bit of the SPLC’s response to Tony Perkins’ claims that the SPLC is partially to blame for the shooting:
Yesterday’s attack on the Family Research Council and the shooting of a security guard there was a tragedy. The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) deplores all violence, and our thoughts are with the wounded victim, Leo Johnson, his family and others who lived through the attack.
For more than 40 years, the SPLC has battled against political extremism and political violence. We have argued consistently that violence is no answer to problems in a democratic society, and we have strongly criticized all those who endorse such violence, whether on the political left or the political right.
But this afternoon, FRC President Tony Perkins attacked the SPLC, saying it had encouraged and enabled the attack by labeling the FRC a “hate group.” The attacker, Floyd Corkins, “was given a license to shoot an unarmed man by organizations like the Southern Poverty Law Center,” Perkins said. “I believe the Southern Poverty Law Center should be held accountable for their reckless use of terminology.”
Perkins’ accusation is outrageous. The SPLC has listed the FRC as a hate group since 2010 because it has knowingly spread false and denigrating propaganda about LGBT people — not, as some claim, because it opposes same-sex marriage. The FRC and its allies on the religious right are saying, in effect, that offering legitimate and fact-based criticism in a democratic society is tantamount to suggesting that the objects of criticism should be the targets of criminal violence.
As the SPLC made clear at the time and in hundreds of subsequent statements and press interviews, we criticize the FRC for claiming, in Perkins’ words, that pedophilia is “a homosexual problem” — an utter falsehood, as every relevant scientific authority has stated. An FRC official has said he wanted to “export homosexuals from the United States.” The same official advocated the criminalizing of homosexuality.
Perkins and his allies, seeing an opportunity to score points, are using the attack on their offices to pose a false equivalency between the SPLC’s criticisms of the FRC and the FRC’s criticisms of LGBT people. The FRC routinely pushes out demonizing claims that gay people are child molesters and worse — claims that are provably false. It should stop the demonization and affirm the dignity of all people.
Again, I say that I thank god that no one was actually killed, because, aside from the anguish it would cause for that person’s loved ones, it would be just a little bit too much to watch Tony Perkins pissing on one of his own employees’ graves.
And lest you think it will only be the Family Research Council participating in this communal pissing on others’ undeserved suffering, be aware that Maggie Gallagher, Brian Brown and the rest of the folks at NOM just unzipped their collective fly.
More: This is the single most pathetic, most self-loathing post I have ever seen from the Gay Patriot blog. To be so blindly ignorant to the constant barrage of hate that comes from the Family Research Council, not to mention the constant barrage of lies from that group, regarding LGBT people, and yet be so quick to label those of us who fight for the dignity of LGBT people — a group of fighters who, I might add, have never included writers at the Gay Patriot blog, as those writers are counterproductive to the fight for equality if they affect anything at all — is beyond me. I am so grateful that don’t have any friends, gay or straight, who exhibit such constant, public hatred of self, as it undoubtedly is a drag on the world of everyone who comes in contact with them.
Even more! Thers at Whiskey Fire, responding to some crap from the utterly inconsequential yet inexplicably employed Dana Milbank of the Washington Post:
My fanny. Gays and lesbians — and, you know, us straights who have gays and lesbians in our families, or else who just happen not to be bigots on principle — are prefectly correct to call anyone who actively works to deny them equal rights under the law mean names like “hateful bigots.” That is because trying to deny someone equal rights under the law is, as it happens, hateful bigotry.
And when it is as widely considered bigotry to openly call for denying equal rights to gays and lesbians as it is to call for open racism, we’ll have come pretty far. Oh, we won’t have ended homophobia, just like we haven’t ended racism. But we will have crossed a pretty damn important line. Bigotry is bigotry and hate is hate, and that is that.