During an interview today with Rick Santorum on FRC's Washington Watch Weekly radio show, Family Research Council President Tony Perkins extended blame for Wednesday's shooting of a security guard at FRC headquarters to President Barack Obama.
"Well, I think as we witnessed this past week at the Family Research Council, clearly linked to that same atmosphere of hostility that's created by the public policies of an administration that's indifferent or hostile to religious freedom and groups like, as I mentioned, the Southern Poverty Law Center that recklessly throws around labels giving people like this gunman who came into our building a license to take innocent life," Perkins said.
The assertion by Perkins that the Obama presidency has created an environment where religious groups are threatened by physical violence comes a day after Perkins directly implicated gay-rights groups that have labeled the FRC a "hate group" for giving suspected shooter Floyd Corkins a "license to shoot an unarmed man."
On Wednesday, White House press secretary Jay Carney said the president believes "this type of violence has no place in our society." The White House has not issued additional comment on the shooting, noting that the investigation is ongoing.
The SPLC has defended labeling the FRC a "hate group," noting that Perkins himself has said he supports the criminalization of homosexuality.
In a statement released after Thursday's press conference, SPLC senior fellow Mark Potok said the FRC is "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 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," said Potok. "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."
The FRC has not yet responded to requests from Metro Weekly to address the group's connection to Maryland Minister Leroy Swailes, who stood over Perkins's shoulder throughout the eight-minute press conference.
"Minister Leroy" is the founder of Tears for Children, a group that works to "teach the children true love" and "speak truth in spite of evil and wickedness" and lists the FRC as a partner on their website.
The group is sponsored by Third Gender 666, also overseen by "Minister Leroy," which argues that God made only man and woman and "anything else has come from evil and will eventually die."
According to their website, Third Gender 666 must "defend the planet or destroy the planet" and start by "protecting defenseless children from satan."
[Photo: Tony Perkins addressing reporters at Thursday's press conference as Minister Leroy Swailes looks on.]