News broke around midday today that a lone gunman had opened fire inside the Washington DC offices of the Family Research Council. Little was known about the shooter, the security guard who was shot, or the reason behind the shooting. I’m actually able to report some new details, having spoken with a source close to FRC. Although I have great confidence in the source, I’m not able to verify these details independently, so it’s always possible that corrections or other important details will emerge that change the way in which we interpret the story. Nonetheless, the story is starting to emerge as thus:
After the assailant had gained entry into the FRC building lobby by posing as an intern or an applicant for an internship, he said something about not liking FRC’s policies and opened fire. FRC security guard Leo Johnson, even after he took a gunshot in the arm, ran toward the shooter and took him down. As DC Police Chief Kathy Lanier said, Leo is a hero. I’ve been to the FRC building in Washington and there is a large lobby with a security guard. Post the lobby, there is only an elevator leading to several floors of offices. If the assailant had been able to gain the elevator, he could well have killed a lot of people.
The assailant is now in custody, and the scene at FRC has been extraordinary, with 30 or so police, FBI and ATF cars and vans.
I was asked not to mention that the FBI was investigating the incident as an act of “domestic terrorism,” but this is already being published at CBN.
For a bit of context, the Family Research Council received attention recently in the Chick-fil-A imbroglio. After Dan Cathy’s comments drew attention to Chick-fil-A and the Cathy family’s support for pro-traditional-marriage causes, the focus of same-sex marriage supporters shifted to the money that Chick-fil-A and the Cathy family delivered to Christian organizations through their WinShape Foundation. It was claimed that the WinShape foundation delivers “millions of dollars” to “hate groups,” though most of that money went to tame if traditional ministries such as the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. The main group that was put forward as a “hate group” — because the Southern Poverty Law Center has identified it as such — was, you guessed it, the Family Research Council.
There will be more to say on this, but many Christian leaders, even if they were not big fans of the FRC approach, objected when the SPLC identified the FRC as a hate group. And it’s questionable in the first place why the FRC stood front and center as one of the organizations that received “millions” of dollars from the WinShape foundation, when the FRC has only — ever (I verified this with the organization) — received $1000 from WinShape.
I have not always approved of the actions or words of those in the FRC, but I do believe in the defense of life from conception and in supporting the traditional family structure. I know that same-sex marriage supporters have specific complaints against the group, and I will address those in an interview I’m going to post shortly, and let people make their own judgments. But surely gunmen trying to blast their way through lobbies is not the way we want to go.
Opposition to same-sex marriage — that is, support for preserving the traditional family unit — has been identified as “hate.” I’m afraid that this very radical (and in my view grossly unfair) way of defining a traditional Christian viewpoint is leading to greater and greater hate against traditionalist Christians. We’ll have to learn more about the shooter’s story and his motivations, but if it’s true that he voiced his opposition to FRC policies before opening fire, I hope this inspires those opposed to the FRC to reconsider their overheated rhetoric.