This morning, a shooter opened fire at the headquarters of Family Research Council, a conservative Christian political lobbying group with a reputation for being anti-gay. A security guard was wounded in the attack.
News reports haven’t yet clarified whether the shooter chose the FRC because he opposed its policies or for some other reason.
I was thinking about what I should write about the incident (and nursing a bad migraine plaguing me today) when I learned about this statement by a group of gay-rights organizations:
We were saddened to hear news of the shooting this morning at the offices of the Family Research Council. Our hearts go out to the shooting victim, his family, and his co-workers.
The motivation and circumstances behind today’s tragedy are still unknown, but regardless of what emerges as the reason for this shooting, we utterly reject and condemn such violence. We wish for a swift and complete recovery for the victim of this terrible incident.
The listed groups include some that have been incredibly critical of FRC and its policies for years. In many cases, they could not be more diametrically opposed to what the FRC stands for. But it restores my faith in humanity a little to see that when tragedy strikes, they’re willing to put that aside and offer their best wishes to the people on the other side of the philosophical divide. Well done.
And on the other side, another conservative Christian organization, Focus on the Family, is offering similar thoughts, according to gay activist Wayne Besen. I haven’t independently confirmed this quote, but he’s reporting that Focus on the Family president Jim Daly has said this:
Our thoughts and prayers are with our friends at FRC. Senseless shootings like this are always tragic; but there’s an extra measure of sadness and disbelief when it hits so close to home. We are thankful that the heroic security guard who subdued his alleged shooter was not more seriously wounded.
Early indications are that FRC may have been targeted for its biblical views on social-policy issues. That is a chilling thought. No person or group of any ideological stripe—left, right or center—should have to fear physical violence for passionately articulating and acting on their deeply help convictions in the realm of public policy. That is the very definition of terrorism.
It’s nice to see folks who strongly disagree recognize one another’s humanity. I just wish we could do so more often when there isn’t a tragedy.