The Family Research Council, which was the target of a shooting attack earlier this week, issued an remarkably hypocritical statement today that placed some blame for the shooting on the Southern Poverty Law Center. The Council's president, Tony Perkins, said the shooting was made possible by the SPLC's criticism of the FRC.

"Corkins was given a license to shoot an unarmed man by organizations like the Southern Poverty Law Center that have been reckless in labeling organization hate groups because they disagree with them on public policy," Perkins said.

So to be clear, according to Perkins, it's wrong to designate an organization a hate group because they make up vicious and dangerous lies about the gay community, but it's perfectly fine to accuse another group of somehow intentionally inspiring a crazy person to take up a gun and go on a shooting spree.

The Southern Poverty Law Center was of course upset, but stood their ground in regards to the FRC.

Mark Potok, a senior fellow at the SPLC, called Perkins' accusation "outrageous." He said the council earned the designation for spreading false propaganda about the gay community, not for its opposition to same-sex marriage.

"The FRC routinely pushes out demonizing claims that gay people are child molesters and worse - claims that are provably false," he said in a statement. "It should stop the demonization and affirm the dignity of all people."

Just so we're all on the same page, here are some of the things the Family Research Council has said about the LGBT community:

Gaining access to children has been a long-term goal of the homosexual movement."
- Robert Knight, FRC director of cultural studies, and Frank York, 1999

"[Homosexuality] … embodies a deep-seated hatred against true religion."
- Steven Schwalm, FRC senior writer and analyst, in "Desecrating Corpus Christi," 1999

"One of the primary goals of the homosexual rights movement is to abolish all age of consent laws and to eventually recognize pedophiles as the ‘prophets' of a new sexual order."
-1999 FRC pamphlet, Homosexual Activists Work to Normalize Sex with Boys.

"[T]he evidence indicates that disproportionate numbers of gay men seek adolescent males or boys as sexual partners."
- Timothy Dailey, senior research fellow, "Homosexuality and Child Sexual Abuse," 2002

"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."
- FRC President Tony Perkins, FRC website, 2010

If that doesn't make a hate group, what does? Of course, no amount of bigoted rhetoric justifies being shot at by a Chick-fil-A toting gunman. And the SPLC and other liberal groups, as well as most of their counterparts on the conservative side, have made that clear.

As for ways to avoid being called a "hate group," Wayne Besen, the founding executive director of Truth Wins Out, had a couple of not bad ideas:

"Perkins cannot be allowed to exploit the sympathy rightfully generated by this inexcusable crime to whitewash his group's ongoing anti-gay activities. If the FRC wants to stop being labeled a hate group, it must stop doing and saying hateful things."

A nice sentiment, but I wouldn't bet on it.

[Image via AP]