Shooter That Targeted FRC Attended Conservative Christian School with Anti-Gay Policy
Rachel Tabachnick printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Sun Aug 19, 2012 at 07:24:21 PM EST
Within hours of the shooting at the Family Research Council in D.C., rightwing organizations were claiming that the episode was the result of "anti-Christian" and "radical homosexual" ideology.  Police arrested 28 year old Floyd Corkins, Jr., who had volunteered for several months at the front desk of an LGBT center.  But according to numerous press reports, Corkins attended Grace Brethren Christian School (GBCS) in Clinton, Maryland.  He would have graduated about ten years ago, but if the information about his educational background in the press is correct, Corkins spent his formative years in a conservative Christian school with a very strict anti-homosexual policy.
The point is not that this school should in any way be tainted by Corkins' horrific and senseless crime, but to counter the wave of claims coming from FRC and similar organizations that this shooter is obviously the product of "anti-Christian" hatred or environment.  There has been little public information made available about Corkins, but it is almost certain that he was not raised in a Marxist/atheist/radical homosexual environment as some rightwing sources immediately claimed. If the news reports are correct, the shooter came from a conservative Christian environment and attended a school which refuses admission to homosexuals or students with homosexuals in their family.

Parents of students attending the school must sign a "Family Commitment Statement" that includes the following,

"Periodically, the atmosphere or conduct within a particular home may run counter to the Biblical lifestyle that the school teaches. This includes, but is not limited to, sexual immorality, homosexual orientation, or inability to support the moral principles and discipline policies of the school. GBCS reserves the right, in such cases to refuse admission of an applicant or to discontinue enrollment of a student."
Teachers applying to Grace Brethren Christian School must sign a "Statement of Faith" that includes belief in biblical inerrancy and  a "Declaration of Moral Integrity."  The latter includes,
I declare that during the past year I have not engaged in, at the current time I am not engaging in, and promise that I will not during the term of my employment or volunteering, engage in inappropriate sexual conduct.  Inappropriate conduct includes, but is not limited to, such behaviors as the following: heterosexual activity outside of marriage (e.g. premarital sex, cohabitation, extramarital sex), homosexual or lesbian sexual activity, sexual harassment, use or viewing of pornographic material or websites, or sexual abuse or improprieties toward minors as defined by Scripture and federal or state law."
Another question on the faculty application is,
"To what degree are you familiar with various Christian or secular textbooks such as ACSI, ABeka, Bob Jones, Saxon Math, Open Court Reading" and the applicant is asked if they have an ACSI teaching certificate.
Although it is not clear which textbook series the school uses, GBCS is a member of ACSI or Association of Christian Schools International.  This is the school organization that took the University of California system to court for its refusal to grant high school credit for courses taught from Creationist textbooks and some of the other texts published by A Beka Books and Bob Jones University Press.  (I have previously written numerous articles about A Beka and Bob Jones in the context of their textbooks being used by schools in publicly funded "privates school choice" programs.)

Again, my purpose for posting this information is not about tying this school in any way to Corkins' crime, but to counter the claim by FRC that he is obviously the product of an "anti-Christian" environment.  Tony Perkins, president of FRC, has already tried to blame the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) as well as the Obama administration for the shooting.  He has targeted the SPLC because the organization has designated FRC as an anti-gay hate group since 2010.  Perkins blamed the Obama administration for the shooting, claiming that it was,

"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."
Perkins apparently expects us to believe that Corkins went to FRC with 50 rounds of ammunition because the Obama administration supports insurance coverage for birth control.

The NY Times says "Republicans Deplore Akin's Rape Remarks" but FRC's Tony Perkins is defending him.

by Rachel Tabachnick on Mon Aug 20, 2012 at 04:13:46 PM EST
There is NO DOUBT in my mind that Akin meant exactly what he said. He's said similar things over the years, only this time it was recorded. There's little doubt in my mind that the Republican reaction is damage control only. Most Republicans follow the line of the loudest anti-abortion activists and organizations.

by NancyP on Mon Aug 20, 2012 at 07:54:37 PM EST
is not regarded as the sharpest knife in the drawer. I am from St. Louis City, next to his suburban St. Louis congressional district, and he hasn't made an original thoughtful statement in years of campaigning.

by NancyP on Mon Aug 20, 2012 at 07:59:18 PM EST

but is it not possible that Corkins may have had significant anger about earlier antigay indoctrination in the school - especially if, through subsequent experience, he found that the school and religious right groups had spread lies about gay people? It certainly doesn't excuse violence but might contribute to motivation.

by Psyche on Mon Aug 20, 2012 at 03:04:56 AM EST
is not to blame anyone for Corkins crime, but to show the absurdity of Perkins blaming the SPLC, the Obama administration, atheists, "radical homosexuals," etc., when this particular shooter, as well as several others over the last several years, have come from observant religious backgrounds.

It is deceptive to label a shooting "anti-Christian" when the shooter was someone whose education was from a conservative Christian school that banned homosexuals or students with homosexuals in their family, and required parents to sign a commitment to take their children to church.

by Rachel Tabachnick on Mon Aug 20, 2012 at 09:50:10 AM EST

The more I see and encounter, the more I firmly believe that deception and lies are the norm for such as the FRC (and all the churches that think like them and support groups like them).  They operate under different rules than the rest of the world... almost an inverse of common sense and the Gospel they claim to follow.

I'm glad you provided this information.  While only one person was wounded (and from what I've read, not seriously) for which we should be thankful, the real issue should be the hostility in this country which is growing - and while the roots ARE found in the dominionist churches (and the growing division in this country between the 1% and the rest of us), at the same time their lies and attempts at theocracy have also triggered a lot of return hostility.

Admittedly, it's hard NOT to be hostile, especially when you've suffered violence at their hands.  However, violence returned is never the answer (except in pure self-defense), and any stupidity on the part of those harmed by groups like the FRC will only make things worse.  One thing I haven't heard much about is how to identify and help people who have been badly hurt, and a discussion on helping people to find appropriate outlets for their anger (such as in words and protests) would be quite appropriate.  We should also encourage people to be supportive and to reach out and help those among us who have suffered hell at the hands of the "Good Christians" (dominionists/fundamentalists)... even a small act of kindness could prevent something like what happened.  

It's worth a try.

by ArchaeoBob on Mon Aug 20, 2012 at 10:52:29 AM EST

You are right about the growing hostility and we are seeing it escalate on both sides.  FRC has spewed hateful and false propaganda for decades and it's painful to contemplate the damage this has done to the people they have targeted.  

I don't think the ridiculous responses by press like Dana Milbank in the Washington Post are going to help, either. If FRC can be considered a "mainstream Christian organization" while its leaders describe gays as pawns of the devil and call for their "exportation" from the country, it's hard to imagine how the situation is going to get better.

by Rachel Tabachnick on Mon Aug 20, 2012 at 11:45:26 AM EST

The important thing NOT to do is to apologize for what people like Corkin do in view of the fact that it was provoked by psychopathic forces. The response that should be given and emphasized, to the exclusion of all others, is to list at least a dozen of the abominable statements that all these sociopathic organizations and individuals have made and to emphasize them repeatedly. As repetitiously as their own demonization. A collection of video clips emphasizing the worse statements -the most murderous - could be stuffed down the Media's throats. Statements such as the ones liste on - Theocracy Rising: Dominionists. They have the "moral" high ground and it needs to be taken back.

by Villabolo on Tue Aug 21, 2012 at 01:17:01 PM EST

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