The XX Factor

Family Research Council Blames Faith-Based Terrorism on a Decline in Religious Values. What?

FRC President Tony Perkins speaks during The Family Research Council (FRC) Action Values Voter Summit September 14, 2012 at a hotel in Washington, DC. The summit is an annual political conference for US social conservative activists and elected officials. AFP PHOTO/Mandel NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/GettyImages)

Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP/GettyImages

The Family Research Council sent out an anti-gun control email Thursday blaming liberalism and abortion for violent tragedies like Newtown and the Boston marathon bombing. 

If Congress wants to stop these tragedies, then it has to address the government’s own hostility to the institution of the family and organizations that can address the real problem: the human heart. As I’ve said before, America doesn’t need gun control, it needs self-control. And a Congress that actively discourages it—through abortion, family breakdown, sexual liberalism, or religious hostility—is only compounding the problem.

Shortly thereafter, the brothers Tsarnaev went on their horror-filled run. Contrary to the predictions of Tony Perkins and the Family Research Council, they mostly used guns and bombs to battle with the police—killing one with a gunshot—instead of throwing condoms and no-fault divorces at them. 

Once the suspected terrorists were outed, it turns out that they—one of them, anyway—couldn’t agree more with the Family Research Council on the supposed decline of family values and self control. The New York Times profile of Tamerlan Tsarnaev says as much:

A promising boxer, he fought in the Golden Gloves National Tournament in 2009, and he was noticed by a young photographer, Johannes Hirn, who took him as a subject for an essay assignment in a photojournalism class at Boston University. “There are no values anymore,” Tamerlan said in the essay, which was later published in Boston University’s magazine The Comment. “People can’t control themselves.”

Tsarnaev also valued religion highly, sticking with a five-times-a-day prayer regime and regular mosque attendance, and even going so far as to yell at the imam for suggesting that it’s okay to look to people outside of your faith as role models. He seems to have been a family man, too: He married a woman who converted to Islam and spent much of his time taking care of his daughter. (Then again, his citizenship application was suspended due to a domestic violence charge, so draw your own conclusions.) Yet despite demonstrating the religious devotion and some of the “family values” recommended by the Family Research Council, Tsarnaev bombed a marathon and got into a gun fight with the police. Perhaps the FRC is not so keen on “science” and “evidence” as a general rule, but even they should consider the theory that terrorism and mayhem are the result of insufficient religious conservatism a failed hypothesis.