Who is the Hate Group?

Some leftwing activists say I run a hate group. They imply we are no better than the KKK or skin-head groups that want to blow up buildings and kill minorities. They want all Americans to be frightened of us. We should be kept off television and radio and stigmatized in all that we do and say. This is according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. No kidding. My organization is an officially recognized “hate group” just like the Aryan Nation. It just happened. You can look it up.

The Southern Poverty Law Center was established in the 1970s to provide legal assistance to minorities who had been discriminated against by governmental bodies or others. And the case can be made that they did some good work. I guess.

Over the years, because of the exigencies of raising money, they began keeping a list of what they called hate groups, those groups that could endanger blacks, Asians and other minorities. Indeed, some of these groups are real and do call for violence, though it is unclear they actually carry out much of their heated rhetoric. The resultant “hate list” has been a financial bonanza for the Southern Poverty Law Center. It has garnered them hundreds of millions of dollars and a coveted spot as a thoroughly credible source for the mainstream media. What’s more, SPLC has become an important consultant to national and local law enforcement in the identification and targeting of these hate groups. The faces of SPLC founder Morris Dees or his lieutenant Mark Potok have been on hundreds if not thousands of television programs scaring good liberals into parting with their cash.

There must have been a downtick in direct mail because a few years ago Dees and Potok decided they needed a new set of bogeymen. Indeed, they have been charged with exaggerating the number of skin head hate groups. J.M. Berger, writing in Foreign Policy, not a conservative journal, has said if a hate group has five members in one state but are in different cities, the five are counted as separate hate groups. Such shenanigans keep the dollars flowing. This non-profit charity has $250 million in the bank and raises upwards of $40 million each year in direct mail. Indeed, Dees has been honored by a national association of direct mail marketers for his prowess in scaring frightened liberal dollars into his already bulging pockets.

 

So, when it appeared that the skin-head con was drying up, Dees and Potok cooked up some new hate groups, Christian groups that are critical of the LGBT movement. I hesitate even to use the phrase “LGBT movement” because such phrases can land you on the hate list, though since my group is already on the list, I guess that’s ok. You see, one of the ways to land on the list is to use the phrase “homosexual agenda.” I am not sure what part of that is hateful. After all, there is a gay show on left wing radio called “The Agenda.” There was a highly influential book published in 1989 called “After the Ball” that lays out an agenda for gays which has been very successful. So, it’s a puzzler why “homosexual agenda” is a hate concept.

The other criteria are also puzzling. From the list below, you could rightly assume the Catholic Church would be on the list but Dees and Potok probably know better than that. Espouse any of these “myths” and yours is a hate group.

1. Gay men molest children at far higher rates than heterosexuals.

2. Same-sex parenting harms children.

3. People become homosexual because they were sexually abused as children or there was a deficiency in sex-role modeling by their parents.

4. LGBT people don’t live nearly as long as heterosexuals.

5. Gay men controlled the Nazi Party and helped to orchestrate the Holocaust.

6. Hate crime laws will lead to the jailing of pastors who criticize homosexuality and the legalization of practices like bestiality and necrophilia.

7. Allowing gay people to serve openly will damage the armed forces.

8. Gay people are more prone to be mentally ill and to abuse drugs and alcohol.

9. No one is born gay.

10. Gay people can choose to leave homosexuality.

You do not have to espouse all of these. For instance, you may be atheist or agnostic on Himmler and Goebbels being gay, as I suppose most people are. You only need to espouse a few of these “myths” that SPLC says has been roundly and soundly crushed by “science.” To claim otherwise, to persist in these assertions against the weight of the scientific establishment and SPLC, is prima facie evidence that yours is a dangerous hate group like the Nazi Party and the Aryan Nation.

First, note the rather cartoonish and highly polemical presentation of the arguments. Those academics—left-right-center—whose research shows that children raised in a home with their biological mother and father bound in a life-long marriage perform better in life than those from any other arrangement, would likely not say “same sex parenting harms children.” But, the sociological evidence—large, longitudinal and random—consistently demonstrates that the gold standard for children is being raised by their own mom and dad and that any other arrangement exposes the child to serious challenges in life, often amounting to harm. If you espouse this, yours is a hate group. You are deliberately telling lies in order to defame gays and lesbians.

Do you believe that gayness is not inborn? You are a hater, even though there are no credible studies that show gayness is in the genes. The Catholic Church teaches that the “psychological genesis of homosexuality is largely unknown.” The Church does not say the “genetic genesis” or any other kind of genesis. Granted the Church does not close the door on other origins but the Catechism mentions only “psychological.” Is the Church a hate group? The Church espouses a myth that “science” and the SPLC have debunked.

Have hate crime laws landed preachers in trouble with the law? Look up the Ake Green case, a Swedish preacher prosecuted for preaching against homosexuality. He was convicted under the hate speech laws of Sweden.  He was prosecuted and his prosecution is a warning to all others who may be so motivated to preach Leviticus or St. Paul on homosexuality. Indeed, you and SPLC, should go right now to YouTube and search for “preachers arrested for preaching homosexuality” and you will find dozens of examples where street preachers are preaching on homosexuality and get either hassled by the cops or arrested. How could plain truths be considered hate crimes simply for uttering them?

If you are a person who has experienced unwanted same sex attraction and you have sought counseling and have left the gay way of life and understand yourself to have left homosexuality, you are a hater. Researchers in support of gay rights have concluded that homosexuality is remarkably plastic. The level of homosexual attraction can waft and wane throughout someone’s life, particularly among lesbians. Indeed, this was the conclusion of an amicus brief to the Supreme Court in the Windsor Case by Dr. Paul McHugh, former long time chief of psychiatry at Johns Hopkins University. In that brief he cited a few dozen liberal academics who make that claim. Yet, if you make this claim, you are no better than the KKK or the Aryan Nation.

It’s not like SPLC has not come in for criticism prior to the naming of Christian groups. Harper’s Magazine did a long take out on SPLC and concluded they are little more than hustlers. A new critical analysis by Professor George Yancey of North Texas University concludes that SPLC applies their hate criteria only for groups they disagree with politically yet leave alone liberal groups that use the same kind of “hate speech” that they level at Christian groups. Many other studies also go after SPLC for their methodology, their bias, and their fundraising.

Famously, SPLC placed the Family Research Council on the hate list a few years ago. It resulted in a gunman invading FRC’s lobby—where my wife works—shooting the security guard who subdued the shooter nonetheless. The shooter had a bag of Chick Fil A sandwiches he intended to stuff into the mouths of his murdered victims. How did he choose FRC to invade? From the hate-list provided by the Southern Poverty Law Center. The gunman became the first person convicted under Washington DC’s domestic terrorism law.

So, what are the crimes of my group? How did we land of the hate-list class of 2014? I wrote to them and asked for their dossier. They sent me a single report on a legal fight going on in Belize where we have been advising Christian groups who want to maintain their laws against sodomy. Powerful international groups have come to Belize, including the International Commission of Jurists, who are insisting that Belize has obligations under existing treaty law to strike down their anti-sodomy laws. SPLC says we support the existing law against sodomy. This is flatly not true and they have offered no proof that we support the existing law. In fact, my group does not take a position on sodomy laws and we never have. What were we doing there? We were helping them understand what international human rights law actually says on sexual orientation and gender identity. SPLC doesn’t even understand the issues yet they have concluded from their lack of understanding that we are a hate group.

In the report they also make other utterly false claims. They say we have “lauded” a man named Scott Lively, an American who has been active in Africa on the LGBT issue. He is being prosecuted under international hate crimes laws for allegedly convincing the Nigerian and Ugandan governments to outlaw homosexual behavior. SPLC has offered not a single bit of proof we have “lauded” Scott Lively.

They also claim that we “decried” a UN study on violence against homosexuals and we have lamented protections of gays against “summary execution and extra-judicial killing.” Both claims are utterly false. What we have done is explain why UN delegates, including the Holy See, have been resistant to such proposals and that has to do with the introduction of “sexual orientation and gender identity” into UN documents, because the introduction of this term in any context, however laudable, introduces a new concept that would be used to advance other issues including gay marriage.

Again, SPLC either does not understand the UN debate or they are being less than honest. It could also be laziness, simply not doing their homework. SPLC insists they repeatedly emailed my office for comment prior to the Belize report being issued. We have no record of these emails and none of my staff received them and so far SPLC has not been able to show any to us though they said they would.

SPLC is writing a further report on us. They have assured me they will let me respond before they publish. This was weeks ago. I have repeatedly emailed them asking for their questions and can show you the emails but I have yet to hear from them.

So why do we care? In certain leftist circles, like the media, they still have credibility. The hate group label will stay with my group for as long as we live. Whenever we appear in the Huffington Post, I know—who cares about the Huffington Post—it will be reported that we are on the SPLC hate list. It is a black mark, a stigma that is meant to permanently isolate the group, set them apart from polite society, always make them respond defensively about why they are not a hate group.

What will we do? We will continue to do our work advising governments on questions of international law, continue advising the UN on genuine human rights. I have turned the SPLC dossier over to a few left wing journalists who know me and my group. Any objective reading of the report can only conclude we are far from a hate group and the SPLC criteria for hate group status is so thoroughly biased and unevenly applied as to be useless.

SPLC was on pretty safe ground when they went after the Aryan Nation. Going after Christian groups, I suspect they have bitten off even more than their $250 million bank account can chew, not that we intend on challenging them legally. Groups like mine and others on the hate list have reservoirs of good will among law makers, journalists, religious leaders and many others. We are not like the Aryan Nation in any way, especially in that we have hundreds of thousands of defenders, even on the left.

And the really good news is that it was discovered on Tuesday of this week that the Federal Bureau of Investigation appears to have severed ties with SPLC and no longer links to the SPLC website and hate map.  They had been close partners with the FBI for years and as they have come after Christian groups, concerns had been raised about civil liberty issues in that a leftist political group was targeting its political enemies with the FBI.

Lieutenant General William Boykin (Ret.), along with 14 other conservative and Christian leaders, send a letter to the head of the Justice Department and the Director of the FBI demanding that the relationship end. It appears the FBI listened.

The credibility of SPLC hangs by a thread. Snip. Snip. Snip.

Austin Ruse

By

Austin Ruse is president of C-FAM (Center for Family & Human Rights), a New York and Washington DC-based research institute. He is the author of Fake Science: Exposing the Left’s Skewed Statistics, Fuzzy Facts, and Dodgy Data published by Regnery and Little Suffering Souls: Children Whose Short Lives Point Us to Christ published by Tan Books. His forthcoming book from Tan Books will be co-authored by His Eminence Raymond Cardinal Burke. The views expressed here are solely his own.

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