Southern Poverty Law Center Is Punished for the Wrong Crimes

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A writer named Bob Moser is incensed at what became of the Southern Poverty Law Center where he worked for a few years in the early aughts.

The recent revelations of sexual harassment and racism unfolding at the Poverty Palace built by SPLC founder Morris Dees down in Montgomery, Alabama, caused Moser to pen a lengthy takedown of his old employer in the New Yorker. It sure took him long enough to build up the gumption. He worked there almost two decades ago.

His view at the time of his hiring in 2001 was that he was going to work with “a highly diverse bunch of super-dedicated colleagues” who had only “humble resources” to do the work of justice. Apparently, this crack investigative journalist did not know at the time about the 1995 Pulitzer Prize-winning exposé of SPLC in the local paper that included charges of racial discrimination.  Neither did he know about lefty Ken Silverstein’s 2000 takedown of SPLC in Harper’s that made plain SPLC’s massive bank account and exorbitant salaries paid to top management. Somehow this crack journalist missed this and was expecting “humble resources.”

Moser says incoming female employees were warned “by their new colleagues about Dees’s reputation for hitting on young women.” Dees is accused of expressing his sexual preference “for chocolate”—an intersectional violation if there ever was one. Also female employees felt little hope that the “lavishly compensated white men” would ever do anything about it.

 

It should be immediately noted that SPLC is being punished for newly minted violations of intersectionality—sexism and racism—rather than their real crimes of being legendary liars and hucksters. But Moser was in on that con, too, and how.

The specialty of SPLC is the made-up hate crime. They spy hate groups where none exist, so they can shake down gullible liberals in the north. This was plenty remunerative until it became evident that racist groups were on the terminal decline. They then booted up to con rich gays into believing that Christians were about to take away all their hard-fought rights. Which ones? Gays could certainly vote, and assemble, and worship, and they possessed all the other rights guaranteed by the Constitution.

What they came up with was that those vicious Christians were out to kill gays and the poor benighted gender-confused men in dresses. In December 2003, SPLC’s Mark Potok wrote: “A rage is growing on the right. Before it is done, untold numbers of men and women may have to die, casualties in America’s ongoing culture wars.” Read that again and ask yourself if this even remotely sounds like something anyone you know or have ever met would do or want to do. Of course not; it was part of the con. And Moser was in on it, too.

In that same month, SPLC published a piece by Moser called “Violence Engulfs Transgender Population in DC” in which he drums up panic that men posing as women were being killed in droves in the back allies of the capital city. It was a genuine panic at that time.

Moser’s lengthy pitch was that men posing as women were being killed because they were men posing as women—that is, they were killed for “transphobic” hate. On the night of August 12, 2002, still-unknown assailants gunned down Wilbur Thomas while he was sitting in his Camry at a stop sign in one of the worst neighborhoods in Washington D.C. (Trigger warning: I am both deadnaming and misgendering Wilbur who presented as a woman named Stephanie.)

Wilbur’s murder was capitalized on by the leftist hucksters almost immediately. Mayor Anthony Williams spoke “at an emotional vigil…”; D.C. congressional delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton called the murder a hate crime. The Washington Post published a 3,500-word feature about Wilbur and the other guy posing as a woman who was also killed in the car that night.

This was textbook LGBT hustling, right out of the Matthew Shepherd playbook. Shepherd was not killed because of hate, i.e., by strangers who killed him because he was gay. He was killed by a sometime-male lover and a fellow drug dealer who wanted some of Shepherd’s new shipment of meth. That fact did not stop the hate industry from gearing up. The killing of Wilbur Thomas was supposed to be the same hustle for the “trans” community.

Moser’s 15-page piece included, of course, social science. Moser cited a sketchy 2000 study conducted by one Jessica Xavier, “a local activist and volunteer coordinator,” who claimed to have interviewed 4,000 “transgender residents” of Washington, D.C. The study purported to show that “17% said they had been assaulted with a weapon because of their gender identity.”  Moser happily bought this claim. The author of this bogus study said, “What we’re seeing is a war against transgender women—it’s happening all over the country.” She called “transphobia the most powerful hatred on the planet.” Most powerful hatred on the planet?

Here’s the problem. Moser offered no proof that any of these crimes were motivated by so-called “transphobia.” There were plausible explanations, such as they were killed because a sex customer discovered they were really men. This very well could be true. A sex customer expecting a woman might get angry that he was duped. This does not by any means justify violence, but the motivating factor is not the same thing as “transphobia.” In the end, Moser’s article is a “someone said” and “others reported” kind of journalistic nonsense about “the most powerful hatred on the planet.”

The fact is, these men were quite likely involved in the trade of prostitution which is very dangerous. Prostitutes die violent deaths at rates far higher than the general population. These men were most likely involved in drugs, too—also a risky proposition. And because of their station in life—drug-taking prostitutes—they spent their time in inordinately violent neighborhoods. These explanations are far too prosaic and do not get the public aroused enough to change laws and norms.

SPLC isn’t the only one involved in this con. The equally anti-Christian Human Rights Campaign—designated a hate group by the American Family Association—has recently taken to compiling an annual report of “transgender” deaths. Any time a man posing as a woman gets killed—for any reason—the hate label is attached. All the better to scare huge donations from the bank accounts of dimwitted lefties and leftist corporations.

So, here’s the thing: While it is delightful to see SPLC get some kind of comeuppance, it is only of the intersectional variety and not for their real crimes: consistently lying for gain; slandering good people like those at the Family Research Council, Alliance Defending Freedom, and my own organization; lying in order to pocket boatloads of cash from gullible liberals; and lying to the American people in order to change laws and norms. These are their real crimes, crimes that Moser does not mention in his lengthy New Yorker piece. And this is what they should be punished for. Nothing else will do.

(Photo credit: Morris Dees in 2013; Susan Montgomery / Shutterstock)

Austin Ruse

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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. The views expressed here are solely his own.

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